Independence Day

Corrected entry: Jeff Goldblum tells Harvey Fierstein that there will be six hours until the countdown ends. There is no way that he could have left his office, gone on bicycle to his father's house and driven as slowly as they were from New York to DC with time to spare before the countdown ended. The drive alone is a minimum of 4.5 hours with no congestion, averaging 70mph. They were going considerably more slowly. (00:26:55 - 00:37:00)

Correction: Jeff Goldblum says "approximately 6 hours", which means it can mean up to 6 hours and 30 minutes. But even if it does mean 6 hours exactly, they might make it. When they arrive at the white house there's less than 30 minutes left. That gives them a 330 minute window to make a trip that takes circa 270 minutes. When they're not in the cities they might be going a whole lot faster than 70mph. It's perhaps cutting it a bit close, but it's possible for them to make the drive within that time frame.

Corrected entry: In Jeff Goldblum's New York office, one of the televisions is on some news channel. The anchorman mentions that there are ships over the capitals of England, India, and Germany. You then see a map of where the ships are, and the one over the Indian capital is labeled "Bombay." The capital of India is New Delhi. (00:26:00 - 00:26:50)

Correction: This is a news broadcast/character mistake, which is perfectly realistic, not a film mistake.

Corrected entry: In the shot after the President penetrates the ship's shield, we see about 20 missiles fired at the front ship and all of the missiles make huge fiery holes causing quite a bit of damage. But in the shot where the small alien fighters start to attack the civilians at area 51, the ship (in the background) has no damage to it whatsoever.

Correction: These ships were about 14 miles in diameter (as indicated earlier in the film.) It's quite possible that the scene in question was from a different angle. Not necessarily where the missiles had hit.

Corrected entry: Will Smith's girlfriend avoids an explosion by ducking into a janitor's closet inside a tunnel, yet the special effects show the beam knocking over buildings, and there's even a shot of the entire city being levelled. The next day, however, there's all sorts of debris and survivors left behind. (00:47:55 - 01:06:15)

Correction: Obviously some people were lucky or intelligent enough to hide in a similar way, or were already in some protected area (like a basement, for example).

Corrected entry: In the introduction, the satellite collides with the alien mothership and explodes on impact. Satellites don't contain anything explosive and there's no oxygen inside them.

Correction: The craft destroyed at the very beginning was the space station Mir (or some other station - it's awfully large for a satellite.) Its destruction represents one of mankind's greatest achievements in space eradicated by the mere arrival of the aliens. A space station would have a good supply of oxygen and flammable material on board.

Corrected entry: In the opening scene from the surface of the moon, dust can clearly be seen swirling around the plaque. Since the moon has absolutely no atmosphere, what is this dust swirling on? (00:01:10)

Correction: It is not swirling. It is being vibrated across the plaque. Some might argue that is impossible as the sound from the ship has no medium to travel to make the vibration. Also, the moon does have an atmosphere (which is almost a vacuum though, I am just picking holes).

Corrected entry: When the President arrives at Area 51 he orders the guard to open the "clean room" where workers are wearing full body clean suits. Yet a few minutes later when Brent Spiner and his crew arrive (from within the clean room) they are all wearing street clothes and lab coats, not clean suits.

William Miller

Correction: That is because they weren't in the clean room initially. They went into the room from outside the clean room and since the President and others had already 'contaminated' the room there was no sense in him wasting time putting on his clean suit.

Vernon Gilmore

Corrected entry: In the cable office where Jeff Goldblum works, there is a wall of TV screens, presumably to show all the channels that the company broadcasts. After the alien ships appear, the president comes on to address the nation, and we see him gradually appear on all of the screens. However, at the center of this wall, he is shown in a large image, with nine or so televisions combining to make one huge jumbo-tron type image. As this appears, you can see the individual channels changing to pieces of his picture one by one. It is unlikely that each channel was only broadcasting a piece of this image, so someone at the office must have changed the sets so they would all display the same image in this manner. As only Jeff Goldblum and Harvey Fierstein have not evacuated the office, who could have made this change?

Correction: It could be automated. A switch that tells the monitors when the same program is being played on all stations, to broadcast as one large image in the office. Where I work, we have screens like that, but in the case of an asychrynous broadcast, it changes to Jumbo-tron automatically.

MoonFaery Premium member

Corrected entry: Late in the movie, there's a remark about the Belgian Airforce having been destroyed in the Sinai. The Sinai Desert is next door to Egypt - what was the Belgian Airforce doing there? They're supposed to defend European airspace, not African.

Correction: After the aliens began their destructive campaign, it quickly became clear that military forces would have to be moved away from population centers to protect them. It's not surprising that some European forces evacuated to northern Africa, where there are fewer targets.


Corrected entry: After Air Force One has just touched down in Area 51 we see a view of Air Force One in a hanger. Later when Will Smith brings the people in the motorhomes Air Force One is missing. Surely a Boeing 747 can't go unnoticed?

Correction: Area 51 probably has more than one hangar.


Corrected entry: When the Morse code signal is received in the Iraqi Desert, the man standing in the background is playing with his pistol the entire time. First he points it at the man across from him, then he holds down the paper with it, then in the next shot he's playing with it again.

Correction: There's nothing wrong here. The man is holding the pistol, then sets it on the table to weigh down some papers, then the scene changes to another area. Here, there is only one shot, and the man is holding the gun the entire time.


Corrected entry: Area 51 should be deep underground. The rocks should therefore provide everybody with enough cover for large bombs and even protection from the alien's primary weapon. When Will Smith and Jeff Goldblum go out to save the world in the alien spacecraft, the door to the surface opens. The launch site has its own door to the outside world. Why is it that the base is deep underground but has a big door leading to the surface that has no protection at all?

Correction: It's not simply a door into the outside, it's a launch tunnel at least one hundred yards long. There are heavy blast doors on the inside that are opened so that craft can exit, and it can be assumed that there are also similar doors on the other end of the tunnel. All this is a far cry from a simple surface door with no protection.


Corrected entry: When the aliens arrive for the first time and move over Washington, the shadow of the spacecraft goes over the Washington monument, but the shadow of the Washington monument is never seen, even though the sunlight is directed at an angle where it would be very large.

Correction: The shadow is running off into the lower right corner.


Corrected entry: When the fleet of alien vessels is wiping out the army base, they fire hundreds of shots, yet we never see any of them hit the ground, except to blow up a few planes.

Correction: The aliens have poor aim against moving targets, but are quite skilled against stationary targets such as installations (possibly a result of lack of combat experience due to the length of their voyage). Most of the vessels are aiming at the actual buildings and hangars offscreen in the foreground, with a few aiming at planes on the ground. No alien fire aims for the ground and disappears before it hits it.


Correction: Neither of them is really bundled up for winter. Goldblum is wearing a short-sleeved collared shirt with the top button unbuttoned and khakis, not unusual for someone as straitlaced as his character in summer. Though Hirsch is wearing a sweater over his shirt, it's a low V-neck that still allows for ventilation. Judging from his character's fairly conservative nature, this isn't surprising either.


Corrected entry: When Jeff Goldblum is demonstrating how he puts the virus into the old alien fighter to lower its shield, he puts a soda can on the ship and asks an officer to shoot it. When he does, the bullet is stopped by the ship's shield. Then after the virus is put into the ship's system, the officer is able to shoot the can off of the ship. But when Goldblum picks the can up, there is no bullet hole in it, only a dent. The military must make their soda cans bulletproof.

Correction: No one picks up the soda can after Mitchell shoots it off the spaceship. It's knocked off by the bullet and never seen again. The soda can that Goldblum picks up at his desk is an entirely different one, used to show that he cares about recycling and saving the planet that way.


Corrected entry: After Randy Quaid flew into the Alien ship and it blew up, what happened to all those Alien Fighters which greatly outnumbered the American jets? There seems to be no further thought of the hundreds / thousands of Alien Fighters in any of the different locations where the Alien Ships are being taken down.

Correction: In the movie it was said that the Alien ship that was on earth did not work until the mother ships arrived. It's possible that the destruction of the mother ships rendered them useless again.


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

Corrected entry: That alien suit is rather odd: it needs to be cut open with a razor sharp knife, then the alien is covered in a fleshy mass, however the suit is so weak an alien gets knocked out when it gets punched.

Correction: There doesn't appear to be any sort of movie mistake here, just an opinion.

Tailkinker Premium member

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.


Independence Day mistake picture

Continuity mistake: When General Grey tells the President not to engage until they have visual, in the President's close-up the exterior of this F/A-18 Hornet is quite different than what was shown in the earlier shot, as the canopy closed over him. All the rivets around the canopy have disappeared and the 'danger' triangle is much closer to the name Patrick, the seat differs, etc. Plus the fact that the canopy and hull are actually one unit in the second shot. (02:02:15 - 02:03:15)

Super Grover Premium member

More mistakes in Independence Day

Captain Steven Hiller: Y'know, this was supposed to be my weekend off, but got me out here draggin' your heavy ass through the burnin' desert with your dreadlocks stickin' out the back of my parachute. You've gotta come down here with an attitude, actin' all big and bad...and what the hell is that smell?! I could've been at a barbecue!

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

Question: It's been shown in the film the the aliens are technologically more advanced than us. Then, how come, with all their technology, they were unable to defend themselves from something as simple as a computer virus?


Answer: Remember that the aliens had to interface with our satellite computer code first...David simply "reverse engineered" the code to create the virus. When it was uploaded, they didn't have enough time to combat it.

Chosen answer: Its supposed to be an exercise in demonstrating how the aliens underestimated their opponent, but in reality it's merely a convenient plot device.


Answer: It was also a bit of a tribute to "War of the Worlds", in which the alien invaders with much more advanced technology ultimately succumbed to ordinary terrestrial pathogens in the original novel by H. G. Wells as well as its many screen adaptations.


Answer: I was wondering the same thing. Since the Harvesters had our satellites meant they could eavesdrop on every single conversation. David and other people in the facility probably put up a firewall on the computers and cameras, so that the aliens couldn't see or hear what they were planning on doing.

Answer: Maybe there were no viruses in the planet where these aliens came from so they didn't have any countermeasures against them.

More questions & answers from Independence Day

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