The Final Countdown

The Final Countdown (1980)

13 corrected entries

(14 votes)

Corrected entry: Aboard the Navy helicopter Senator Chapman slugs a Navy seaman in the head, knocking the sailor out cold on the first punch. But the sailor was wearing a helmet, hard on the outside and padded on the inside. It's not all that easy for an average person to knock someone out bare-handed; it's probably nearly impossible to do so through a helmet that's designed precisely to protect the head from hard impacts.

Correction: Actually, the senator strikes the seaman with the flare gun. Still doubtful it could have knocked him unconscious, but it wasn't a barehanded blow.

Corrected entry: If the captain's plan was to stop the attack on Pearl Harbour the next day, it makes no sense to attack 335 Japanese Zeroes flying in waves. It would be better to simply sink the six aircraft carriers before the planes took off.

Correction: Sinking the carriers would be an act of war since they hadn't done anything other than sail close to Hawaii in international waters. He had to wait for them to actually begin performing a hostile act. Knowing what they will do doesn't change that they hadn't done it yet.


Corrected entry: The USMC Corporal l on the vessel has expert rifle and pistol badge but no service ribbons. A corporal would have the basic service ribbons on his uniform, as Marines wear all ribbons to which they are entitled in service. (00:12:00)


Correction: Served on the USS Nimitz during the filming and actually escorted the actors around the ship while assigned to the Master at Arms force. The USMC Corporal, (who I knew) would not have earned any awards during this time frame. The National Defense Service Medal was not issued from the end of the Vietnam War (1974) until the start of the Gulf War. The Marine Corps Good Conduct Medal is not awarded until the honorable completion of three years of service and he had only two at this time. This was a period where Sailors and Marines were bare chested until they earned their Good Conduct, received a rare unit award or qualified for the Sea Service Deployment Ribbon which did not even exist until after the movie was released.

Corrected entry: Senator Chapman demands some dry clothes aboard the carrier, and is given a khaki naval uniform, which fits him adequately. But Chapman, played by Charles Durning, is a rather portly fellow. The U.S. Navy has weight restrictions, and no one of that weight is going to be doing duty on a carrier deployment. The ship's stores wouldn't have uniforms that large.

Correction: Not everyone "that large" is over weight. I know plenty of people who are large stature and in great shape.


Corrected entry: The survivors and the dog were pulled from the ocean and flown back to the aircraft carrier. When they arrive on the aircraft carrier they are dry as if they were never in the water. (00:55:00)


Correction: The yacht is 130 miles from the carrier when detected so it would take the Sea King helicopter at least 3/4 of an hour at its maximum speed (168mph) to fly from the pickup site back to the carrier. In that time inside the helicopter they easily could have visibly dried.

Corrected entry: Late in the story the Time Storm reappears. The Captain and his XO watch it approach through a window on the ship's bridge, and quickly debate if they should try to outrun it. They're far out in the Pacific Ocean, but what's visible through the window looks like dry land, with greenery and some buildings. The scene must have been shot while docked at port.

Correction: What is seen is the flight deck, not land, with a greenish-grey hue due to the green-blue approaching storm, and the "buildings" are planes and deck markings.

Corrected entry: Senator Chapman demands a dry set of clothes, and is shown being given a set of clothes comprising dark blue trousers and a light blue shirt (Laurel Scott is shown being issued the same later on). However, when Senator Chapman next appears he's wearing a completely different set of tan Officers kit.

Andrew Upton

Correction: In this shot, the senator a crew member is seen holding a set of cloths folded military style. On top are a pair of black shoes/boots. Under which is what appears to be a folded blue jacket. Finally on the bottom is a set of Tan uniform items. These are never actually "given" to the senator, instead are carried from the room by the same crew member who arrived with them, whilst Senator Chapman follows.

Corrected entry: In the scenes where the aircraft are launching from the carrier to meet the attacking Japanese force, there is a shot from the little glass roofed room on the deck of a plane getting launched on the catapult. As the camera pans from the side to the front of this shot following the plane, you will see that when the camera is pointing towards the front of this little glass bubble room, there are cracks in the glass that look like bullet holes. What is that? It's only in one pane and it looks like one or more bullets were shot through there. It has nothing to do with the movie as they never take any direct attack, and I find it odd that any operational carrier would be out on duty with prior unfixed battle wounds. Maybe the carrier they shot this on saw actual battle and then was retired and they left it like that for history's sake? (01:28:25)


Correction: The damage is caused by FOD (foreign object debris) kicked up by jet exhaust or a COD or E-2 prop blade. No carrier has been shot at directly since the second world war.

Corrected entry: Real Japanese Zeros were, of course, not available for the film, so American T-6 Texans were painted in Japanese markings instead. (00:40:40)


Correction: The aircraft are actually made from T-6 Texans as reproductions, not T-6s painted in Japanese Markings. The planes were made for the film Tora Tora Tora. The reproduction Zeros are very good copies. One of the replica Zeros is now a member owned aircraft with the High Sky Wing of the Commemorative Air Force.

Corrected entry: Right before the end credits, you see the black limo driving down the pier, away from the Nimitz. Though she is supposedly docked in Pearl Harbor, the pier in question is actually "Pier 12" at Norfolk Naval Station and if you note the direction the chauffeur is headed, the occupants are about to get very wet... he is heading the wrong way... off the end of the pier!

Correction: The limo is simply heading toward a less congested portion of the pier so it can turn around safely. The camera pans away long before it runs out of room to do so.


Corrected entry: The F-14 shoots down a Zero with a Sidewinder missile. The Sidewinder is a heat seeker designed to home in on jets. The Zero's air-cooled piston engine would not have been hot enough for the missile to lock onto.

Grumpy Scot

Correction: There are a number of different models of the Sidewinder missile. Testing of the seeker head is done on deck before takeoff using a special flashlight type device that it can scan. The Sidewinder missile could lock on to a car engine, or even a dark colored tent on a hot summer day. Anyway, point being, at that close of range, the seeker head could have easily tracked the Zero engine.

Corrected entry: In the scene where the two F-14s are refueling, the shots from the plane's cockpits are actually of KC-135s - not the KA-6Ds which are shown taking off from the carrier and which would be the real aircraft which would refuel Tomcats. The successive shots keep switching from KC-135 to KA-6D and back again. The KC-135 is an Air Force aircraft that could not be launched from a carrier.

Correction: The cockpit view during refuelling certainly does NOT show a KC-135 Stratotanker. They are based on the old Boeing 707 and are 4-engined and considerably bigger. The shots DO look like the underside of the KA-6D Intruder - engine exhausts/nozzles in the right place close to the body, plus four underwing racks/pods/tanks.

Corrected entry: When Senator Chapman (Charles Durning) is landed on the Nimitz, he asks his assistant, "what kind of machine was that that they picked us up with?" He is referring to the helicopter. Yet helicopters, although primitive, existed in the early 40s, and most people in America were familiar with autogyros, which had been around since the late 1920s.

Correction: If the Senator knew anything about autogyros, it would be obvious to him that this was not an autogyro (they can't hover). The 1st single main rotor helicopter did fly in 1939, but the 1st production helicopter was not produced until 1942 (see: As the events in the movie happen in late '41, it is quite reasonable that the Senator would be unfamiliar with helicopters.

J I Cohen

Factual error: Listening to a radio broadcast, live, since no other indication is given, Joe Louis is completing the 12th round of a fight. This is December 6, 1941. Joe's last fight of 1941 occurred in September, his next fight was January 1942. (00:00:10)

More mistakes in The Final Countdown

Captain Yelland: If the United States falls under attack our job is to defend her in the past, present and future.
Lasky: And after that?
Captain Yelland: After that, we take our orders from the Commander in Chief of the United States Armed Forces.
Lasky: Franklin Delano Roosevelt?

More quotes from The Final Countdown

Trivia: The USS Nimitz was based in the Atlantic during filming of this movie. When the ship pulls into Pearl Harbor past the USS Arizona Memorial, it is actually the USS Kitty Hawk not the Nimitz.

Grumpy Scot

More trivia for The Final Countdown

Question: My question is regarding the scene with the refuelling plane. Was it on the ship when it went back into the past? If so, that doesn't make sense. The refueling plane would have to already be in the air, conceivably arriving from another location. That location would still be in the future.

Answer: Apparently, the storm that pulls the carrier to another time can also catch planes in flight. It caught the planes launched to intercept the Japanese attack, and pulled them back to the future along with the carrier.

More questions & answers from The Final Countdown

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