Independence Day

Corrected entry: When Russell Casse stands up to talk about his flight experience and says that he was taken by aliens 10 years before, everyone reacts with tired groans. Well we know there are aliens, so why would they not believe him? (01:43:55)

Correction: Russell looks like any number of people who claim to have been abducted by aliens, these people are tired of that. Some may also have seen him drunk on TV and thought he was out of his mind. No mistake.

Corrected entry: When the President is firing his F-18's cannon he pulls the trigger. The trigger operates the radio. The same button that fires missiles fires the cannon, the pilot has to select which one first with the 'hat' switch in the top middle of the joystick.

Grumpy Scot

Correction: The hat switch is for pitch and roll trimming, the castle switch is for sensor control. The upper left switch is weapon release (preps missiles for firing) and the trigger fires either the cannon or missile, depending on what's selected.

Corrected entry: When Steve crashes his F18 head first into the canyon wall, the nose itself is intact within the fireball into which the alien fighter flies.

Correction: It broke off instead of shattering. It's plausible. It's not exactly intact either.


Corrected entry: There's no way the people at SETI, NASA, or anyone pointing a telescope at the moon wouldn't have spotted the mother ship long before it reached the moon. If asteroids only a few miles wide can be spotted millions of miles away from the Earth then space ship 1/4 the size of the moon are visible long before July 2.

Correction: Asteroids that are approaching or getting close to Earth have been doing that for millions of years and we spotted them over many years and many scans of a lot of space. A single relatively tiny spaceship popping up somewhere is not something we can see immediately unless it gets really close and we pick up a signal or echo.


Corrected entry: After Russell Casse has crashed his plane into the alien's laser weapon and destroyed the ship, General William Grey gives the order to inform all countries to aim for the laser weapon to bring down all the alien spacecraft (which works). The problem here is the Americans were simply lucky that the ship had opened up the hatch and were planning to destroy Area 51, which left it vulnerable to being destroyed. All the other countries would have to fly around in circles and wait for the hatch to open which could have taken days, since they couldn't penetrate the outer armour. In short, it's highly unlikely they would have all fallen at once.

Gavin Jackson

Correction: Its highly unlikely, but not impossible. Nobody says they were all taken out at once anyway. It was a globally coordinated attack and most if not all of the ships were attacked at the same time. Though it would probably take some time for them to open up their primary weapon, they could all be destroyed that way since they were still destroying cities.


Corrected entry: The New York ship comes to a stop just above the tip of the Empire State building. Since the World Trade Center towers were several hundred feet taller, this means the ship should have collided with them and knocked them over, as they're only a few miles away, and the ship is easily larger than that. But after the city destruction, we see the twin towers still intact, if severely damaged.

Correction: The ship is higher than you think. The part that has the primary weapon is lower than the rest of the ship so that's why it appears to be lower, but it hangs higher above the rest of the city, including the twin towers. Besides, the roof of the twin towers are actually lower than the tip of the Empire state building at 417 meters, meaning that only the antenna of the WTC1 would have snapped off if the ship had been hanging that low.


Corrected entry: In both air battles, there are clear shots of F/A -18 Hornet Fighter Jets armed both with AIM-9 Sidewinder Missiles (the small wingtip mounted ones) and with large AIM-54 Phoenix Missiles under the wings. The only fighter in the world that is equipped to fire the AIM-54 is the F-14 Tomcat.

Correction: It is an AGM-84 Harpoon, not an AIM-54 Phoenix. Hornets can be armed with the former.

Corrected entry: Unless everyone uses satellite receivers, the local news feeds would likely still come from terrestrial broadcast towers. The interference on the local TV stations wouldn't be present like it is, especially in the scenes with Russel being on the news.

manthabeat Premium member

Correction: Most satellite and cable companies carry local stations as part of their basic programming.

Grumpy Scot

Corrected entry: Although Goldblum is an off-the-scale genius, no time elapses between his father giving him the virus idea (the dialogue about "catching a cold") and Goldblum, who has been up all night drinking nearly all of a bottle of cheap scotch, announcing the demonstration of the working virus on the captured alien fighter-craft. Genius or no, the virus and communication program to deliver it into the alien system (potentially the hardware could have been developed to connect it up though as that need not depend on the virus idea) could not magically appear in his laptop without the time, however short for a drunken Genius, to develop it on that laptop and get it working. Instead a few minutes development time would be plausible and longer would even have been believable. Even off-screen elapsed time to type the virus into the laptop on the basis of it working first time isn't provided for in the film. (01:36:15)

Simon Clinch

Correction: There is off screen elapsed time for Goldblum to develop the virus. After he wakes up the sleeping guard, we cut to the same room, filled with hordes of people, showing that some time has passed.

Brad Premium member

Corrected entry: During the first counter-strike following the aliens attack, F-14 Tomcats are shown on the tarmac at MCAS El Toro. The Marine Corps does not and has never operated F-14s, they are Navy aircraft. (00:55:40)


Correction: The Marine Corps is part of the Department of the Navy. Perhaps they were simply stored there for repairs or moved for the attack.


Corrected entry: There are some serious inaccuracies concerning the presence of the alien craft. The mother ship, with a mass one quarter that of the moon, passes very close to the moon and then settles in orbit around the earth. The gravitational pull from such a large object would cause a substantial disruption of the moon's surface and its orbit, and then of the earth's surface. These effects are not even mentioned. When the mother ship explodes in earth orbit the effect of such a large nuclear explosion so close to the earth would be so destructive that it does not even bear thinking, not to mention the billions of tons of debris it would leave behind, much of which would be pulled down to the earth's surface. Again, nobody seems too worried about this even though such an event would probably destroy all life on earth anyway.

Correction: The key words are that the effects aren't mentioned. They may have discussed them at some point, but they were probably more concerned by the first contact with a massive alien spaceship. As for the debris, I guess they figured that a chance at survival (with killing the aliens) was better than no chance (with the aliens exterminating human life).


Corrected entry: In the opening scene the alien mother ship is seen passing over the moon. Judging by the movement of the shadow it is travelling fairly slowly, of the order of 3000 to 4000 miles per hour. At this speed it would take the best part of 4 days to reach the earth, not a matter of hours.

Correction: We obviously have NO idea how these ships operate, who is to say that they slowed down, then sped back up knowing their mass might affect the Moon?

Kimberly Mason

Corrected entry: When it comes to saluting in the armed forces, the subordinate always puts up his or her salute first and then the superior officer puts up his salute. Only after the superior officer has put his salute down is the subordinate permitted to put down his salute. Never will a superior officer salute somebody of a lesser rank first. This occurs several times in the movie but the most obvious one was in the very last scene after the whole entourage jeeps out into the desert to meet David and Captain Hiller. General Grey (a 4 star general) salutes Captain Hiller (an officer of much less rank) first and then is in turn saluted back by Captain Hiller.


Correction: While true 99% of the time, Hiller and Levinson just literally saved the Earth. Grey salutes Hiller first as a sign of respect and a way of saying "well done and thank you". Wounded soldiers are often saluted by superiors in much the same way for instance.

Grumpy Scot

Corrected entry: Before firing the nuke in the mother-ship Will and Jeff light their cigars, but when they are walking in the desert after returning to earth the cigars look like they only just have been lit, even though over 20 min have past. The control-center hasn't heard for them in 20 min and there wives and the president have to drive all the way out to them to greet them before we see the cigars again.


Correction: Cigars don't have the chemicals that cigarettes have in them to keep them constantly alight. Invariably a cigar will go out and will need to be relit, so its perfectly reasonable that they are the same cigars.


Corrected entry: The humans are out of missiles in the final battle, except for Russell Casse, who flies right up into the alien main weapon, destroying the ship. A number of problems here. First off, a central control center operator reports all the missiles have been fired, indicating they are monitoring all F/A-18s. But somehow Russell's missile escaped their notice. Then no one in the control room seems to know where Russell came from, which they should know since they were monitoring all the F/A-18 pilots. Actually these mistakes stem from the original ending, which involved Russell arriving to the battle in his biplane with a missile strapped to it, ready for a suicide mission, because he was too drunk to be given an F/A-18. He then flew the biplane into the alien ship because he obviously couldn't fire the missile. According to Director's commentary, at the film's test screening the audience response to the biplane suicide ending was poor, indicating to the filmmakers that it was too cheesy. They decided to rewrite the end, so that Russell would make the choice to give up his life at the very last moment. They then filmed Russell in an F/A-18 cockpit, but chose not to film the control center scenes again, meaning they don't fit with what's seen onscreen.

Correction: While the story about the revised ending is true, that does not make it a mistake. We see a shot where Russell's plane is hit by an alien fighter and it fades to white, indicating an explosion. The idea is that Russell's plane was hit but not destoyed causing damage that included his weapons firing system and the equipment transmitting his position to the command centre. They act surprised when he rides in to save the day because they didn't realise he was still alive and more importantly carrying missiles.

Corrected entry: In the movie's final showdown, Russell flies his airplane directly in the green light. At this point, the alien ship is located directly over Area 51. So when it's going down, the whole area should be covered under millions of tons of "alien steel," since the spaceship is 13 or 15 miles in diameter. But some shots later you see the spaceship a few miles away in the mountains and a jeep driven by people who should be buried under ground.


Correction: The ship drifted several miles before crashing; they apparently lost control of navigation before losing altitude control.

BocaDavie Premium member

Corrected entry: The aircraft that deploys the nuclear missile at the saucer over Houston is a B-2 Spirit, a slow moving stealth bomber. It would have made more sense for the human command to deploy nuclear munitions using a more maneuverable fighter/bomber that stands a better chance of escaping the blast and any subsequent alien fighters that would be dispatched.


Correction: This supposes too many things, notably that the military was intact and had every aircraft at its disposal. We see the aliens struck the base at El Toro. Since we don't know what other bases, installations and aircraft may have been destroyed after the initial attack, we can't know what aircraft were at their disposal. Not to mention that the humans could have been hoping stealth would be an advantage over maneuverability.

JC Fernandez

Corrected entry: The humans are shown attacking the alien destroyers with AMRAAM air-to air missiles, which are shown both times to do virtually no damage to it. AMRAAMs are designed for fast moving air-to air targets, like the alien fighters. Yet, the humans do not see a need to fit their fighters with more powerful weapons, such as bunker busters, cluster bombs, nuclear bunker busters or tactical nukes, that would easily cripple or outright destroy the alien saucer. Instead, they resort to firing countless AMRAAMs at a 15-mile wide destroyer, which amount to pinpricks and cause needless deaths.


Correction: The AMRAAMs do not do "virtually no damage". They do absolutely no damage. The humans don't upgrade their munitions because there's no point to it.

Phixius Premium member

Missile hitting the armor leave sparks flying, and glowing hot metal. I'm not sure if you would call that missiles doing absolutely no damage.

Correction: I believe you are making the assumption that after the Aliens attacked the Military bases, as stated in the film before the city attacks (In a report by General Grey), that there are still a large supply of "bunker busters, cluster bombs, nuclear bunker busters or tactical nukes" available for the planes to have them fitted before the final attack.

Next to that, they probably have the AA missiles loaded primarily to fight the fighters coming at them, not to damage the big ship directly. What else they had planned is never stated though. Perhaps they had hoped killing the mother-ship would make the destroyers retreat and they were simply delaying its attack.


Corrected entry: During the nuclear attack on the saucer, the B-2 Spirit bombers are not shown with fighter escorts. Since what they are attacking isn't human, and would most likely detect them regardless of the B-2's stealth ability and send fighters after them, the bombers would be destroyed. Given the nature of the mission and the need for it to succeed, one would think slow moving nuclear bombers warrant escorts. (01:31:30)


Correction: From the aliens' point of view, they are fully aware that their shields can withstand any weaponry and therefore would not be concerned with whatever aircraft is approaching it or whatever weaponry it has on board. Therefore would not need to protect itself from a distant aircraft. From the human point of view, they believe that the aliens would not be aware of the significance of the 'nukes' and believe the 'stealth' features of their bomber would give them protection. Why make their position known with escort fighters?


Corrected entry: The whole premise of the ending was based around giving the mothership a virus to take out the shields. However, given that the "electrics" had only very recently come on in the Area 51 spacecraft, there would have been no time for anybody to have reverse engineered the computer system and alien programming language, let alone for David to come in at the last minute, manage to guess off the top of his head what part of the mothership's system controlled all the shields, find a vulnerability in their code that could be exploited to switch them off, and then create the virus to do so.

Correction: This is based entirely on an opinion, which are not valid grounds for a mistake. David is portrayed in the film as an off-the-scale genius, who's already deciphered the alien countdown code using nothing more than his own laptop and the interference in the satellite system. Area 51 is populated by the top scientific minds available, all of whom would be focused completely on the systems in question. It is simply your opinion that this would be impossible and that doesn't count.

Tailkinker Premium member
Independence Day mistake picture

Visible crew/equipment: When Dr. Okun is about to unlock "the vault", and says, "The freak show," a crewmember wearing a black and white striped shirt is hiding under the vault's floor, right behind Okun. (Only visible on fullscreen DVD.)

Super Grover Premium member
More mistakes in Independence Day

Russell Casse: Hello boys! I'm baaack!

More quotes from Independence Day

Trivia: According to the Director's commentary, Twentieth Century Fox Film Corporation did not want the film to be released under the title "Independence Day" to avoid legal complications (specifics weren't disclosed as to what the problems might be, but it's also why the abbreviation "ID4" was used). Roland Emmerich (director/writer) and Dean Devlin (writer) needed to justify the title, so they added the rousing bit right at the end of President Whitmore's speech at the hangar when he ends with, "The 4th of July will no longer be known as an American we celebrate our Independence Day!"

Super Grover Premium member
More trivia for Independence Day

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