Executive Decision

Factual error: A flight manifest would never state on its seating chart that an armed U.S. marshal was on board as it gives away that person's identity and puts everyone on board in danger.

Factual error: Computerized maps throughout the movie show the plane heading due west past Spain and Portugal from Athens to Washington, D.C. Aircraft follow great circle route; although Athens and DC are similar in latitude, the shortest flight path is north over Scandinavia. No commercial air route between Athens and the East Coast fly over Spain.

Revealing mistake: When the Oceanic 747 attempts to make its first landing, you can tell that the 'hole' on the side of the aircraft is simply painted on.

Continuity mistake: When Grant goes down to the main cabin and is looking around for the sleeper, the fringe of his hair goes from up and pushed back to all hanging down without him touching it.

Continuity mistake: Near the end of the movie, when Grant takes control of the airplane and lands on his second try, you can see the inner engine on the left wing (right to us) fall off and catch fire after impacting with the smaller parked planes. In the next shot, which happens quickly, you can see the engine is still in place and not damaged at all. In the next shot, it's gone again and the wing is on fire where the engine was.

Continuity mistake: When you see Rat pull himself vigorously along the wire upside down, there is no equipment on his head whatsoever, although in the very next shot when he lets himself down from the wire, he has his infrared goggles attached to his forehead. (01:12:35)

Factual error: The film was shot in 1996. In that year, Athens' airport was Ellinikon Internation Airport which had no terminal bridges. In the movie there is a bridge connecting the terminal and the Oceanic Airlines plane.


Factual error: After the briefing at the Pentagon, a Blackhawk is shown flying over forests and mountains to Andrews Air Force Base. Andrews AFB is directly outside of Washington, DC and an air route from the Pentagon does not pass over any mountains of any kind. (00:25:40)


Factual error: When the bullet is fired through the aircraft window there would be no possible way that Grant would be able to hold on for that whole time as the plane is travelling up to 600mph and also his temperature will lower immediately, which would cause weakness.

Continuity mistake: When the girl goes down in the plane's elevator, you can clearly see the phone to her left (our right) has no light. In the later parts of the movie the phone becomes a very significant tool and now has a light on it. (00:12:03)

Continuity mistake: John Leguizamo's character is protected by his bullet-proof vest when David Suchet shoots him. Despite this the vest would still be damaged, yet when Leguizamo is seen lying face down the back of his vest is unmarked.

Revealing mistake: Because the hijacked plane is carrying deadly chemicals, the military officers at the Pentagon plan to takeoff urgently within 1 hour. Yet when they reach the airfield you can see palm trees and mountains in the background. If the meeting was in Washington DC, they'd need to takeoff from a nearby airfield. 1 hour is not enough time to get from Washington DC to any airfield with palm trees and mountains. This scene was probably filmed in California.

Factual error: When John Leguizamo is surveying the cabin for terrorists and reporting back to Kurt Russell, he says the terrorists are carrying 9mm Skorpions. The Skorpion IS produced in 9mm Makarov and .380 Auto versions, but those weapons have straight magazines, not curved ones. The terrorists' Skorpions have curved magazines, which denotes the weapon being chambered for 7.65 Browning.

Continuity mistake: The second time David Grant (Kurt Russell) is calling the stewardess on the phone he keeps pressing the button. The movie makes it seem like every time he presses the button, the light blinks. You can clearly see him stop pressing the button but the light still blinks.

Plot hole: The entire movie is a major plot hole. It's revealed early that Naji Hassan himself organized Jaffa's capture and so it follows that Hassan has no interest in the latter's release. With the nerve gas already smuggled on board the plane and the willingly suicidal Demou in place, the hijack was totally unnecessary. Demou could have set off the bomb as the plane came into land. Rather than draw attention by the hijack, Hassan could've stayed behind and made propaganda from a safe place minutes before.


Factual error: Kurt Russell lands the 747 at Frederick field and during the rollout the plane's left engines collide with parked aircraft and it finally runs off the departure end of the runway into a sand drag. While it is true that the 5000 ft runway at Frederick field is too short for a Boeing 747 in reality there would not be aircraft parked so close to a runway at any airport, and we know that the 747 did not veer off the runway since it struck approach lights at both ends of the runway.

Factual error: As they are disarming the bomb, the hard drive on the bomb has no cover. A speck of dust would destroy an exposed hard drive and it would never be used exposed like that. As Cahill is a design engineer and quoted as being able to build computers, he should know that this hard drive is wrong.

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Suggested correction: I was just looking at the overhead crawl space in a Lufthansa 747 at Am Technik Museum in Speyer, Germany. There is space.

There is a very small space above the ceiling panels that does not match the movie, and would never hold the weight of a person.

Regarding your 2nd point, Grant and the team are not stepping on the ceiling panels. Rat even makes a mention to Grant telling him that if he does, he will fall right through.


Factual error: Throughout the movie the Carrier mentioned that will send fighters to attack the Highjacked airliner is the CVN-69 Uss Dwight D. Eisenhower. You can see CVN-69 on the briefing screen at the NMCC. However after the SECDEF gets the pic of the bombmaker they cut to a scene of the carrier getting her fighters ready and the carrier is now the CVN-74 Uss John C. Stennis. You can see the 74 on the tower of the carrier.


Factual error: When the fighter jets get ready to shoot down the jumbo jet from behind, Baker sends a Morse code message via the plane's rear lights to the fighter pilots. From such a short time of the fighter pilots viewing the message, they were able to immediately decode it as "Hail Mary, Alpha 1, 10 minutes. "Message repeats" says fighter jet pilot. Wouldn't it be impossible to send such an elaborate message via Morse, let alone be decoded so quickly and repeated in such a short time?

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Suggested correction: Very much like texting, a Morse code message doesn't have to be spelled out in full to be understood, and someone who is fluent in Morse would certainly be able to translate on the fly. I don't know enough morse to read what was used in the movie, but sending something like "hail mry A1 10 min" would certainly get the point across. It's also unlikely that "Message repeats" was actually signalled... it would just be that the first bit was repeated several times.

More quotes from Executive Decision

Trivia: When the F-14s are ordered to shoot down flight 343, the radar intercept officer on the lead F-14 tells his pilot that he just received the order on the CRM-115. This is a reference to Dr. Strangelove. In that film, the B-52 crew receives their orders over the CRM-114.

More trivia for Executive Decision

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