Independence Day

Factual error: The Capitol's dome crumbles like stone, but it's made of iron. (00:48:10)

Factual error: During the final battle over Area 51, Russell Casse appears in his F-18 and states he is armed. After he attempts to acquire radar lock on the alien's primary weapon, he states he is locked on and has tone. He then says the tactical brevity code Fox-2, which indicates the launch of an infrared-guided missile. However, the missile he is actually attempting to launch is an AIM-54 Phoenix, which is an active radar guided missile, designated by the launch code Fox-3. The master monitor display also incorrectly shows the missile mounted on the port wingtip launcher of the aircraft where the AIM-9 Sidewinder would normally be mounted, instead of on the port wing's weapon pylon where the missile actually is. Historically, the F-14 Tomcat was the only fighter capable of carrying the AIM-54, as it was such a heavy missile; the AIM-54 was never used on the F/A-18. Instead, they carry the AIM-120 AMRAAMs, not the AIM-54 Phoenix that were shown in the film.

Stonewall

Factual error: When Steven Hiller is flying through the canyon he says "Hope you got air bag" and pulls a lever to deploy the braking chute on his FA-18. The chute is then detached and lands onto the attacking alien craft. FA-18's DO NOT have a braking chute, they rely on using an arrestor hook for carrier landings and a dorsal airbrake when landing on a runway. (01:00:50)

Factual error: When Jasmine is running in the tunnel, she kicks open the door just in time to save herself, her son, and the dog. The terrible fireball then goes right by them. They are just inside the open door, with fire and debris flying right past it. While the fire and debris might not spill in, the heatwave would still fry them. It is also likely that the fire would deplete the limited oxygen of the enclosed space. (00:49:50)

Factual error: David and Julius are traveling south to DC from NY so David can tell the President about the alien's plans. At one point, they're inside the city and the U.S. Capitol building is directly in front of them. This shot is famous because many movies have photographed the Capitol building from here. To get to this point in their travels they would have, in all likelihood, passed right by the White House since they are heading south on Pennsylvania Avenue towards the Capitol Building.

Factual error: In any explosion the shock-wave will travel ahead of any debris thrown by the shock-wave. During the attack scenes there are numerous cases of debris, particularly vehicles, travelling and landing in still air ahead of the arrival of the shock-wave.

Factual error: When the alien ship over New York blows up the Empire State Building you see the blastwave spill out in the street in front of the Empire State Building. This is in that part of the city that's built in a grid pattern. In front of the Empire State Building there's just another building, not a street where the blastwave and debris can spill into. All the people who are way down the street, looking at the building being hit by the beam just can't be there. (00:47:00)

Factual error: When the aliens attack Novosibirsk, Russia, a map of "Russia" in Russian letters is displayed on-screen from what is supposed to be a Russian news broadcast. In fact, it's a map of the Soviet Union, St. Petersburg is incorrectly labeled as "Petrograd," Moscow is too far east, and Novosibirsk is very badly misspelled. (00:15:20)

Factual error: El Toro base is shown being at the end of a long desert road. El Toro is in the middle of completely developed cities in Orange County. The desert is about 50 miles away over a few mountain ranges. (01:17:50)

Factual error: When the Empire State Building gets blown up, look to the right of the picture. The building next to it is the Citicorp Center. That is not right because Citicorp Center is on Lex between 53rd and 54th, while the ESB is on 34th and 5th. (00:47:00)

Factual error: In the opening scene, the plaque from the Apollo 11 landing is shown sitting in the lunar soil. The actual plaque is mounted to the landing module, right under the ladder. (00:01:00)

Factual error: There is a shot of the Imperial Valley at night with the edges of the Los Angeles destroyer spinning over the mountains. The center of the destroyer is hovering over downtown LA. Imperial Valley is over 200 miles away from downtown LA, and the destroyer is no more than 20 miles in diameter. There would be no way the edges of the destroyer would extend far enough to be seen from Imperial Valley as shown unless it was over 100 miles in radius. The ship does not even hover over Steven Hiller's house which is in LA, it can nearly be seen whole from there. The destroyer would be obscured by the mountains and from 200 miles it would appear much smaller.

Factual error: The US Bank Tower's placement in between Citi Group and Melon Bank is inconsistent from its real life position. Citi Group should be roughly directly parallel, not off-center at an angle.

Factual error: In the Iraqi Desert, when the British soldiers speak of the casualties and losses, one of the British soldiers mentions the loss of the Belgian contingent and possible reinforcements, then makes a reference to the "Golan Straits"; there is no such place.

Factual error: The firewall that destroys Washington DC is all wrong. When the destroyer blows up the White House, as in NYC and LA, it would have created a ring of fire that would have spread outwards. The White House is in a North Westerly position from the Capital Building, so when the fire wall hit the Capital Building, it would have hit from the side - but, instead, it hits from the back/front. (00:47:30)

Factual error: When Russell enters his F/A-18 during the final assault, he pushes the keypad "8" button out of curiosity and it inadvertently arms a missile. In reality, the keypad buttons are merely for navigational purposes and map coordinates. They would never be tied to the weapons system. (01:59:15)

Factual error: When Air Force One is taking off, the fireball should not be that close. The heat from the fireball would keep the wings from getting any lift as hotter air is thinner. Since the fireball is hot enough to explode steel and concrete it would surely have ignited the 45,000 gallons of fuel in the wings and melted the rubber tires. Had the plane actually been able to get its tires off the ground, the 'rolling' effect of the fireball and the rapidly rising heat being below and behind the plane would have caused it to do a 'negative angle pitch-over' or forward somersault right into the runway.

Factual error: The opening scene shows the Apollo 11 landing site. Aside from the previously mentioned plaque incorrectly shown being on the ground, the scene shows a pristine American flag standing upright. The Apollo 11 flag was actually knocked over when the Lunar Module ascent stage launched. Plus the American flags left on the moon are bleached white with no color, due to UV rays and massively direct sunlight - and they are probably disintegrated, due to micro meteors and solar destruction. (00:00:45)

Factual error: The missile launched by the B-2 is made-up. The nuclear missiles carried by the B-2 are powered by a small jet engine, not a rocket motor. The last air-launched, rocket-powered, nuclear missile was withdrawn from USAF service in 1990, before B-2s had even been delivered to the Air Force. Plus, these missiles are very accurate and have a range of hundreds of miles. Why get so close? Finally, the B-2 pilots have no flash blindness protection. No blackout panels on the windows, or special goggles that darken when exposed to bright light. The tinted visors on their helmets isn't good enough to block out the flash from a nuclear detonation. (01:36:20)

Factual error: When the nuclear bomb is released in Houston, the shot shows an interstate sign with South Houston as the control city. The only interstate running south of Houston is I-45, and Galveston is the control city on all its signs. (01:35:55)

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More for Independence Day

Quotes

Russell Casse: Hello boys! I'm baaack!

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Mistakes

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.)

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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 holiday...today we celebrate our Independence Day!"

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