The Sum of All Fears

Corrected entry: When Dressler's 'secretary' speaks 'German' it doesn't sound German or Austrian at all. In fact I am Austrian and If there weren't English subtitles I wouldn't have understood at all what he's talking about. Yes, there were German words, and maybe even the grammar was more or less correct but the pronunciation was that bad that the whole audience started laughing when they heard him talking in 'our' language.

Correction: The language being spoken, is actually Old German, which was drastically changed at the end of World War II. Currently, one would be hard pressed to find anyone living, that openly speaks the old language, which essentially became extinct by 1950...except for radical extremists who await the coming of the Fourth Reich.

Corrected entry: At the football game played at Baltimore when they show the score, the show a game score of Florida vs. Chicago. While there are three different teams from Florida (Tampa Bay, Jacksonville, and Miami) there is no team that has Florida as part of its name.

Correction: This is a fictional storyline, not even based on truth. There are fictional football teams in 'Any Given Sunday' as well (and a fictional league). Are we going to start posting factual errors on 'Star Wars' because Storm Troopers don't actually exist?

There are lots of football teams from Florida with 'Florida' in their name. There's nothing saying

Corrected entry: In the scene where the bomb was detonated, and Jack Ryan's helicopter is blown to bits, the laws of plutonium dictate that if Ryan was as close to the blast as he was, he would have been dead from radiation poisoning within a couple of hours.

Correction: His helicopter was destroyed by the explosion's shockwave, which would travel far beyond the range of the lethal pulse of radiation. In fact, considering that the bomb was detonated below ground level and inside a building, which would have absorbed most of that radiation anyway. In a later scene when Jack crawls out of the helicopter's wreckage and looks towards the Baltimore skyline, he's a few miles south of ground zero.

Corrected entry: At the end when Dressler's car explodes a piece of it ends up on top of a Jaguar, then when the camera pans back the Jaguar is not there.

Correction: The first shot shows the jaguar to the right of Dresslers car, the second shot shows Dresslers exploded car from the left, the smoke, fire, and remnants of Dresslers car make it impossible to see the jag from this angle.

Corrected entry: B2's never leave the middle of the United States unless they are in the air and are on their way to bomb something. The B2's would never have been stationed in Italy and could never have attacked Russia that quickly, as they would have to travel halfway around the world.

Correction: Wrong. While the B-2 Spirit is stationed at Whiteman AFB in Missouri they can be deployed where the Government sees fit. Andersen AFB Guam, Diego Garcia, and RAF Fairford are used as "forward operating locations". Also USAF has also flown missions from Whiteman all the way to Afghanistan. When USAF is in alert status aircraft are always in the air, simply awaiting the "Go Codes".


Corrected entry: I do not think that the B-2 Stealth bombers would flash their wing tip lights. Especially not on a combat mission.

Correction: The B-2, while a stealth aircraft, still has to make itself visible to commercial traffic. An all black plane with little to no radar signature would be almost invisible to a passenger plane without wingtip lights, hence its similarity to a UFO. And that also where a number of UFO stories come from.


Corrected entry: During the scene at the end of the film where both presidents are sitting signing documents in front of an audience, both start signing left handed, but the Russian president signs the second document right handedly.

Correction: The Russian President might be ambidextrous, i.e. can write with either hand.

Corrected entry: In the sequence where Ryan's helicopter has been hit by the blast of the nuclear explosion, an acoustic alarm goes off during the tailspin. This wouldn't be possible, since every electronic equipment fails after a nuclear explosion due to the nuclear electromagnetic pulse.

Correction: A large portion of military and government vehicles, and aircraft are hardened against the affect of an electromagnetic pulse. This helicopter crashed because of the shock wave from the explosion.


Corrected entry: When Ben Affleck and Morgan Freeman go to Russia and meet the president, he is getting his picture taken. The photographer puts in a new cartridge, doesn't take a picture, takes out the unused cartridge then puts a 2nd unused cartridge in and then takes a picture.

Correction: Professional photographers can be very picky about their equipment. He may have seen or noticed something he didn't like about the cartridge and switched it out to ensure professional quality photographs.

Corrected entry: When Affleck is driving the pick-up truck it is a GMC Sierra, but when he crashes into the old car, the tailgate says Silverado.

Correction: It is not a different truck. The tailgate says Sierra at the bottom left, on the right you can see GMC in red letters.

Corrected entry: When the bomb explodes at the Super Bowl in Baltimore it is daytime, but the Super Bowl is always held at night.

Correction: I don't remember the Super Bowl being played in the film. There was a football game, but it wasn't the Super Bowl. The scoreboard indicates that the two teams are called "Florida" and "Chicago". There are three NFL teams based in Florida (Miami, Jacksonville, and Tampa Bay). None of the aforementioned teams use the name Florida in their name. Therefore one of the teams does not play in the NFL, hence the game can not be the Super Bowl. Furthermore, there are no references to the NFL in the film. In conclusion the time the game is played is irrelevant, since American football games can be played in daylight.

Corrected entry: One thing that is created by a nuclear blast is an electromagnetic pulse. This radiates out of dozens to hundreds of miles at the speed of light. The pulse fries all electrical equipment whether they are on or not. Cabot's palm-pilot, and all cell towers in the city would have been destroyed so Ryan couldn't have used it to call Spinnaker. (01:29:15)

Correction: EMP is not certain to destroy all shut down electrical equipment. Some things may survive completely intact if turned off, other things which were on at the time may only be temporarily disrupted. The factors which determine EMP damage are very varied so with an instance of a PDA working it's too much to assume it would definitely have been damaged.

Corrected entry: The USAF aircrew flying aboard Air Force One are wearing their black, circular squadron patches above their right pocket on their flight suits. In the real USAF, the squadron patch is worn on the left shoulder.

Correction: The aircraft they are flying on is not Air Force One, and those are the correct patch placements for this particular aircrew.

Corrected entry: When the call comes for the bombing of the aircraft carrier, you think that there would be a chain of command with sort of checkpoints to ensure accuracy and to ensure something terroristic would not happen. They probably did this to keep the plot flowing, but it still seems illogical.

Correction: The commander of the airbase was paid to get his pilots to attack the aircraft carrier by the Germans, remember he lied to them about the Americans nuking Moscow, the pilots would assume that their base commander got his orders from his superiors. Also he was killed for this at the end of the movie.


Corrected entry: Shots that are intercut between the scene involving the President's attending the Super Bowl in the football stadium in Baltimore and the shots outside the stadium involving the explosion of the nuclear device and the resulting destruction and loss of life are clearly intended to occur during the same time frame. However, all shots set in the stadium are at night under a darkened sky, and all shots outside the stadium take place in the full afternoon sunlight.

Correction: There's no mistake here: the establishing aerial shot of the Super Bowl stadium (below the Budweiser blimp) shows a DOMED stadium well outside the city. That's where the Super Bowl is taking place. In the aerial shot just before the bomb goes off, you can see Raven Stadium, which is much closer to the center of Baltimore. It's not domed, and is not meant to be the same stadium as the computer-generated one the Super Bowl was held in.

Corrected entry: After the nuclear explosion, when the president is in his airplane, he has a plaster on his forehead, then it disappears and without any scar or wound under it. Later it's back again.

Correction: When the plaster is gone, it is replaced with a large flesh-colored bandaid that remains on the president the rest of the day.

Corrected entry: In the scene where the final assassinations take place the cigarette lighter is pushed. Then the camera cuts to a view of the outside of the car right before it explodes. But before it even explodes the car sitting next to it already has its emergency flashers on. Once the car does explode then the car alarm goes off which is when the emergency flashers should cut on.

Correction: The flashers do not go on before the explosion. From the angle of the shot, you cannot even see the car next to the one that explodes.

Corrected entry: In the scene where the soldiers are rescuing the President from his limo they simply rip his door open. It is well known that the Presidential limo is really an armored vehicle that can withstand quite an impact. I doubt that his door would open so easily.

Correction: Assumably, the car has had quite a bit of damage since it rolled over about 5 times. Also, you can see that 1 of the doors is completely open where Cabot is hanging out of the car so it's realistic that the door by the president is not even completely shut and sealed by the time the marines get there.

Corrected entry: In the scene where the Russian president is getting into bed with his wife, his pajamas are dark blue silk. When his guards come to evacuate him in the middle of the night, his pajamas are burgundy.

Correction: When they show him getting into bed and later being awoken by the guards, this is not the same night.

Corrected entry: In the scene in which Russian migs attack the aircraft carrier, the phalanx close in weapon system doesn't fire at the missiles until they are very very close, in reality they would have been fired upon much further out; and as aircraft carrier has 2 CIWS mounts on each side, there would have been another ciws mount firing on the missiles as well, meaning the jets and missiles would not have had any chance.

Correction: Actually, the Russian planes weren't migs, they were Backfire bombers. It's not guaranteed that the phalynx would destroy the Backfires and missiles.

Factual error: A force of Russian Tu-22 Backfire bombers attacks the aircraft carrier USS John C. Stennis (CVN-74) by sneaking in under the ship's radar. This is all well and good except that carriers usually don't use their own radar, they have Airborne Early Warning aircraft (E-2 Hawkeye's) that can see much further and not give away the carrier's position (let alone the F-14s which would be patrolling too) not to mention the fleet of destroyers other ships guarding the carrier. The whole point is, the US Navy practiced and planned for such a "carrier versus Backfire" battle for years. I guess in the interest of furthering the plot Hollywood has to ignore the immense measures the USN takes to protect those multi-billion dollar assets, not to mention the 5000+ sailors that man them.

More mistakes in The Sum of All Fears

Jack Ryan: General, the President is basing his decisions on some really bad information right now. And if you shut me out, your family, and my family, and twenty-five million other families will be dead in thirty minutes.

More quotes from The Sum of All Fears
More trivia for The Sum of All Fears

Question: Now i don't know much about missiles and such, but in the scene where the Israeli fighter jet is carrying the nuclear warhead, and is then shot down, well wouldn't the bomb blast that destroyed the plane also detonate the nuke attached as well? correct if i am wrong.

Answer: Nope. A nuclear detonation requires a highly specific sequence of events to occur within the bomb - an explosion nearby wouldn't come close to producing those conditions. The construction of a nuclear bomb requires components to be placed in a highly specific configuration - damage to the bomb would disrupt that configuration and make it effectively impossible for the bomb to go off.

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