Independence Day

Corrected entry: When the stealth bomber launched the nuke to blast the alien ship apart, watch as the stealth steered to the left. Yet the radar from Area 51 shows the stealth steering to the right. (01:28:50)

Correction: Technically the display in question is not radar. There is the observation vehicle present which is on the ground in front of the Stealth. From the perspective of this vehicle, the plane would be turning to the right. The feeds sent back from the vehicle would reflect this perspective.

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: 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.

Phoenix

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.

Phoenix

Corrected entry: When Will Smith was flying over the remains of El Toro, there is nothing but rubble. It's flattened with only a few palm trees remaining. But when Jasmine comes to the gate, you can see planes (in good condition) behind her.

Correction: Those planes are definitely not in good condition. There are a few largely intact parts, notably two plane tails and most of a cockpit that happen to be lying relatively close together, but they are rubble like everything else.

Phoenix

Corrected entry: When Jeff Goldblum and his dad arrive at the White House, a right-to-left pan of the front lawn (which begins from inside a police cruiser) plainly shows red holiday ribbon and Christmas wreaths along the grass. Odd to the point of irony, as the movie is supposed to be set in JULY!

Correction: The alleged Christmas wreaths are actually the shrubbery of the White House hedge, and the red ribbon could either be large red flowers or another red decoration - it's too irregular to be ribbon.

Phoenix

Corrected entry: Why did the aliens take up position over the First Interstate building in downtown L.A.? This is not the centre of L.A., nor is it a pivotal role in the functioning of the city, like the White House. Come to think of it, neither is The Empire State Building in New York City. These don't sound like very practical tactical positions. They must really hate bankers. (00:46:30)

Correction: The aliens did not choose the centre of the town in most cases. They positioned themselves over a landmark that had great significance in the city, like the Empire State Building or the Eiffel Tower. It was a symbolic thing, not related to power or geography.

Corrected entry: In the one of the final sequences when it is showing the ships being brought down all over the world, it shows one crashing over the pyramids, and one crashing somewhere near Sydney Harbour, as well as the one which is crashing at Area 51 in America. In all of these scenes it is daylight, which is near impossible given that these locations are fairly evenly spread across the world, and it has to be dark somewhere.

Correction: Even though the craft's shields were down, each nation could have taken different times to bring down the spaceships. Besides, if you look at the background carefully, Egypt was somewhere at sunrise, while the ship at Sydney was down somewhere around the setting of the evening.

Corrected entry: A shot near the end of the film shows a burning alien ship over Sydney. Given the speed at which the aliens destroy major world cities, Sydney should have been leveled long ago.

Correction: While Sydney is one of the more famous cities in the world, it doesn't even come close to being one of the most populous. (At the time of filming there were at least five cities in China alone that had more than twice as many people.) And since the aliens' goal was simply to kill human beings, it makes sense that Sydney was not on the top of their list.

Krista

Corrected entry: When the alien is brought into the containment lab of Area 51, we see all sorts of high-tech monitors set up and doctors running around checking everything works and everything is prepped and ready for the alien. So why is it, after all this work, they forget to administer some form of anaesthetic to the alien knowing that not only is it merely unconscious from a punch to the head but it has a nasty temperament towards mankind?

Correction: Maybe they gave it the anaesthetic, and it didn't work.

Corrected entry: According to the movie the game of chess ends with White mating Black. Even though only part of the chessboard is visible, there is no way that White can mate Black in one move from that position. No wonder Judd Hirsch looks puzzled.

Correction: You could not possibly know what was on the rest of the board at the time of the move, the White could absolutely have mated Black. There could have been 2 Rooks on either side of the Queen that were not visible in the shot, and that would have prevented the King form moving left or right.

Corrected entry: When Jasmine is in the tunnel during the attack and sees a large fireball coming at her in the rearview mirror, there are people running and lots of destruction but her little boy is sitting in the back seat not even concerned with what's going on.

Correction: The little boy has yet to see the fireball. All he apparently thinks when he sees the people running is just fleeing citizens.

Corrected entry: When Russell is in his trailer listening to the radio (right before the youngest boy barfs), the announcer says (paraphrase) "Reports indicate that Los Angeles, Washington D.C. and New York have been completely destroyed..." Russell starts to say 'Good God.' just at the mentioning of the cities' names. Shouldn't the actor wait until the news comes until he is surprised?

Correction: Mr. Casse actually adjust the volume on the radio after he hears the announcer says "the extent of the devastation" hears the names of the cities, and then says "Good God." After this comes the confirmation that the cities were completely destroyed.

Corrected entry: Tell me this: why can Jeff Goldblum drive straight to the White House without hitting traffic? They drive down a motorway while everyone is trying to get out of the city, yet everybody obeys the law and stays on the proper side of the road. What good citizens. They might die but they still obey the law.

Correction: In the special edition of ID4 it has an added scene that addresses this point. Jeff Goldblum and the father are on the highway when they suddenly encounter a LOT of cars going the wrong way on their side of the freeway; only some rather slick evasive maneuvers by the father get them to the offramp and avoid a major accident.

Corrected entry: On their way to their planes, Will Smith refers to his wingman as "soldier." United States Marines NEVER refer to each other as "soldiers." That term is for members of the U.S. Army.

Correction: In the other branches of the military, it's used as an insult. Will Smith was joshing around.

Corrected entry: In the scene where the B-2 Bombers are going to nuke the ships, you can see the Houston citylights below them. Why is there intense citylight in a devastated city?

Correction: It was not devastated, simply abandoned. The alien ships started with Capitals and major cities, then moved down the list to less important cities. The aliens were moving to attack Houston, that is why the population was evacuated, and that is why it was chosen as the place for the nuclear strike. The lights might have been left on deliberately, so that everything looked normal, and the aliens would not realize that they were heading for a trap. The irony of the sequence was, the military ended up destroying Houston, not the aliens.

Corrected entry: The alien ship that was captured in the fifties didn't work until the mothership was present in orbit. So, after Will Smith and Jeff Goldblum destroy the mothership with the A-bomb, wouldn't it cease working again instead of allowing them to fly it back to Earth?

Correction: 1. The ship crashed upon reentry. 2. There were alien ships running from our fighters after the mothership was destroyed that were still fully functional.

Corrected entry: As Will Smith's girlfriend walks out of the tunnel, there are two palm trees still standing. If the flame bursts flatten buildings, how could two palm trees avoid being flattened?

Correction: Palm trees can lie almost flat in high winds, buildings can't.

Corrected entry: The shape and size of the aliens isn't exactly humanoid, but, when Jeff and Will board the space ship the seats seem to be pretty well designed to accept a human body...

Correction: They'd taken the original seats out and redesigned it for humans.

Corrected entry: When Will Smith is trying to fly the craft, he pushes forward and the ship rams against the back wall. He then laughingly turns the "instruction sheet" taped in front of him upside down. This would also reverse left and right, as well as forward and backward.

Correction: He's not stupid. It's not like turning the paper sheet over will change the direction the controls move the craft. It's only to help him remember the whole forward-backward thing.

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
More quotes from Independence Day

Trivia: In Area 51 there is a large screen displaying the results of the nuclear strikes against the alien ships. Look under the screen and there is some text in green. Pause it to read the following: "The purpose of these green lines is to lead you to believe that these words mean something", and "And can I see with eye serene the very pulse of the machine Wordsworth".

More trivia for Independence Day

Question: In the scene where the pilots are receiving their initial briefing, the officer in charge is a Lt Colonel, but in a later scene where the alien ship is approaching area 51, he is a captain. Is this the same officer or is this a mistake?

Answer: This is indeed a mistake. The character is played by Bill Smitrovich and is listed as playing Captain Watson, but in the briefing scene he is wearing collar insignia for a Lt. Colonel.

lionhead

More questions & answers from Independence Day

Join the mailing list

Separate from membership, this is to get updates about mistakes in recent releases. Addresses are not passed on to any third party, and are used solely for direct communication from this site. You can unsubscribe at any time.

Check out the mistake & trivia books, on Kindle and in paperback.