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: I hate to say it, but Area 51 is not located in the Utah desert as shown in several desert scenes. Area 51 is in Nevada surrounded by mountains.

Correction: The movie labels Area 51 as being in Nevada, when Air Force One is flying there.

Corrected entry: When Will Smith pulls the ring out of his locker, he drops it and it falls to the right of him. When Harry Connick Jr. picks up the ring, he picks it up to the left of Will. (00:35:15)


Correction: It could have bounced.

Corrected entry: Why do they attack the ships only with F/A-18s? They could fire a lot more warheads from submarines, destroyers and so on. (00:58:55)

Correction: The actor giving the briefing says that the pilots will be the "first wave" in the counter attack, possibly meaning that a number of other waves would be attacking afterwards, which could be coming from Submarines and/or Destroyers. Also, in the fight scenes, the aliens could have destroyed submarines, destroyers, etc.

Corrected entry: Goldblum makes an assumption when creating his computer virus (in the complex alien language, no less) that the aliens would not have any kind of anti-virus software or other security measures embedded in their obviously highly classified control system software. Ridiculously improbable. He has no fallback plan, either.

Correction: No, this is untrue, the aliens do have "anti-virus" programs. That is why his plan will only work for a matter of minutes, before the aliens stop the virus. Also, the technology of the humans and aliens is vastly different, so there is a chance the aliens computers wouldn't "recognize" the human virus.

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: The three helicopters hover by the alien space ship. The ship then shoots a beam to destroy all 3 of the helicopters. But the two smaller helicopters start to explode from the inside before they are hit with the ray.

Correction: All three of the helicopters show internal explosions before the energy ray hits them. However, it cannot be said with certainty that this is not how the ray is supposed to function. Perhaps the preliminary light from the ship indicates the release of radiation that can detonate the fuel and ammunition in the helicopters after a few seconds' exposure and the ray burst is an explosive charge to detonate whatever remains. The city-destroying weapon works in a fashion similar to this: the initial beam does very little damage, then the burst acts as a nucleus of destruction.


Corrected entry: When Jeff Goldblum is in the Oval Office waiting to talk to the president he stands up and closes his laptop and sets it on the desk with the opening side facing the front of the desk. When he tells the president "And the clock is ticking," he turns the already opened laptop around towards the front of the desk.

Correction: Goldblum sets up the laptop facing the desk chair, but he picks it up and closes it when he realizes that the President doesn't want to listen to what he has to say. When he starts explaining the satellite interference, he sets the laptop down on his side of the desk, away from the chair. Thus, to show the timer to the President, he opens the laptop in front of him and turns it toward the President, who is now standing at the desk in front of the chair.


Corrected entry: When Jeff Goldblum is explaining "line of sight" to the President, he hands the same piece of paper to him three times.

Correction: No, he doesn't. Goldblum hands Pullman the paper exactly once, and even then it's offscreen and could merely be an illustrative gesture.

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!

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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!"

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