Continuity mistake: At the beginning of the film, when the President is being briefed by his members of staff, there is a General wearing a blue uniform sitting by the left armrest of the couch, with his back all the way back touching the backrest. In the next shot, still by the left armrest, he is now sitting farther forward at the edge of the couch. (00:12:55)
Continuity mistake: After their daughter leaves the room, when the President tries to lie to the First Lady about her condition, her hand is touching his face in the shot facing her. In the next shot facing him, her hand is down holding his hand, but when it cuts away her hand is back up touching her husband's face.
Continuity mistake: When Russell boards the F/A-18 and when he is airborne - such as when he salutes Major Mitchell (who is back at command center), he wears his Hawaiian style short-sleeve shirt and is gloveless. After he says, "Eagle 20, Fox 2," in the close-up as he presses the launch button (resulting in launch failure), the arm shown wears both a green jumpsuit and gloves, neither of which Russell actually wears.
Continuity mistake: Close to the middle of the film when Steven Hiller and his wingman Jimmy are running from the smaller alien aircrafts, Jimmy says, "I think I'll try something", and in this shot we can see Jimmy's fighter jet go up, and in the following shot, we see it go up again. (01:00:50)
Continuity mistake: In the scene at the end of the movie where David and the President are making amends, as you view the President from David's POV (face on) his head is tilted to his right shoulder, however, as you view the President (from behind) as he is looking at David his head is tilted to his left shoulder. This is noticed each time the perspectives change. (02:14:50)
Continuity mistake: Given the direction that the spaceship is traveling as it passes over the Mall in Washington, D.C., the White House should be completely in shadow by the time the Capitol is covered. This is not the case. Also, the shadow should spread over the White House from the left to the right, but instead it goes from the front to the back. (00:22:45)
Continuity mistake: When the alien aircraft settles over New York, there is a taxi cab driver that stops to look, and the truck behind actually hits it twice. Also, there is a parked yellow school bus which the front half of the taxi passes in the wideshot, but in the close-up, when the driver gets out, the taxi is actually much farther back, the bus is gone, just take note of the gate in the background. (00:22:25)
Continuity mistake: At the end of the scene, when Connie tells David that she has never stopped loving him she is standing in a doorway. The close-up shot shows her arms are folded across her chest, but when it cuts to a longer shot her hands are on her hips. (01:26:10)
Continuity mistake: When Captain Hiller ejects from the F/A-18 he is clearly strapped into his seat, but when he lands the seat is nowhere to be seen - it's not on the ground and he's not sitting on it. Then shortly afterward it instantly appears near him. (01:05:35)
Continuity mistake: When David shows up at his father's house, Julius opens the door pointing a gun at his son. David grabs hold of the barrel and in the shots facing Julius, David lets go, but in the shots facing David the barrel is still pointing up which David is still holding firmly.
Continuity mistake: At the decimated MCAS El Toro, when the First Lady asks Jasmine what she does for a living, the First Lady holds the bowl out with her left hand in the shot facing Jasmine, but in her right hand in the shots facing facing her. The direction of the bowl's handle also changes.
Continuity mistake: When Steve is leaving to go to El Toro, Jasmine comes outside to talk to Steve. In the background there is a couple packing up. A lady comes out from the house with a suitcase, goes toward a car and a man goes toward the house, and they pass each other. The next time they show a close up of Jasmine, the couple are passing each other again, for a split second. (00:30:00)
Continuity mistake: In the middle of the film when we see the President inside the command station, just after they hit the alien aircraft with a nuclear weapon, he turns to his side and says, "Call the other planes back," but in the following shot he is completely facing the guy he's talking to. (01:34:30)