Apollo 13

Apollo 13 (1995)

79 corrected entries

(12 votes)

Corrected entry: During Lovell's moon walking sequence, his helmet shows a large blue and white Navy anchor. NASA EVA helmets were white with no insignia.


Correction: The helmet shown in the film matches Jim Lovell's real life helmet, he got permission from NASA to have the Anchor on his helmet since he was a Navy Aviator. The real helmet is on display at the Adler Planetarium in Chicago, IL.

Corrected entry: During Jim Lovell's daydream of being on the moon, when Jim steps onto the Lunar Module landing pad, it wobbles quite freely. This shouldn't move as the Lunar Module would be solidly on the Moon's surface and the weight from the rest of the module would be pushing it into the surface.


Correction: As you said, it was a daydream. It was how he imagined it.


Corrected entry: When Jim's wife has a nightmare about the mission going horribly wrong, she wakes up suddenly and there is a closeup of a brown eye looking around frantically. The actress has blue eyes in the rest of the film.

Correction: Watching the scene closely I paused the movie when her eye looks to the right of the screen if you pause it there you will see that her eye is blue. The reason it looks brown is because of the light from the window reflecting in her eye.

Corrected entry: When Swigert is being brought up to speed in the simulator (the re-entry simulation with the false indicator light), the Capcom announces loss of signal, but a few seconds later (right after the corridor light), the astronauts are talking to Houston again. (Note: this is far too soon for them to have come out of the blackout, since, according to the end of the movie, the blackout usually lasts around three minutes.)

Correction: Time compression. We could have watched them simulate the entire three minutes of blackout, but it wouldn't be particularly interesting and the film has better uses for those minutes at other points in the film. So they jump time a bit to keep the flow of the film. Absolutely standard practice.


Corrected entry: During the launch countdown, the voice-over says "7.6.ignition sequence starts.3.2.1." The sequence is supposed to be in real time, but "6" and 3" are only about a second apart.

Correction: The difference in the '6' and '3' is two seconds. Try saying "ignition sequence starts" in one second. It takes closer to two seconds to say it. 'About a second apart' suggests that its more than a second. Such a small discrepancy is negligible.


Corrected entry: At the meeting where Jim Lovell is informed that Ken Mattingly has been exposed to measles, and must be replaced by Command Module backup pilot Jack Swigert, Lovell complains about the last minute switch and says, "When's the last time he was in a simulator?" But Lovell eventually agrees, Swigert is put into service for Apollo 13, and he proceeds to intensify his training schedule. In one later scene he's shown in a simulator, being rather rusty and out of practice. But in an earlier scene, before the measles scene, the whole Apollo 13 backup crew, including Jack, were shown arriving at the simulator for practice. In reality, as a member of the backup crew, Swigert was in constant training and would not have even been considered were he unable to pilot the spacecraft.

Correction: I do not see where the mistake is in all this. Of course he would have not been considered if he wasn't up for it but the evidence you've provided is more opinion rather than fact. Lovell was extremely upset by Mattingly being replaced and what he said was more in the heat of the moment rather than being a true and accurate statement. Secondly the practice run Swigert went through wasn't evidence he was rusty, it was evident he didn't know how to handle that particular scenario. The technical staff afterwards discuss that even Mattingly didn't get that scenario the first time. Even so it was one mistake and we are only shown a few minutes of them training and not the hours upon hours they would have been training.


Corrected entry: At the beginning, when they are discussing the Apollo 1 fire in January 1967, they state that 18 months after the fire Apollo 11 lands on the moon. In actuality, it is 30 months (2 1/2 years) after the fire that Apollo 11 lands on the moon.

Correction: Already submitted and corrected mistake. This was Walter Cronkite's real-life mistake on the air.


Corrected entry: At one point on the return to Earth when they're about to make another burn, Lovell (Tom Hanks) looks out the window to his left at a stream of smoke or gas flowing by. At the left bottom corner a hand of the crew or someone outside of the ship is quickly noticeable, but even more so when you watch the scene in slow motion. The hand moves slightly, then quickly moves from the window as if the crew member realised what he was doing. (01:41:35)

Correction: Watched this several times. What you see is Lovell's face reflected in the window not a crew member's hand.

William Bergquist

Corrected entry: After they open the capsule, look at Tom Hanks' face, it's a clean cut shave. In the next scene, they get off the helicopter they just got on and Tom Hawks is growing some whiskers. That isn't enough time for him to start growing a beard.


Correction: Tom Hank's face definitely has stubble on it after the splash down. The sun is shining on his face so it doesn't show up as well. Also, one can assume that when Hanks is shown getting off the helicopter, it wasn't right after splash down. These guys were very weak and Frank Haise was sick. It is reasonable to assume they would have been given fluids and had a little time before meeting with those crew members and the press, thus having more time for stubble to grow.

Corrected entry: When Jim Lovell rips off his biomedical sensors, he says "I am sick and tired of the entire Western world knowing how my kidneys are functioning." The biomedical sensors don't measure kidney function, only breathing and heartbeat.

Correction: Lovell is just expressing his anger, this is a character mistake, not a movie mistake.


It's not even a character mistake. Lovell is simply using hyperbole to express his frustration over feeling micromanaged.


Corrected entry: In the scene where the media is asking about the CO2 problem, Deke Slayton is sitting to the right of the NASA director, but at the same time mission control is telling the astronauts how to make the filter and when they finish you can see him patting one of the guys on the back. Somehow he is in both places at once.

Correction: While the two scenes may occur back-to-back there is no implication they are occuring at the same time.

Corrected entry: In the very beginning when we see Apollo 1 on the pad, astronauts Grissom, White, and Chaffee get in and there is a fire. In the film, the fire is started by a button they press, but in reality the investigation concluded that the most likely cause was a spark from a short circuit in a bundle of wires that ran to the left and just in front of Grissom's seat. (00:01:05)

Correction: They never implied the fire was started by the button push. If you listen to the voice-over, which is occuring at the time the button is pushed and the fire starts, you will hear them say "We have a short.". You have to listen carefully because there are multiple, historical voice-overs playing at the same time.

Corrected entry: While Lovell is shown in the film using the Earth as a point of reference, Lovell actually used the sun.

Correction: During the actual burn, the earth WAS indeed used as a frame of reference in leiu of their guidance computer. At an earlier point in the mission, when their computer was still online, the sun was used as a reference point to see if the computer had correct information about their orientation in space.

Corrected entry: When Gary Sinese is trying to figure up a power-up checklist for the command module, there is talk there is not enough power. Two men yell that it is four amps. This is discussed in the book, and it was not four amps, it was more like thirty. The power loss was caused by an automatic system that tapped the reentry batteries in case of main power failure in the service module. I assume this was changed to four amps to heighten the emotional strain (four amps is more critical than thirty.).

Correction: Their use of power had to be reduced by 4 amps, not down to 4 amps - this is consistent with the book. Changing the sequence gained them some of this number, but they were still short, until the solution was discovered.

Corrected entry: Just after the explosion, there is a shot of Odyssey's instrument panel with the mission timer reading 91 hours and 34 minutes. The accident occurred around 56 hours into the flight. The next time the mission timer is seen, it reflects the proper time.

Correction: I have looked through the scene and shot numerous times, and there doesn't seem to be anything to show that its reading was 91 hours at any point in the scene. A few of the shots we can see the timer in the background but its not very clear and it looks to be about 56 hours on the timer. The shot before Bill Paxton reports a Bus B undervolt there is a clear shot of the timer is at 56 hours, 55 mins and 13 secs.


Corrected entry: When Ed Harris is drawing on the chalkboard to his staff after the overhead projector didn't work, you can see the microphones over his head.

Correction: That's not a microphone, that's the pullstring attached to the screen he just raised.

Corrected entry: When they're approaching re-entry, the people at mission control are blaming the shallowing of the trajectory on the lack of moon rocks. In real life, the shallowing of the trajectory was caused not by lack of rocks but by steam venting from the LEM's cooling system, as the book correctly points out.

Correction: Not an error, since at the time they did believe that their trajectory was shallowing due to the rock issue, as the book points out.

Corrected entry: The explosion was not actually felt by the crew but in the film we see them thrown about in the cabin.

Correction: From a quote by Jim Lovell: "The message came in the form of a sharp bang and vibration. Jack Swigert saw a warning light that accompanied the bang, and said, "Houston, we've had a problem here." I came on and told the ground that it was a main B bus undervolt. The time was 2108 hours on April 13."

Corrected entry: In several shots where the Apollo capsule is shown traveling through space, the shadow of it is clearly visible on the starry background.

Correction: Point out one shot that shows the shadow. I've watched this film a billion times, this past time I purposely watched for these shadows. I see none.

Corrected entry: The movie is set in 1970 when all telephones in the USA were analogue and had a fixed connection. However, in the movie, the phones used are connected to modular jacks (the kind used everywhere for digital connections and that can be pulled out of the socket).

Correction: The RJ-11 connector was introduced and adopted by the USOC and eventually AT&T in the 70's It wouldn't be unreasonable to believe that RJ modular connectors may have been used. At the time, phone connectors in the US were a mish-mash of hardwired, those four-pronge dodads, and modular connections.

Factual error: When Lovell's daughter is complaining that the Beatles have broken up, she slams the album Let It Be into her rack. The scene takes place on the day of the initial explosion aboard Apollo 13, April 13 1970 - immediately prior to the Lovell family attending the screening of a television broadcast from the spacecraft. Let It Be was not released as an album until May 9th, 1970. In April Ringo was still recording drum tracks, not even possible for an advance copy to get out.

More mistakes in Apollo 13

Fred Haise: It hurts when I urinate.
Jim Lovell: Well, you're not getting enough water.
Fred Haise: No, I'm drinkin' my rations, same as you... I think old Swigert gave me the clap. Been pissin' in my relief tube.
Jim Lovell: Well, that'd be a hot one at the debriefing for the flight surgeons... Another first for America's spacemen.

More quotes from Apollo 13

Trivia: The Apollo 13 mission set a record for the greatest distance from Earth ever achieved by mankind. This occurred because unlike the other Apollos, Apollo 13 did not make a burn behind the moon to drop into lunar orbit. The free-return trajectory the mission followed took the spacecraft farther behind the moon than any other mission.

More trivia for Apollo 13

Question: Why did the Apollo 13 spacecraft need a parachute? They were landing on water not solid ground. It's easier to survive a fall when landing on water, so why would they need a parachute if they were landing on water?

Answer: Spacecraft re-enter Earth's atmosphere at extremely high velocity (thousands of miles per hour). Atmospheric friction slows the spacecraft descent somewhat; but, without parachutes, the Apollo spacecraft would still reach the surface traveling at hundreds of miles per hour. Landing in water at such high speed would be like hitting concrete, which would of course be instantly fatal. Hence the necessity of multiple parachutes. The Apollo program (and all early U.S. manned space programs) chose to land in the ocean for two reasons: 1) It was easier to track spacecraft re-entry from horizon-to-horizon at sea without visual and radar obstacles, and; 2) It was faster and easier to position several Navy vessels in the general splashdown location, then deploy helicopters to rapidly retrieve the astronauts and their spacecraft.

Charles Austin Miller

More questions & answers from Apollo 13

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