Continuity mistake: In the shot of the alien's tail wrapping around the back of Lambert's legs right before it kills her, the floor is different to what it was before, there is water suddenly falling from the ceiling when there wasn't before and her trousers have changed from white to blue. This is because that shot was originally intended to be used when Brett was killed.
Continuity mistake: In regards to the self destruct mechanisim of the Nostromo, It is said that the time from the setting to detonation will be 10 minutes. This is also confirmed by the voice of "Mother" who says, right after Ripley initiates the sequence, that the detonation will take place in "T-Minus 10 minutes" However, in the next shot you see one of the monitors which shows a countdown with 10 minutes and an extra 30+ seconds on it.
Continuity mistake: When Ash has gone crazy and is attacking Ripley, his white android juice/sweat/fluid is flowing from his forehead. After he throws Ripley into the room with the nude pictures on the wall, there is a new shot. In it, Ash is walking into the room, but there is no android fluid on his forehead.
Continuity mistake: When Lambert deactivates Ash by using a cattleprod, you will notice that she is wearing brown cowboy boots. Minutes later as the Alien goes to wrap its tail round the back of her legs, she is now wearing a sneaker - though you only see the toe cap it is clearly not a brown cowboy boot.
01:23:55 - 01:33:40
Continuity mistake: When Dallas, Kane and Lambert are exploring the alien spacecraft, you can see that there are wipe marks inside of their helmets that change between shots, most notably on Kane. This is because the helmets were built with out sufficient exhaust systems for the actors. Of course, the characters wouldn't be able to wipe the inside of their helmets with them on.
Continuity mistake: When Dallas, Lambert and Kane first discover the Space Jockey, the room is so well illuminated you can see the Jockey, its cannon thing and the floor around it perfectly. In all close shots, it's suddenly pitch black and all we can see is the small areas lit by the crew's helmet lamps.
Continuity mistake: Before Lambert is killed, the alien twists its tendrils around her leg, and we see that she has sneakers on. However, when Ripley notices Lambert's dead body (hanging?) she is barefoot. [The rest of the scene was cut. According to the novelization, Lambert was actually intended to be shown completely naked and sexually ravaged. Director Ridley Scott had toyed with the idea of creating the illusion of the Alien having raped her before her death. He thought better of it and cut the scene. Still a mistake, but there's why.]
01:33:40 - 01:34:25
Continuity mistake: In the escape pod Ripley presses buttons to release gases onto the alien. Watch her helmet between the cuts. During the first two gas releases the inside of her helmet is foggy and streaked; cut to the alien reacting to the third gas and when the camera returns to Ripley the inside of her helmet is clear.
Continuity mistake: After the alien leaves Kane's face and the rest of the crew are looking for it in the infirmary, there is one shot that bears re-watching. When Ripley is looking upwards over the prone Kane, you begin to see the dangling tentacles of the alien in the background. At the same time, the collar on her outfit begins to pull downward, un-naturally, until the alien drops onto her shoulder. I believe there was some sort of string or rope fed from below, through her clothing, and was attached to the alien and was pulled to have the creature drop onto her.
Continuity mistake: When Ash calls Dallas to the infirmary, Dallas appears in a white shirt that has a blue patch or tag above his left/front pocket. Then he and Ripley leave the infirmary and have an argument in a corridor. Suddenly, Dallas' shirt has a gold patch where the blue one was moments earlier.
Continuity mistake: When Dallas is in the air vent trying to flush the Alien out of the ship he is carring a flamethrower. Right before his demise, he is told by Lambert to "Get out of there" or something to that effect. In the next shot you see him descending a ladder clearly WITHOUT the flamethrower. However, in the shot after that (when he is lowering himself to the bottom of the ladder, right before the alien gets him) he somehow has the flamethrower again (it even got reslung around his shoulder).
Continuity mistake: Near the start, when Dallas is at the entrance to Mother, one of the lights to his left, the fifth one down from the ceiling, is not lit. The next shot from inside Mother looking out shows that light is now lit. This exact same thing happens a second time when Ripley is entering mother later in the movie. These two scenes must have been shot at the same time.
00:08:20 - 01:18:35luchador
Continuity mistake: Just after Dallas is taken by the Alien in the air shaft, the crew are round a table discussing what they should do next. Ripley has a visible injury to her right cheek, a round swollen injury. In the next scene the injury has gone. It's possible that it was caused by accident filming the scene when she was attacked by Ash with the rolled up magazine, although that happened later in the film.
Continuity mistake: After Ash is decapitated, Ripley says they are going to blow up the ship. In the shot where Parker looks back, Ash's head is slanted to the side. The shot cuts back to Parker where he turns on the flamethrower and incinerates Ash, whose head is suddenly flat on the table.
Continuity mistake: When Ripley is trying to re-activate Ash, Ripley flattens his head onto the ground. Her left hand is placed on Ash's head and her right hand is placed on the skin below Ash's neck. As soon as Ripley gets the head fixed on the ground, she begins to remove her right hand from the skin below Ash's neck. In the instant shot following, her hand is suddenly back on the skin below Ash's neck.
Continuity mistake: After the Alien bursts out of Kane's chest, Parker grabs a knife and goes to stab it, and Ash raises his arm at him, telling him not to. The alien then runs off and visible in the back of shot is Ash still pointing at Parker with his arm raised. Then in a sudden close-up of Ash, his arm is now lowered. Although, his entire arm isn't visible, just under his shoulder, the top of his arm is still visible, so his arm is definitely not in the same position as it was in the previous shot.
Continuity mistake: When Ripley runs back into the control room to abort the self-destruct, one shot shows the timer reading 5 minutes. The shot then cuts to Ripley pulling a lever back to where it originally was and yells out "Mother, I've turned the cooling unit back on! Mother!" The shot then cuts back to the timer where it can be seen it has only gone down by 2-3 seconds, but all of what just happened took longer than that.
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