Visible crew/equipment: In the first scene of the Christmas party when Takagi steps out of one the offices and greets a couple of his guests, the camera pans left to show the orchestra and other guests. A huge shadow of the camera and its operator is being shown on the back wall, then the stage light gets moved to light a different area and the shadow is gone.
Other mistake: After Powell frantically radios in his distress call, other police cars converge on the street in front of Nakatomi Plaza, blocking off both sides of the street. But when McClane grapples down the building using the firehose, you can see traffic on the street below and none of them are police.
Other mistake: In the shot where we see all the terrorists (except Karl and Theo, who are upstairs) walking into the building from downstairs, they are about to walk through a doorway when the camera cuts out. Watch the terrorist on the left (he's the one who guards the door) - the way he's walking he's going to smack straight into the wall! The shot cuts a fraction of a second before he does, but that's not a remotely normal walk/position - it's clearly just because it makes for a cool looking shot.
Continuity mistake: When Bruce Willis shoots Alan Rickman, Rickman falls through the window and grabs Bonnie Bedilia's arm to pull her with him. He has a good grasp on her arm because of her watch. When Bruce Willis is trying to release the clasp on her watch, you see blood on her face from his arm. The shot then cuts to Alan Rickman, and when the camera goes back to Bedelia and Willis, there is no longer any blood on her face.
Revealing mistake: Bruce Willis wore fake feet during the movie to protect his own while shooting the film. They were like boots that slipped on over his. At the part where the FBI guy shoots at him from the helicopter and Bruce jumps to a lower level of the roof, you can see the tops of the fake feet that aren't tight around his ankles.
Factual error: Throughout the film, characters are able to break through on radio transmissions and speak to the other person talking, and the other person would hear them. In reality, they would have to wait until the first transmitter un-keyed the radio before any other discernable radio traffic could have be heard. (A good example of this is the scene where Ellis is giving up McClane.)
Continuity mistake: After he climbs out of the air duct, John McClane's shirt goes from white to green. The dirt and grime from the air duct would cause discolouration only where the shirt comes in contact with the duct. However, his shirt is uniformly green including places that wouldn't make contact and it is impossible for all surfaces to make contact even in small areas.
00:23:05 - 00:56:30A Demon
Other mistake: Near the start of the film, when John goes to meet his wife at the office block, there is a party going on and a small orchestra playing. When Gruber and his gang enter, the orchestra are still there. Gruber locks down the building, and takes the guests hostage. Where does the orchestra go after that? They are never seen again, even when the hostages are taken to the roof.
Continuity mistake: After the terrorists blow the roof and Willis jumps off with the fire hose, he hits the window. After kicking the window for a while, he decides to shoot it. As he pushes off the window you can see that his gun is out and pointed at the window yet in the next scene he pulls the gun from his side and then starts shooting at the window.
Continuity mistake: When Bruce Willis breaks through the window (as the roof is blown), he lands on his back, head pointing towards the window. However the next moment we see him catching his breath, lying on his stomach and feet aimed at the window as the firehose hanger falls past the window.
Continuity mistake: Takagi is sitting on the chair facing the door of the room when he is shot. In the next scene, the same door is splattered with blood, yet the glass structure which should be splattered with blood should be the glass window behind Takagi, not the door which he is facing.
Continuity mistake: When he's climbing down the vents, the strap unties, and Bruce Willis falls. He misses the vent he was reaching for, and falls past the next one, so we assume he catches the third one down. However, after he flicks off his lighter, the camera pans up from the lit vent to Karl, and we can see that he somehow grabbed and climbed into the vent he definitely fell right past in the shot from above.
Continuity mistake: When Argyle rams his limo into Theo, the limo and ambulance are pinned so the front of the limo is well in front of the ambulance door. However, when Argyle gets out and punches Theo through the window, he's standing where the limo should be, and not standing on top of it.
Visible crew/equipment: Everyone is surprised when Karl is alive at the end of the movie because he appeared to be dead when hanging by the chain that McClane had wrapped around his neck. However, if you look at the back of Karl's head during the entire scene, you can see the safety wire coming out of the back of his shirt that holds him up. No wonder he survived.
Character mistake: An unloaded automatic pistol is much lighter and balanced differently than a loaded one. When McClane hands "Bill Clay" (Gruber) the empty pistol, a terrorist of Gruber's credentials should pick up on the odd balance (I notice that difference, and I very rarely even pick up a gun).
Continuity mistake: In the scene where Al asks John if he has any kids of his own, John pulls out his wallet with a picture of his family. He is holding the radio and the wallet, but when it cuts to John's "Jungle Gym" comment, both his hands are on the wallet. It then cuts to John again holding the radio and the wallet.
Factual error: When Willis kills the terrorist and throws him out the window onto the police car, the body lands on the windshield, and it shatters into little bits. The windshields on 80's cars were double paned with a thin, strong plastic between each pane, to keep them from breaking into little bits in accidents. Only the side and back windows would shatter like that.
Factual error: The rocket-launcher used to destroy the LAPD Armoured car appears to be a French 'MISTRAL' infra-red homing, man-portable surface-to-air missile that is meant for shooting down aircraft and is not designed for a surface target role. Even if the missile seeker could acquire a surface target like the armored car as a correct infra-red signature (required before it will fire), its flight profile would not be suitable for attack and it would probably not even arm the missile warhead at such a close distance. The missile is also not re-loadable in the manner shown.
Other mistake: When John is on the roof being shot at, he shoots the lock off a door before charging through it. We see a close up of the door as it's shot, and there's a blood smear already on it. He then goes through it shoulder first, which is what would leave a smear like that - must be from an earlier take.
Other mistake: When the terrorists shoot the armoured vehicle from high up in the building, the angle at which the rocket launcher is fired seen from inside the building is simply wrong for a target that is virtually directly below them. The angle shown would have hit much further away. This is true for both shots but more obvious for the second one.
Continuity mistake: When the box truck (carrying the thief gang) drives down the ramp and the grey Mercedes continues on, you can see that the driver of the Mercedes is a white male without glasses. A minute later, the grey Mercedes pulls up to the front of Nakatomi Plaza. Alexander Gudunov gets out on the passenger side, and the driver gets out: he's now a black male with glasses.
Character mistake: The psychologist on the TV news is talking about the "Helsinki syndrome", the news anchor comments that Helsinki is in Sweden (before being corrected). There is no such thing as a Helsinki syndrome. However there is a thing called the "Stockholm syndrome". This refers to an actual hostage situation in 1973 in Stockholm, Sweden, when bank robbers held the staff in a bank hostage for several days. During the time in the vault, the hostage and the bank robbers developed a strange kind of friendship, and this is called "the Stockholm syndrome".
Plot hole: When agent Johnson calls for the helicopters to leave in 5 minutes to attack the terrorists at the end of the film, they are standing at Nakatomi Plaza. Five minutes later they are seen in the helicopter. How did they get from the tower to the helicopters for a long ride through LA?
Factual error: When the police officer first comes to the tower and looks around there is a football game the terrorist is watching on television. The movie takes place on Christmas Eve. The Southern California vs. Notre Dame game, which is the one being played in the movie, is a classic rivalry game played in either late November or early October. This is especially true in 1988 as ND and USC were ranked 1 and 2. Notice the terrorist display displeasure when the announcer notes that ND just scored. USC is the home town team. It is also apparent that the game is being played during daylight hours, but at this point it is dark outside.
Factual error: John McClane wraps a fire hose around his waist, uses it to jump 100 feet until the coil catches the lip of the building, and the hose catches him. This should have seriously injured him due to the inelastic material fire hoses are made of, and the fact that he was not wearing a safety harness, but he barely gets the wind knocked out of him.
Revealing mistake: Having leapt from the rooftop, Bruce has his feet planted on the window. As he then goes to push himself back in order to smash the glass with his gun shots watch the rope. Someone above has kindly held the rope out several meters away from the building in the next shot, allowing him to get a much bigger swing.
Revealing mistake: Bruce Willis jumps off the roof with the firehose. The hose hanger breaks off the wall and apparently gets stuck in the railings. The shot is very careless: slow motion shows that the firehose doesn't get stuck, but simply clings like a magnet to the top of the railings.
Factual error: The walkie talkies used are Kenwood TH21BT 2 meter VHF ham radio walkie talkies. Stubby rubber ducky antennas, if they are made for VHF, wouldn't transmit very far - likely they are UHF antennas which is even worse. The police dispatchers would not be listening to them on any Channel 9 on 2 meter or 440 Mhz ham radio. Also Al Powell would not have a radio for that in his car. If there was a Channel 9, an emergency channel, Hans Gruber's radio would not have been tuned to that during John McClane's rooftop call for help picked up by police - monitoring channel 9? Also on Thornberg's desk at the TV station there is a Kenwood TS-711 according to RigPix Database info (I thought it was an HF rig) - with the proper antenna it would allow Thornberg to communicate from his office with John McClane and the terrorists. But why would he need to do that? He doesn't seem to be the kind of guy to have an All Mode (FM, SSB, CW) VHF transceiver on his desktop. Probably most hams don't even have that. Maybe an FM 2 meter and 440, maybe an HF or HF and 6 Meters. But only a VHF all mode (expensive for single purpose) interested ham radio operator would have such a rig.
Factual error: Cutting through phone lines will not electrocute you. At best there a 80v AC ringing current per line which gives a mild shock. Also, when the technical expert kits the data cabinets the sensitive electrical equipment is highly unlikely to explode in a shower of sparks.
Continuity mistake: Karl comes in to tell Hans that Marco is down on the street and that the bag is missing containing the detonators. Hans then picks up the radio and switches channels to talk to Theo. Right after that we hear Powell on that same channel trying to reach out to John. How could Al be on the same channel as Theo when Hans was just talking to John minutes before on a different channel?
Visible crew/equipment: In scene on the top floor after John hits the fire alarm, as he is seeing the fire trucks coming and then turns away, once the lights are turned on, you can see the reflection of a number of crew people in the window during/after the cut away. One dude in a green shirt, another in a white shirt are prominent.
Continuity mistake: When Argyle is sitting in the back of the limousine he hears on the news that terrorists have taking over the Nakatomi building and that their means of communication is through the use of CB radios that they brought with them. Argyle then moves to the front seat of the limousine and turns on the CB which is immediately tuned to that exact channel.
Continuity mistake: Argyle is seen driving the limo around the garage after hearing that the terrorists have taken over the building. During that scene there are a couple of shots where the back window does not show anyone or anything in the back. But after the limo stops, he looks in the rearview mirror and the bear is sitting with it's head over the back of the seat. This would have been noticeable in the driving shots.
Continuity mistake: In the scene where Sgt Powell is entering his patrol car after checking the building, you can see that the spotlight is missing from the car exposing the mounting holes. However, after the body has landed on his car and he retreats rather quickly, the spotlight is back on the car.
Other mistake: McClane's undershirt is white for the beginning of the movie, but when he emerges from the air conditioning ducts, it is now a dark colored shirt (it looks very dark green) with a lot of stains on it. If this is supposed to represent the same shirt, just very dirty, it could not have come from the A/C duct work, for it was all brand new and the interior shots showed it all to be spotlessly clean. The change in appearance is far too abrupt to be possible.
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