Deep Impact

Deep Impact (1998)

24 corrected entries

Corrected entry: In the beginning of the movie, when Dr. Wolf is trying to open the mail server, we see that he's using a POP server. This is not possible; POP servers are for incoming mail only. Outgoing mail goes through SMTP servers.

Correction: Some mail servers require "POP before SMTP" in order to authenticate that the user is allowed to send email via that server. Once the user is authenticated via POP they are allowed to send email via SMTP.

Corrected entry: When the Beiderman comet hits the Earth you can see from the audience's view that it stays about the same size from when it first enters Earth's atmosphere and when it hits the ground. This is not possible; the heat and pressure generated by the velocity of something as large as a comet slamming into the Earth's atmosphere is enough to even deteriorate rock and metal partially upon reentry, and Beiderman is a comet, meaning it is made mostly of ice, which melts much faster than an asteroid made of rock would. Realistically, even by conservative estimates, a great deal of the Beiderman comet would have been burned off or separated during its entry into the Earth's atmosphere, certainly enough to visibly reduce its size.

Correction: There is no evidence of this (the comet NOT changing size). We don't even see the comet itself at all upon entering Earth's atmosphere. It is seen burning up with a huge ashy trail/path. Clearly indicating that comet is undergoing significant "change."


Corrected entry: When Leo Beiderman and his family are watching the live report from the White House, in which the President tells the world about the asteroid discovery, he also mentions that the asteroid will be named Leo Beiderman. After a moment the phone rings because someone heard about Leo on TV and when the door bell rings Leo opens it and he sees all his neighbours. It's absolutely impossible for them to get to his house that fast. They only just heard his name on the TV and after a few seconds all of them are already at his door.

Correction: His girlfriend who lives across the street was the first one there. Pretty sure a someone can run a short distance in little time portrayed in the movie. NOT everyone was there immediately. We see the crowd gather after some time has passed.


Corrected entry: In the scene where the professional astronomer figures out that the comet will hit Earth, he tries twice to log on to email. The server is down both tries. He then gets panicky and makes a floppy of the data and addresses an envelope for mailing. Then gets himself killed while racing down the mountain to mail his package. This is stupidly wrong on several fronts. 1) A pro astronomer would be used to astronomical things happening very slowly. So he would not be in this big of a rush. 2)Being a pro, he would at least double check and probably quadruple check his data over more nights before running off to make the big announcement. 3) His first impulse was to email someone. Therefore he'd have to know enough about email to know that he could screw around with it all that night and into the next day and still have his data to whoever faster than FedEx and three days faster than US mail.

Correction: The submitter gives the reason for the mistake: "He then gets panicky.". People who are panicking will make faulty decisions, like rushing, not double checking data and not waiting for the e-mail to come back up. Yes, very bad decisions - but remains a character mistakes. As an astronomer he is trained to patiently watch the heavens, not deal with crisis situations.


Corrected entry: When the astronauts are getting ready to fly into the 'wolf' astroid, you can hear (and see) the time to impact being counted down. They stop verbally counting down, but if you continue to count you see that the nukes detonate over 15 seconds after they should have.

Correction: As discussed several times in previous "countdown inaccuracy" mistakes, the scene is not being filmed in real time. The camera cuts to the exterior of the spacecraft are occurring at the same time as the scenes inside the spacecraft; which alters the timing of the countdown.


Corrected entry: Its impossible for the comet to hit earth during the day in the movie, the tail of a comet usually points away from the sun meaning the comet in the movie was headed toward the sun.

Correction: The tail would be pointing away from the sun no matter which direction the comet is going so that has no bearing on the situation. The movie never states whether the comet is going towards or away from the sun when it is projected to hit the planet.


Corrected entry: Leo reports his discovery to the local professional astronomer, who programs his software to plot a course for The Comet. It displays a three-dimensional graphic which shows the comet headed right for Earth. In his panic to report the discovery, he wrecks his car. First off, Leo should have reported the discovery to the International Astronomical Union's Minor Planet Center ( We can forgive him this breach of professional etiquette since Leo wanted to report to his club's sponsor first. The real problem is that it takes several observations over many nights to get a good orbital calculation for comets, especially one that's a year away from impact. It's like looking at a snapshot of a baseball and being asked when it will hit the ground. What direction is it heading? How fast is it moving? One observation doesn't really tell you anything; you need to see it move. The 3D graphic was a bit over the top too. While not really impossible, it's more of a Hollywood silliness. It's there simply to drive the point home that we're in for a bit of trouble.

Correction: Copied and pasted from

Corrected entry: In the opening scene, we see a group of young amateur astronomers stargazing. As we pan across the group, we see them studying maps with flashlights. The problem here is small: using a flashlight outside at night ruins your dark vision. The eye takes quite a bit of time to get adapted to the darkness; usually twenty minutes to get fully adjusted (less if you are in a light polluted area). Using a white flashlight destroys the very reason you're outside! However, the eye's dark adaption is not ruined by red light, so astronomers use red flashlights (usually modified by the high tech method of taping red cellophane over the business end of the flashlight). This may have been plot-driven; we'd want to be able to see the actor's faces.

Correction: Copied and pasted from

Corrected entry: 2 days before impact, when the heroine has collected her mother's effects, she refuses to get in her father's car and hails a taxi. By that stage, surely there would be no taxis on the street and money would be worthless?

Correction: Money isn't worthless because the president had announced a price freeze. Also, given that the National Guard can't manage to convince people in Florida that they should leave when they KNOW a huricane is coming, it's not hard to believe that some D.C. cabbies have ignored the warnings and stayed to make a few extra bucks.

Corrected entry: The Messiah uses its Orion drive to give itself a slight lead on the comet coming back to Earth (since it was already matched with the comet it would return to Earth anyway without firing its drive). Robert Duvall comes up with his last-ditch solution hours from impact, with the mood of the scene being that the astronauts are just now having to get used to the idea of laying down their lives when before Duvall's speech they thought they were going home in one piece (land a shuttle in Missouri and be helicoptered to the Ark caverns at the last minute? - or stay on the space station for 2 years, assuming it had been provisioned for this?). It is spelt out that they cannot get off the comet again because they have so little fuel left. This means their orbit is still very similar to that of the comet or they would not be able to navigate the vent. They are therefore approaching the Earth at unmanageable velocity and rather than assume a parking orbit they would either shoot right past the Earth or hit it at the same speed as the comet. They have been doomed for months without noticing (a different Orion burn when leaving the comet would put them on a slower orbit which would allow a safe approach to Earth long after the impact, or they could have a boost burn and a braking burn at opposite ends of the trip, but the latter would leave them with plenty of fuel).

Correction: This ignores the fact that the Earth moves in it's orbit. The powered ship could have been heading for the spot that the Earth would be in hours (or a day or a week) ahead of the spot where the comet would meet it on a course that would leave them enough fuel to properly slow down and land, i.e. they just had enough fuel to slow down. In order to destroy the comet, they had to use their "slowing-down" fuel to accelerate to the comet.

Corrected entry: The young protaganists are supposed to be in a public high school in Richmond, Virginia. However, the student body appears to be 95% white and there are no apparent southern accents. In reality, most high school students in Richmond have very obvious southern drawls and a solid majority of students are African-American.

Correction: I attend a public high school in Richmond, VA, and the astronomy class in the movie was actually less diverse than one would be from my school. True, many inner city schools and those from other regions around Richmond are predominatly African-American, but I don't remember the last time I heard a "very obvious southern drawl." Y'all can think wat'chu wan' be we ain't sout'rn.

Corrected entry: In the scenes that lead up to the impact of the meteor, we're shown horrible traffic jams with cars all over the freeway blocking everything, yet Tea Leoni can pass all that and ride out of the city all the way to the sea to be with her father and she gets there long before the impact takes place.

Correction: Of course she gets there - everyone else is trying to get AWAY from the coast. The blocked roads are those leading out of the city away from the sea, not towards it.


Corrected entry: Leo tells Sarah that if they get married she can go with him into the Ark. He then mentions that because he's the "famous Leo Beiderman" he can insist that the authorities let Sarah's family into the Ark too. If he's as "famous" as he says he is, couldn't he persuade the authorities to let in Sarah and her parents without having to get married?

Phil Watts

Correction: The chances of persuading the authorities are much slimmer when he is not related in any way to Sarah's parents. With a marriage in place, they would technically be related (by law) and would be covered by the rules that said he could bring family with him to the Ark.


Corrected entry: When Jenny and her father are chatting in the rain this is occurring at the same time that the buses are collecting people ready for the Ark. Didn't the President say that there would be a curfew in place at this time? So how can she be out and her father driving around?

Correction: Who is going to enforce a curfew if the police have all hightailed it outta there?

Corrected entry: When Sarah tells Leo there's no point in going to school, she's right - the scene is set around four weeks before the August impact, so it's July.

Correction: Many communities around the country have "year round school",in which kids are in school 3 months and off the next month, so School could be in session in July.

Corrected entry: As happens in just about EVERY disaster movie, there is a scene where everybody is evacuating a major city, while one person is driving INTO the city, and they show the road leading out to be jam packed, while the main character is on an empty road. How idiotic do these people have to be to sit there in a huge traffic jam separated from a wide open unused road by just 15 feet of a grass median. Perhaps now is not the time to obey all traffic laws, don't you think?

Correction: Actually, the car coming into the city is driving on grass, not the road. When it shows the clogged traffic jam, there are cars leaving the city all over the road, the sides of the road, and the opposite lane, not just on the side of the highway that leads away from the city.

Corrected entry: In the part where the older mother is getting ready for her suicide by dressing up and putting on makeup she is wearing a one shouldered dress. In one cut the right shoulder is bare, and on the next her left one is bare. Or vice versa. Either way the dress is worn two different ways.

Correction: If you look at the first shot of the mother in the dress she is putting on makeup and it looks like she is looking in a mirror to do this. So the shot we see of her could be her reflection. Therefore in the next shot of her the dress seems to be the other way round even though it isn't.

Corrected entry: In one of his speeches, the President says that once the smaller comet hits the ocean, it will take the tidal wave about 45 minutes to reach the shore. But when Jenny and her father is standing on the beach, it only takes about half a minute from the time when the comet hits the water to the time where the wave reaches the beach.

Correction: The 45 minutes just isn't shown. The movie would've been incredibly boring if you had to wait through 45 minutes of water moving through open ocean.

Corrected entry: In the scene where the comet hits the ocean, there is a massive traffic jam just 5 miles from the beach. Since everyone has known about the comet for over a year, wouldn't they have headed away from the ocean a few days/weeks/months earlier?

Correction: There was only reason to move away from the ocean after the President announced, quite close to impact time, that the smaller portion of the comet would cause tidal waves. Before, with the comet as a whole, it wouldn't have mattered how close you were to the coast.

Corrected entry: Sara's dad put the key for the motorcycle in the jar 3rd to the right. When Leo "steals" the motorcycle he finds the key in the jar 4th to the right.

Correction: Perhaps the last jar was cut out of the video version, but in the widescreen version you can see him put it in the 4th jar.

Jason Sieberg

Corrected entry: When the President is making his speech at the press conference he says that the as comet had been seen by a Young Explorer's Astronomy Club on a mountaintop in Arizona. Then when everybody's escaping from the coastal areas and it shows Leo driving down the highway looking for his girlfriend there's a sign for Virginia Beaches. Arizona is a pretty long way to go on a field trip, don't you think?

Correction: One contributor had a field trip to Seattle from Florida once.

Corrected entry: The missile barrage near the end of the movie happens about seven hours before the impact. ICBMs have flight times of no more than 45 minutes and can lift their normal payloads at most a few thousand miles from the Earth. There actually *was* a plan to divert an asteroid once but it would have involved putting a nuclear warhead on a Saturn 5, many times more powerful than any current missile. Fortunately the asteroid missed Earth by a million miles or so.

Correction: Once a missile has broken free of the earth's gravitational pull there is no longer any need for sustained propulsion as the missile will simply coast along.

Corrected entry: At the end of the film, when Tea Leoni's character and someone are standing on the beach, waiting for the tidal wave to come, the tidal wave seems to make a miraculous stop, right before the beach, where as in reality, tidal waves go so fast, that once you've seen it, it has already hit.

Correction: Just as regular wind waves do, tsunami slow down in shallow water while also gaining height (just as Morgan Freeman explains).

Corrected entry: When the Messiah mission withdraws from the Comet to remote-detonate its nukes, the implication is that the nukes must be let off NOW to have any chance of success, and the Messiah is thus caught in the blast and damaged, conveniently putting it out of communication with Earth for the duration of its journey home. They are months away from impact and there would be time to fire up the main drive and make the return burn before detonating the nukes, thus putting a safe distance between themselves and the blast. The only argument against this is that if the attempt failed they might go back to the comet with the remaining nukes for a second try - this is never suggested, so why not get out of there?

Correction: Actually, the reason they have to leave the comet is because of a very low fuel tank. They only had enough to get to the comet, land, get off and get back. If they were to land on it a second time they wouldn't had enough fuel to return home, and most of us would remember the scene where they decide to sacrifice themselves? They didn't plan a second launch until the suicide launch.



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During a scene where the boss of the TV station is talking to his staff, when he finishes he takes off his glasses and starts to move off his chair. Yet in the next shot he gets off the chair still wearing his glasses.



If you happen to have the DVD version of the film, have a look at one of the trailers. In the movie trailer they show the comet hitting the ocean at an almost right-angle. In the actual movie the comet enters the atmosphere at an angle, thus letting the people watch the comet travel to across the sky into the ocean.