Crimson Tide

Factual error: Throughout the movie, all sorts of messages are passed over the 1MC (ship's intercom) when the boat is supposed to be stealthy. They've set "Ultra Quiet" to avoid the enemy sub but no-one was any quieter, and everyone was still using the 1MC. Worse, people are shouting commands and status updates, both in person, and over the intercom! No wonder that Akula found them. The only thing protecting this ship was plot armor! In real life, messages would be passed quietly using sound powered phones (which we also see), rather than blasting the info loudly to the entire crew, because sonar will literally pick up the sounds of loudspeakers and people shouting. Let's not even mention classified target data being passed to the entire ship's crew on the 1MC. (00:49:00)

2

Factual error: Throughout the movie, everytime some type of casualty occurs or an alarm sounds, police type lights go off throughout the ship. Submarines don't have flashing lights or grated decks for that matter throughout the ship. The sound of the alarm is enough, since there are no deaf personnel on board a submarine. (00:23:10)

10

Factual error: Several times during the movie, we can see the radio operator with the screen contents "printed" on his face. As everyone knows, that just doesn't happen in real life. (00:25:00)

8

Factual error: After the 2nd sub attack, while Hunter is in charge, a call is made from conn to maneuvering, to restore propulsion as soon as possible. It shows a young black dude answering back on the MC, having to yell over the noise of water spraying everywhere. This was laughable. Maneuvering is the control room for the nuclear power plant. It's all control panels and 4 technicians plus the EOOW, a nuclear-trained officer or senior enlisted, who would be answering back to conn. There wouldn't be any flooding going on there. (01:09:45)

leepster
3
Crimson Tide mistake picture

Continuity mistake: When the incomplete second EAM is shown in the movie for the first time, its subject line states "nuclear missile launc..." However, when this same message is finally received at the end of the movie the subject line states: "terminate launch all missiles". If the first one had been consistent with the second this would have made quite a difference. (00:55:45 - 01:45:25)

Paul Reinders
3

Factual error: When the Captain (Gene Hackman) is getting ready to address the crew, the Chief of the Boat (an enlisted man) is briefly shown barking orders to the crew wearing a combination cover with an officer's golden chin strap. A Chief Petty Officer wears a black chin strap. Contrary to popular belief, it's not illegal to wear an accurate uniform on film, in fact the military offer their help to ensure uniforms are accurate: http://www.defenselink.mil/news/NewsArticle.aspx?ID=516, so that's not the reason. (00:15:41)

4

Continuity mistake: After the submarine is hit by the first torpedo, all the crew are picking up things that have fallen down in the underwater turbulence. Then when the captain returns to his personal cabin, all his belongings (most noticeably on his desk) are all in position as though the attack never happened.

5

Continuity mistake: As the Alabama dives for the first time you will notice that the periscope and antennae masts protruding from her conning tower keep switching from up to down, indicating that the film crew used footage from two different sub dives to achieve that sequence. (00:18:50)

5

Factual error: At one point, the US sub's starboard (right) side is shown to have an American flag painted on the hull near the bow. The flag's blue field is at top/left when on this side of any vehicle, it should be at top/right. Proper display of the flag requires the blue field always be located 'forward' of the remainder of the flag on all vehicles, be they plane, boat, tank or even space shuttle. (01:19:15)

johnrosa
2

Character mistake: At the end of the movie, Ramsey and Hunter begin a conversation about Lippizaner horses. Ramsey says they are from Portugal, Hunter says they are from Spain. However, the Lippizaner horse's place of origin is believed to be in modern day Slovenia (though they are believed to have descended from Spain in the distant past). Lippizan is Slovenia's national symbol. Plus Lippizans are associated with the ‘Spanish Riding school' but the ‘Spanish Riding School' is situated in Vienna, Austria.

3

Character mistake: When Denzel is talking to the crew about upgrading to DEFCON 3, they say the last time was 32 1/2 years ago during the Cuban missile crisis of October 1962. The problem is that they both take place during October, meaning that the half year part is a mistake. (00:34:00)

1

Factual error: After removing him from command, Ramsey reviews Hunter's record, which says that Hunter was last stationed on the USS Alaska, SSBN-723. The USS Alaska is actually SSBN-732.

wizard_of_gore Premium member

Continuity mistake: The captain says to make torpedo tubes 1 and 4 fully ready. When they're fired, they use torpedo tubes 2 and 4. (00:46:15)

Deliberate mistake: During the part of the movie where the USS Alabama is sinking deeper into the ocean a shot of the depth gauge was made showing the sub passing 1800 feet at a quick rate. About 20-30 seconds of shots were shown after this to further dramatize the peril of submarine and then the scene cut back to the depth gauge. This time however, the gauge was moving much slower and only shown the sub had sunk 15-20 more feet without any reason for the sudden slowdown in decent.

Viperkun
Crimson Tide mistake picture

Continuity mistake: When the fat sailor gets on the bus, Dougherty is adjusting his hat with his left hand. In the very next shot he has his right hand on his hat. (00:11:45)

Mister Ed

Factual error: Upon the order to dive the boat when leaving port, many of the crew are shown hurrying around (especially up and down ladders). Everyone would already have a place to be on the maneuvering watch.

2

Factual error: You don't wear your working uniforms underway. You all have coveralls on, both officers and enlisted.

d_chaney80
1
Upvote valid corrections to help move entries into the corrections section.

Suggested correction: Coveralls did not become the primary uniform underway until the NWU Type I was found to melt, which was post 2010. Prior to that, enlisted wore the blue two piece working uniform, and officers and chiefs wore khakis.

Not true. I'm a veteran of 10 ssbn patrols during the 80s and 90s. Everyone wore coveralls, and that included all ranks up to and including the captain. However, coveralls weren't required. My second captain always wore khakis. We wore them because they were more comfortable and functional than dungarees and khakis.

4

Plot hole: Throughout the movie an incoming EAM must go through an authentication process prior to it being considered valid. The crew failed to do this on the second EAM of the movie that set DEFCON 3.

Viperkun

Continuity mistake: In the scene where the "Alabama" dives, what we see isn't a ballistic missile-carrying submarine (SSBN), but an attack sub (SSN); actually more than just one, since the masts and periscopes keep going up and down in different shots. It seems that the navy wasn't too willing to cooperate in the production of a film depicting a mutiny onboard a nuclear sub, so the shots were "stolen" from a helicopter in the vicinity of some navy base.

Jack the Rigger
1

Factual error: Many times the Captain is wearing a red baseball style cap. This is only worn by the Captain when drill is underway to signify, "I'm here, but not really here for the purpose of the exercise."

stiiggy

Capt. Ramsey: All I ask is that you keep up with me. If you can't, then that strange sensation you'll be feeling in the seat of your pants will be my boot in your ass.

More quotes from Crimson Tide

Trivia: I just saw the movie Crash Dive 2 (which is also about submarines and also involves an enemy Akula-class sub) and it has many recycled scenes from Crimson Tide. To name a few: the scene where the sub does a "snap shot" of two torpedoes, the scene of the Akula being hit, and the scene where a torpedo barely misses the heroes' sub.

More trivia for Crimson Tide

Question: The disagreement between Hunter and Ramsey centers on the interpretation of the message that got cut off - Hunter says it might be a recall order so it has to be verified before they launch missiles; Ramsey says it is meaningless because it got cut off, so they should proceed with their original orders. I do understand that the captain was working within a scary time limit (one hour till the Russians could fire their missiles), but I don't understand how anyone could justify not spending part of that hour trying to confirm the cut-off message. Naval command would hardly have radioed them again to say "Yes, we really want you to fire your missiles, we're just telling you again for emphasis," so that means it was not just possible but extremely likely that the cut-off message was a recall order. Given that, how could anyone in their right mind want to cause a nuclear holocaust without first trying to find out what the cut-off message really said?

Answer: In a war situation, the Captain is absolutely NOT allowed to try and contact anyone, lest it gives their position away, which is why he was unable to question or confirm the order.

GalahadFairlight
More questions & answers from Crimson Tide

Join the mailing list

Separate from membership, this is to get updates about mistakes in recent releases. Addresses are not passed on to any third party, and are used solely for direct communication from this site. You can unsubscribe at any time.

Check out the mistake & trivia books, on Kindle and in paperback.