Factual error: Aboard the aircraft carrier, there is a closed-circuit TV that shows the operations on the flight deck. At one point, a gull-gray F-14 Tomcat, in obvious distress, comes in for a landing. The camera cuts away from the TV to Ryan's face, and the cuts back to the TV. All of a sudden, the plane crashing is no longer an F-14, but an old Korean War-era fighter (F-9F Panther of VF-21), colored the dark blue the Navy stopped using in the 1950s. The director chose to insert a piece of stock footage from George Duncan's crash on the deck of USS Midway (CV-41) on July 23rd, 1951 rather than build a model F-14 to crash for an otherwise unimportant scene.
Revealing mistake: In the scene where Jack Ryan is brought aboard the U.S.S. Dallas after releasing himself from the helicopter, two crewmen drag him inside. The crewman on the left side of the passage backs into a metal valve, but the valve moves down and left, then snaps back in place as if mounted to a rubber pipe.
Continuity mistake: When Ramius is shot, he drops to the floor holding his wound with his left hand. He is still using his left hand when Ryan asks "What happens if he makes it to that ignition circuitry". The angle then changes, and Ramius is holding his wound with his right hand as he answers "He can incinerate the ship". New angle change, and Ramius is once again using his left hand on the wound.
Factual error: When Jack Ryan is chasing the Cook's Assistant Igor Loginov through the missile compartment, the compartment shown does not exist. Russian Typhoon submarines (of which the Red October is a variant, just with a new propulsion system) have a pair of cylindrical pressure hulls - each containing a missile compartment - on either side of the missile tubes. The location where the fight takes place in the movie would be inside a flooded ballast tank in a real Typhoon.
02:01:20 - 02:05:00
Revealing mistake: None of the exterior storm scenes where rain is present have any visible impact on the actors. No water or mist on face, binoculars, hat brims, etc. The special effect that creates the rain does not correlate to the either actor appearance or background reality - sun reflections, clouds, etc.
Continuity mistake: During the final battle, Borodin announces "20 seconds to impact". Ramius and Ryan discuss a book Ryan has written for the full 20 seconds, then Borodin updates, saying "10 seconds to impact" despite the torpedo and the sub both remaining on their same courses at the same speeds.
Revealing mistake: Near the end of the movie when the Russian attack sub gets hit with the errant torpedo, the shot from the "Ruben James" shows the explosion from the surface. In the middle of the large wave generated is the puff of black smoke and a pyrotechnic flash which triggered the explosion.
Other mistake: When the Political Officer reads the orders, they're supposed to test the silent drive and return home "on or about the 16th of this month." Shortly afterwards, Jack Ryan is briefing Jeffrey Pelt, and asks "isn't it the 23rd?", meaning the 16th of the month is in the past.
Continuity mistake: As the helicopter nears the Dallas sub, Ryan is in the right-side doorway at the rear of the opening. A spotter is on the same side of the craft, at the front of the opening. The spotter looks straight out the right side of the chopper and shouts for the pilots to turn left, as he has spotted the Dallas at three o'clock (which is where he is looking). But turning left moves away from the Dallas, not towards it.
Factual error: At the beginning of the film Jack says goodnight to his daughter and then leaves for the airport to catch the flight to Washington. He arrives at Heathrow in the dark. A flight to Washington From Heathrow takes 6-7 hours, and Washington is 5 hours BEHIND London. If Jack leaves at, lets say, 10PM London time, he would arrive at midnight US time. But in the film he's met upon arrival and gets straight into a car at the airport and drives to the CIA offices for his meeting with Greer. The problem is it's daylight when we see the car driving to Langley, which is a relatively short drive from Washington and the Airport (s) - where did the night go?
Factual error: When the USS Dallas submerges to attack the Red October, they rig for battle stations as well as rig for red. On a submarine, rig for red is only for periscope depth operations at night, to allow control room watchstanders eyes to adjust to the darkness topside. No other area on the boat rigs for red. Throughout the movie the lights darken along with battle stations. No naval ship would reduce visibility on purpose in a heightened state.
Plot hole: In the scene where Jack Ryan gives his brief to Jeffrey Pelt and the Joint Chiefs, they discuss how Ramius may be a madman set to launch his missiles on the United States, and that the Red October must be near the US coast to do so. This sets in motion a whole series of events to hunt for the Red October. One of the Joint Chiefs says "If it gets within 500 miles of the Coast, we'll have less than 2 minutes warning." However, doesn't the Red October carry ICBMs that can be launched from any location, not just the US Coast? And, if so, the "madman" could/would have already launched the missiles? This "madman" premise is put forward again by the Soviet ambassador when he meets with Jeffrey Pelt in Pelt's office. The ambassador wants to ask the President to assist in hunting down the "insane" captain who is going to launch his missiles on the US. But there appears to be no real explanation as to why a "mad" Captain Ramius would not have already fired the missiles.
Continuity mistake: When Jack Ryan is being flown, via chopper, to meet up with the USS Dallas, the pilot expresses concern for the fuel situation. First we see this pilot in the right-side seat from a good distance behind his left side as he is talking. When he looks back at Ryan in close-up, the shot is backwards so that he seems to now be in the left seat, looking over his right shoulder (notice his name on the helmet is backwards). Then, after the sub is spotted, he speaks again, and is seen back on the right side, looking over his left shoulder at the left-side co-pilot.
Factual error: Regardless of the factual error about the visible distance in Atlantic waters, just before the Red October and the Dallas communicate via Morse code, there is a scene where both submarines are diving upwards. The two submarines are hardly more than 50 yards apart even though, only a few seconds earlier, a crew member said that they were about 300 yards apart.
Revealing mistake: In the scene where they are dropping Ryan from the helicopter to the submarine, you can see that they used the same actor for both the pilot and the co-pilot of the helicopter. You can see the mirror image on the helmet of the pilot in one of the shots. It appears they just changed the voice actor only.
Other mistake: Even though Ryan was warned earlier that the water was so cold that you could survive in it for only four minutes, he doesn't even shiver while drinking coffee in his wet clothes inside the Dallas. This after plunging deep underwater from his fall from the helicopter and then waiting to be rescued and brought aboard by the diver.
Factual error: When Ryan is brought on board the Dallas, Captain Mancuso climbs down from the conning tower, through the hatch next to the control room of the sub. He then walks/runs down two flights of stairs and enters a short corridor where Ryan is now dropped on the floor by the safety diver and another crewman. I am unsure of the exact location of the lower hatch of the escape trunk on a 688 sub, but I suspect it would be on mid deck. When the camera turns to face Mancuso again you see the curvature of the hull next to him, suggesting this takes place on an upper floor on the sub. So why did he run down two stairs to seconds later end up on the top floor of a sub with only three floors inside the pressure hull?
Character mistake: As the helicopter crewman sees the Dallas surfacing, he says something along the lines of, "Sub at three o'clock". The next shot is from inside the helicopter and shows the sub and a part of the starboard landing gear retracting pod. This shot puts the Dallas closer to one o'clock.
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