The Sum of All Fears

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.

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Continuity mistake: In the aircraft scenes after the blast in Baltimore, watch the clocks closely. The times go forward, backward, and everything in between.

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Factual error: 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.

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Suggested 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.

The Sum of All Fears mistake picture

Revealing mistake: In the scene where Jack Ryan uses the radio after the helicopter crash, the film is reversed - the word frequency appears as a mirror image.

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Factual error: In the scene where the dock worker receives the e-mail stating 'the day has arrived', the e-mail is dated Mon, 19 Nov 2002. However, November 19 2002 was a Tuesday.

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Continuity mistake: When Ryan is called from bedside to his first big meeting, he is wearing a severely rumpled blue oxford. When he leaves the meeting (with the borrowed tie and jacket) his blue oxford is pressed and starched.

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Continuity mistake: In the scene on the NAOC (National Airborne Operations Center) E-4B where the plane begins to shake, everything on the conference table, including books, maps, charts, etc., is moving, with the exception of a clear cup of what is supposed to be soda. Not only does the cup not move, but the liquid in the cup (which is most definitely not liquid but plastic) does not move either. It's glued to the table.

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Factual error: The Israeli A-bomb was dropped "at the Golan", yet, the landscape where it is found looks like a sandy desert, and as time flies the bomb is completely covered with a sand dune. The Golan has everything but sands or dunes. The terrain over there is magmatic, rocky and mostly black, as the Golan was an active volcanic area. Had a bomb fallen from the sky, it would most likely remain on the ground, smashed.

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Continuity mistake: The nuclear blast blows in the windows at the hospital where Cathy works and all the medical staff is showered with the broken bits. At the end of the movie Cathy doesn't have a mark on her. Even if it is safety glass, the small pieces would still leave nicks, scrapes and small cuts on exposed skin.

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Factual error: Why is the President's motorcade so small? There were only a few cars there to protect the most powerful man on the face of the Earth. The President ALWAYS travels with over a dozen Secret Service vehicles, to protect him. Even if when he left the Superbowl was an emergency, all of the motorcade would have left with him also, ruling out the possibility that only some of the cars left with him.

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Plot hole: When Ryan and Clark are flying to Russia to look for those missing scientists, Clark shows Ryan some satellite pictures of the remote area where they suspect the scientists to be located. The day old photo shows activity in the area but the most recent one doesn't. They then discover that the bomb is headed for the U.S. and Ryan phones the CIA to warn them, But the bomb is already there! How did the bad guys manage to get the bomb from that remote location in Russia to a freighter and sail it to the U.S. in one DAY! This is something that should have taken weeks, which would have given Ryan plenty of time to get home and prevent the attack.

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Suggested correction: When flying back to the US, Dillon tells Jack that the crate was flown from Kiev International to the Canary Islands ten days before, then put on a freighter headed to Baltimore, so it easily could have gotten there in time. The fact the camp went quiet in the last day or so doesn't mean the crate only left in the last day, just that by a day ago it must have gone. And Ryan shows the photos to Clark, not Clark showing them to Ryan.

jimba

Continuity mistake: Shortly before the nuclear bomb secreted in the bowels of Ravens stadium explodes, an aerial shot of Ravens stadium & the surrounding area is shown. The football game is in progress, but the aerial shot shows the stadium to be completely empty.

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Visible crew/equipment: When Ryan finishes talking with Spinnaker before he goes to the docks, he leaves the car he borrows and heads out through the flames. In the background, you can see a stunt coordinator waiting to guide him through the flames. He waits, then follows him off the screen.

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Suggested correction: While the man may actually be a stunt coordinator, the man's presence and actions are not inconsistent with the film. We see Ryan pass three other people in this scene, and that this fourth man turns and follows Ryan may be him seeking to help the injured running man (Ryan), or him thinking maybe this guy knows how to get out of there. There is nothing visible about the man to show it is a film crew member.

jimba

Plot hole: When the President of the United States attends a public gathering (such as the SuperBowl) the level of security is extremely high. So why wasn't Mason's delivery on the day of the game checked for explosive devices?

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Factual error: When the aircraft carrier is attacked by the Russian aircraft, the carrier is sailing alone. This is not normal as carriers always sail in carrier battle groups, with several smaller ships (cruisers, destroyers) to protect them.

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Plot hole: The bomb is found by Bedouin in the Golan (north of Israel). However, it was dropped in the Negev desert (south of Israel). How the bomb managed to move itself 500km is not clear. And Bedouin don't live in the Golan.

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Other mistake: At one point during the sub-titled Russian scenes, the word Annihilation is used. However, it was mis-spelled as Anihilation.

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Continuity mistake: In the scene where Clark and Ryan come ashore by Zodiac, they are soaked just before they beach the boat, but as they drag it up the beach their clothing (especially Ryan's woolen hat) is bone dry.

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Plot hole: The Bedouin who found the unexploded nuke in the desert was supposedly dying of radiation poisoning when Clark questioned him. All he did was dig it out and load it in a truck, while all the shields were in place. If it was emitting THAT much radiation, the 3 scientists who spent DAYS refurbishing it for Dressler would have been made too sick by the radiation to finish the job.

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Revealing mistake: In the scene where the president's motorcade is going to the stadium, it travels on overpasses, but there is other traffic passing below. These over / underpasses would have been temporarily shut down as well while the motorcade goes by.

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Continuity mistake: When Ryan's helicopter crashes to the ground and rolls over, the pilots are thrown partly from the cockpit of the helicopter. When it finally comes to rest, there is a pilot hanging out of the cockpit window. Approximately three minutes later, when Ryan struggles out of the helicopter door, the cockpit window is now empty.

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Factual error: Dressler is supposed to live in Vienna, Austria. However, in the final scene, when his car explodes, the county-code on the numberplate is not the one from Vienna, nor from any other county in Austria. What is more the letters have the wrong font and the county emblem is missing.

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Factual error: After the US President gives the order to launch the missiles, you see a view of a missile preparing for launch. This is followed by scenes of B-2s launching. The missile shown is an older liquid fuelled missile. The US military retired all liquid fuelled missiles from its inventory long before the first B-2 rolled off the assembly line. As such you wouldn't see both in use at the same time.

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Deliberate mistake: When asked about the effects of a gas attack on a village in Russia, the president is told that the effects were similar to end stage cerebral palsy. One major problem - cerebral palsy is a chronic condition, not acute. The condition itself is not fatal.

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Thisbe

Deliberate mistake: When Ryan is entering the Pentagon to use the hotline, he swipes Cabot's ID card multiple times until finally the gate opens. There are two problems with this. First, if the system beeps, as it did every time he swiped, that means the system saw the response from the card so he shouldn't have needed to keep swiping. Second, the entry to the Pentagon uses a two-factor system, meaning you need to swipe and then enter a corresponding PIN on the keypad that was quite visible in the scene. This is to prevent exactly what Ryan did, namely steal an ID card and use it to get into the Pentagon since the thief wouldn't know the PIN. Since the keypad was there, for the movie the director must have decided all the real steps were too hard to fit the kind of scene he wanted so left it out.

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jimba

Factual error: When the F16 are attacking Russian bases one of the US pilots is wearing sunglasses. Combat pilots do not wear sunglasses when piloting their planes - their helmet has a visor with shaded glass to protect their vision from sun flare.

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Factual error: The Trident II, submarine launched ICBM is actually identified as the "D5" not "D3" missile.

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Continuity mistake: The President is told the missile launch sequence will take 30 minutes. When he gives the order to begin the sequence, you see B-2 bombers launching from bases in Italy. A short time later a Russian staff member reports the B-2's somewhere over Poland, however the missile launch sequence still hasn't completed. B-2's are not fast enough to go from Italy to Poland in under 30 minutes.

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Factual error: In the cockpit of the Israeli A-4 Skyhawk being flown in 1973, shows a HUD (Head-Up-Displays) in the windscreen. No aircraft in 1973 had HUDs (Head-Up-Displays). HUDs were developed after 1973.

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Factual error: As the President's motorcade is supposed to be approaching Ravens stadium in Baltimore via I-395, the motorcade is on the wrong side of I-395 & is actually traveling away from the stadium - it's unquestionably on the ramp portion of I-395 which leads directly to I-95 north.

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Visible crew/equipment: Near the beginning of the movie, after the simulated alert when all of the government officials are getting into their cars to leave, there is a visible film camera, camera stand, and the camera operator. The reflection appears on the rear passenger side of a car on the right side of the screen.

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Continuity mistake: When Clark pulls the radiation indicator off the dead scientist, the readout is 7.0. The very next shot is a screen shot of the readout now displaying 6.9. Unlikely the plutonium was decaying that fast, or the bomb would not have been as potent...

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Other mistake: When Clark cut the Ukrainian fence with a gas device, the following two shots of the fence show that the links were clearly not cut, but just undamaged cyclone fencing.

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Factual error: On the way to the football game it appears that they make the football stadium into a dome stadium. Baltimore doesn't have a dome stadium, this is evident a few minutes later when they show a panoromic view of Baltimore and you can see the 2 stadiums side by side as open stadiums. In the movie, Baltimore has a third domed stadium that is a CGI image in only one shot and not shown later.

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Continuity mistake: At the end of the film, the American and Russian Presidents are making a speech at the White House. The medium shot shows the audience seated directly in front of the podium. When you see the wide shot later, there is an aisle that goes straight up the middle to the podium, where nobody is seated. Strangely, it looks like the entire presentation in front of the White House is digitally added (like Forrest Gump). Couldn't they easily match the medium shot if they are creating it later?

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