Down Periscope

Down Periscope (1996)

29 corrected entries

(7 votes)

Corrected entry: When the Orlando finally gets a shooting solution on the Stingray and the admiral calls to gloat, he is quite surprised when Dodge informs him he's already fired his torpedoes. In reality, the sonar officer on the Orlando would have been screaming "Torpedo in the water!" as soon as the first torpedo left the Stingray.

Correction: In a normal situation sure, but in this scene there are 2 things that potentially limit the Orlando's ability to hear the Torpedoes. First the Stingray is running at flank speed, thereby creating as much noise as she is capable of producing, between the Orlando and the torpedoes potentially covering the weaker sound emissions from the torpedoes. Second the Orlando is running on the surface at high speed, as evidenced by her bow wave and the foaming water around her, creating a lot of noise herself in the form of water breaking around her, thereby degrading the efficiency of her sonar. In short it's possible that the Orlando missed the Stingray's torpedoes.

Corrected entry: They're supposed to be far out at sea, but in the beginning of the "walk the plank" scene, as the camera looks at Nitro, the shoreline and buildings can be seen.

Movie Nut

Correction: This isn't a mistake since at no point is it established that they're "far out to sea". All we know is that they're out of a designated containment zone. The largest actual number given in the movie is "12,000 yards", and that's the range between ships and not ship-to-shore. Since there's no way to establish the submarine's distance to shore, having the shore visible in the background is not a mistake. Indeed, the fact that they dumped Pascal on what looks like a small fishing trawler highly suggests they ARE close to shore.

Corrected entry: This movie appears to take place in 1996. The first production Seawolf-class submarine was launched in 1998.

Correction: COs are usually assigned as part of a precomissioning crew so its not unlikely that Dodge would have found himself being posted to a vessel still being built. The Seawolf was itself launched in June 24, 1995, and was commissioned in July 19, 1998. Meaning Dodge was set to oversee the final stages of his submarine being built.

Correction: The First Seawolf Class, USS Seawolf SSN-21, was launched in June of 1995.

Corrected entry: Nitro could not have operated as a connection for the radio circuit. The human body is not conductive enough.

Correction: Modern solid-state electronics use low voltage / low current connections. But the tube radios of WWII used much higher voltage and current loop circuits, which conceivably might be conducted along the skin (although I've never tried it, myself).

Corrected entry: When Dodge looks through the periscope it shows a plane heading towards the "periscope" and the shot follows the plane. There's no way a periscope could get that kind of shot. The periscope is made to look at the surface of the water, not follow aircraft.


Correction: Submarine periscopes can elevate to look at planes and helicopters. In fact it's practice to look for any when at periscope depth.

Corrected entry: The salute that Stepanek gives his father is incorrect. A proper U.S. military salute does not show the back of the hand; it shows it palm-down, angled slightly to the temple.

Correction: The military salute is intended to be the same for all services. In reality, the Navy and Marines have similar salutes which differ slightly from those is use by Army and Air Force personnel. Stepanek's childhood allowed him to learn proper Naval policies and protocols, including the art of saluting which he intentionally undermined just enough to manipulate BUPERSMAN into issuing separation orders. With new-found respect for his father, he executes a sharp salute that any sailor would recognize as proper form. The palm is angled inward so that it is visible in the right eye's periphery. My company commander taught us that a good Navy salute starts was a motion that looks like you are throwing scrambled eggs at your face. By default, this will always expose the back of the hand to the recipient.

Correction: His hand is still tilted too much.

Corrected entry: In the shot where Marty Pascal gets blown off the deck by the hose: when he falls into the water you can see two heads bobbing next to the hull.

Correction: The first mission of the crew of the Stingray was to get her back into shape. They had to to clean and repair the whole submarine. It is entirely likely the two crew members were in the water working on the hull.

Corrected entry: During the beginning of the movie, Dodge is referred to as Captain by both of the admirals. When 'Captain' Dodge is meeting his crew for the first time, he introduces himself to his XO as 'Lt. Commander Dodge'. At the end of the movie, the 3-star Admiral addresses Dodge as 'Commander Dodge'. To the best of my knowledge, Lt. Commander, Commander and Captain are three different ranks.

Correction: The Admirals are addressing Dodge as the captain of a ship, not a Captain in rank (in the US Navy, all ship commanders are referred to as captain, no matter what their rank). And while it is true that Lt. Commander and Commander are different ranks, the title "commander" is interchangeable (as is the practice of calling a Lt. Colonel "colonel").


Corrected entry: The qualification badge of Lt. Lake's uniforms through most of the movie is that of a surface warfare officer. At the end of the movie she finally wears the correct qualification badge, the submarine warfare badge or commonly called "dolphins."

Correction: Submariners cannot become "qualified" until they have gone to sea on a submarine. Once at sea, Lake could have been awarded her Dolphins, and been authorized to wear the insignia. Until then, she wore her previously authorized Surface Warfare insignia.

Correction: Not only did she not have enough time to qualify while they were out, she is wearing the enlisted sub pin, her SWO pin is gone, and she has fewer ribbons than the beginning of the movie.

Corrected entry: How did Admiral Graham know how the Stingray got past the Orlando in Charleston? Did Dodge tell the Admiral that they pretended to be a fishing boat on top of the water? Admiral Graham specifically stated that "the weather was the deciding factor." How would he know this unless he knew the exact tactics involved? Generally the weather doesn't affect the submarines underwater.

Correction: Graham did not know how the Stingray got to Charleston. He was making a very flimsy excuse.

Corrected entry: When Graham is on the Orlando he is a flag officer. Although he has command of the task force in the exercise he can not take over command of the ship he is on. In Navy Regulations the Captain or Commanding Officer of the vessel has sole discretion over operation of such vessel and can not be overruled by a flag officer. Even if he is removed from command the first officer would maintain the authority until the ship returned to port.

Correction: As you can see, Captain Knox did attempt to protest. But attempting to overrule a flag officer in this situation could cause harm to his career (in which case he would never make admiral and might be removed from command), especially with an officer like Graham on the promotion board. So he acquiesced. See also at the end Admiral Winslow told Graham to forget about a third star. Violating this regulation is probably the reason.


Corrected entry: Stepanik is introduced in the crew boarding scene as an Engineman First Class, however in the homecoming scene, his uniform insignia is that of a Machinist's Mate First Class.

Correction: This isn't really a mistake since it can simply be a result of Pascal's well-established incompetence. The guy screws everything else up so why not that?

Corrected entry: As the crew leaves the Stingray in dress uniform near the end, Lieutenant Lake's Mary-Jane style heels are completely non-regulation. While many of the crew are misfits and don't properly wear the uniform (or cut their hair) anyway, Lake was a "by-the-book" officer consistently through the whole film. United States Code Title 10 > Subtitle A > Part II > Chapter 45 > Section 772 > Statute F specifically allows that "While portraying a member of the Army, Navy, Air Force, or Marine Corps, an actor in a theatrical or motion-picture production may wear the uniform of that armed force if the portrayal does not tend to discredit that armed force" so the argument that actual uniforms cannot be worn in movies does not apply (here or ever).

Correction: While Lt. Lake was by-the-book in the beginning; she became noticeably more easy going as the movie progressed. Evidence for this is in a few places like when she says "Balls to the walls boys" while steering the sub in a risky maneuver. Also she kisses Dodge to thank him. As to how the heels got packed into her luggage; we can't know her thinking but it would seem reasonable to conclude, that she had them there for a possible shore leave.

Corrected entry: There are numerous references to the word "quadrant," being substituted for "region." A quadrant is one-fourth of something. It is not a generic, military-sounding name for a region.

Correction: The Stingray is confined to a containment zone for the duration of the exercise. As Graham had cut the zone in half by removing two sections, the zone had obviously been sectioned into quadrants.


Corrected entry: In the credits there is a name for a singing waitress named Annie Talbot. As far as I can tell, there is no singing waitress in this movie. (01:28:20)

Correction: Often if a person worked on the film, they will get their name in the credits even if the scene was cut. She's in the out takes singing "In the Navy".

Corrected entry: Near the end of the movie, the Stingray surfaces to run on top as it approaches the target ship. At some point afterwards, Dodge decides to take a shot at the ship with two torpedoes. Dodge is using the periscope to get the range, etc. to the target, and then fires the torpedoes. First, wouldn't they be on the bridge (outside) if they were running on the surface? And second, wouldn't the torpedoes be running near the surface of the water if they had been fired from a sub that was on the surface, instead of what appears to be deep water? In both cases it appears as if the Stingray were submerged when they fired the torpedoes, not running on top as it showed prior to firing the torpedoes. No order was given to "dive" before this series of events.

Correction: First, it is a character choice on Dodge's part not to go topside. The time and confusion created by the move would probably not be worth the advantages (if any) of changing locations. Second, even though the Stingray is running on the surface, at least four of her six forward torpedo tubes are still submerged. Therefore, torpedoes fired underwater make perfect sense. In addition, if they were fired in "deep water" the torpedoes would pass under the target ship.


Correction: The running depth of a torpedo is not determined by the depth of the tube launching it, but by the guidance program on board the torpedo. Also, modern torpedoes do run well below the surface since striking the side of a ship may not result in sufficient damage. Instead, torpedoes run beneath the ship and detonate below it in order to create a pressure wave to "break the back" of the target. That said, (and setting aside the fact that the SS-161 was decommissioned in 1930), it's unclear if the 1958 refit would have equipped the Stingray with "modern" torpedoes, but it is certainly possible. And, yes, the movie does depict a hull strike for each of the fish.

Corrected entry: The Stingray, the diesel sub in the movie, is supposed to be the SS-161 Stingray and is even painted as such. The real Stingray was SS-186 Decommissioned, 17 October 1945, at Philadelphia Navy Yard, Philadelphia, PA.; Struck from the Naval Register, 3 July 1946; Final Disposition, sold for scrapping in 1947. Source:

Correction: Nice piece of Trivia but since the actual Stingray no longer exists, they had to use the closest thing available. If they tried to say they used the actual Stingray, then it would be a mistake. But since they didn't, this is only historical trivia.

Corrected entry: When Stapanak gets to the engine room you can see that the rocker arms are not moving, But yet they are moving fast up to the tanker. (01:11:50 - 01:12:20)

Correction: When underwater Diesel/Electric Subs secure the diesel engines and run on their batteries and electric motors. Since the diesel engines are shut down, one would not expect the rocker arms to be moving.

Corrected entry: When Capt. Dodge enters the Vice Admiral's office at the beginning of the movie, he salutes. Navy sailors do not salute indoors or uncovered.

Correction: When first reporting to a duty station or when summoned to a superior's office, a salute indoors is appropriate.

Grumpy Scot

Correction: No one in the Navy salutes without a cover on. It is never done, no matter what you are doing.

Corrected entry: When the stingray is trying to evade the Orlando by going between the rudders of an oil tanker, after Lt. Lake takes the control ("Balls to the walls, boys"), there are two different sets of actors at the rudders and the camera goes back and forth between the two sets of actors.

Correction: I just watched this scene again and I've seen a total of 3 actors in front of big "steering wheels" which coincides nicely with the submarines 3 control surfaces (forward diving planes, rear diving planes and rudders). One of the actors is seen only once where he directly responds to a rudder order and the other 2 are the actors playing Jackson and Spots at the boat's diving controls.


Continuity mistake: When they are attempting to get "between the screws" of the tanker, the underwater footage shows twin screws, but the surface footage only shows wake from 1 single mid-ship propeller.

More mistakes in Down Periscope

Pascal: Jesus, Buckman! This stuff has been on the Stingray since Korea! This can expired in 1966!
Buckman: What's the matter, sir? It still tastes like cream corn.
Pascal: Except it's deviled ham.


More quotes from Down Periscope
More trivia for Down Periscope

Question: Whose picture did Dodge salute in his cabin when he said "live to fight another day"?

Answer: Dodge says "We live to fight another day, Captain." suggesting that the photo is of the previous captain of the Stingray.

More questions & answers from Down Periscope

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