Apollo 13

Apollo 13 (1995)

48 mistakes

Factual error: The astronauts are shown taking their suits off before docking, but in real life they were not allowed to do this, in case of sudden cabin depressurization.

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Suggested correction: Not true at all. There's plenty of docking video and astronauts are not wearing suits in many of them.

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.

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Factual error: Technician John Aaron states that the damaged ship will need to use "less amps than this" as he points to a vintage 'Mr. Coffee' coffee-maker on his desk. Mr. Coffee was not introduced until 1972.

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Factual error: When the cabin temperature drops, an astronaut's breath is visible. His visible breath rises as he exhales. This is an effect of gravity - on earth the water vapor in breath, which is the component that becomes visible in the cold, rises because it is lighter than the surrounding air. Since the astronaut was in a "weightless" environment, his breath should have travelled in a straight path from his mouth into the surrounding atmosphere, rather than rising.

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Factual error: During the Engine 5 cutoff, they show the abort handle unarmed. However, it is required that the abort handle be armed throughout the entire launch.

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Factual error: During the launch sequence, all nine swingarms on the launch tower are seen retracting, one by one, as the Saturn V reaches full thrust. In real life, only five swingarms would still be attached to the rocket during this phase. These "in-flight" arms would swing away as the rocket lifted off and cleared the launcher.

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Deliberate mistake: Near the end of the movie, there is a shot of the "Iwo Jima" with the two recovery helicopters taking off. For a moment, you can see the number 11 on the inboard side of the ship's island, which identifies it as the USS New Orleans (LPH-11), a sister of the Iwo Jima. Admittedly, it was the best the producers could do, since by the time the movie was made, the Iwo Jima (LPH-2) had been decommissioned.

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Factual error: Moments before and during the lift-off of the Saturn V, Ken Mattingly is shown to be watching from a somewhat private grassy field. Wherever he is supposed to be, he is far too close to the launch pad. No unauthorized persons were allowed to be that close, and certainly not in an undisclosed and unsupervised area, not the least of which was for security reasons. The fact that Mattingly is an astronaut would not give him carte blanch to do this, and his training and discipline would prevent his ever attempting doing so in the first place. In reality, Mattingly was in Houston at Mission Control at the time. Otherwise it is a nice shot.

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Factual error: When the LM separates from the CM just prior to re-entry, what you see in the film is an undocking, rather than a jettison. The difference is that in a jettison the CM's docking probe is pulled out of the CM to make way for parachute deployment, while in an undocking the probe (the triangular shaped thing pointing "forward" of the CM) is left to allow for redocking later. And in case you're wondering how the astronauts transferred between the two while docked with the probe in place, the answer is that they didn't - they dismantled it to create the tunnel. As an interesting aside, in real life the CAPCOM (I think it was Joe Kerwin) gave a go for "undocking" then corrected himself moments later using the phrase "correction, go for jettison").

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Factual error: The fiery rocket plume left behind the Saturn V as it is ascending directly after lift off is far too small and short. In reality the flaming rocket plume was easily 2 to 3 times the diameter of the entire ship and at least 3 to 4 times the length.

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Continuity mistake: When they are in orbit and Fred vomits you see Jim taking off his suit and an open hatch to the LEM which has not been docked yet. Later when preparing to jettison the LEM you see Jim closing the hatch over this tunnel.

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Factual error: When they're flying around the backside of the moon, they mention the Tsiolkovskiy crater on the lunar farside, then mention they can see Mare Tranquillitatis and Fra Mauro - which are on opposite sides of the moon.

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Fliteman

Revealing mistake: In the final 1/2 hour there's a scene in which Kevin Bacon is drifting weightlessly in the lunar module, with a roll of duct tape floating nearby. Just during the last couple of seconds of this shot, suddenly he & the roll accelerate to the right. As everyone now knows the zero-g scenes were photographed on-board an aircraft which flies free-fall arcs for up to about 20 seconds before having to level off. The sudden acceleration on the set means that shot was filmed just as the plane was leveling off from a dive.

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Continuity mistake: When the Astronauts are in space and are taking their equipment off, look at Kevin Bacon's hands. The gloves he wears under the Space gloves are taken off and the next scene shows him with them on.

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Factual error: The initial smoke shown coming out of the rocket gimbals during 'ignition sequence start' is not nearly fast or 'enthusiastic' enough. Additionally, there was in fact only a very tiny amount of white smoke/vapor emitted, and it almost instantly developed into a fiery, violent semi-transparent rocket plume. There is just way too much white vapor for too long a period shown in the film.

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Factual error: In the scene right after the Apollo 11 landing, where Lovell is in the garden with his wife, he is playing with his thumb and the waxing moon. He covers the moon with his thumb repeatedly.Usually the diameter of the moon disk is about half of the diameter of the thumbnail on an outstretched arm of an average adult. Since Lovell's arm is not fully stretched the moon should appear even smaller. In this scene we see a moon approximately of the size of the whole thumbnail. In relation to Lovell's thumbnail that moon is far too large.

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helmholtz42

Factual error: The NASA "worm" logo shown in the film was not created until 1975.

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wizard_of_gore

Factual error: The paint scheme shown on the Apollo 13 rocket is incorrect: The paint scheme shown in the movie is what was used on the development versions of the Saturn 1-C first stage, and featured a large black band around the middle. Technicians found it much too hot to work inside the pre-launch first stage from the heat generated from this paint scheme. Subsequently, the paint scheme was much simplified to a near all-white version for the first stage beginning with Apollo 4. All subsequent ship-stacks (including Apollo 13) featured this newer paint scheme.

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Factual error: When the astronauts pose for their photo shoot, the flag behind them has only 48 stars (a bit hard to tell, since it's rolled up, but the stars are arranged in straight rows parallel to the stripes, which was the arrangement used on the 48-star flag). It's 1970, so it should be a 50-star flag.

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Factual error: On several occasions the astronauts address the Capcom as "Andy." None of the Apollo 13 Capcoms were named Andy. Their names were Jack Lousma, Joe Kerwin, Bill Pogue and Vance Brand.

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Continuity mistake: After Houston reacquires contact with the spacecraft following re-entry, Gene Kranz sits down in his chair, obviously full of emotion. The camera then cuts to a wide shot of Mission Control before panning in on Ken Mattingly. Before the camera zeroes in on Ken, watch the top left corner of the screen and you can see Gene sit down again.

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Deliberate mistake: During the scene where the astronauts are building the makeshift CO2 scrubbers, the camera zooms out of the lunar module through the window, and we can see that the interior of the lunar module is oriented incorrectly compared to the exterior. The tunnel leading to the command module is on the top in the interior shot, but on the left in the exterior shot.

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Factual error: It is shown that people are casually having conversation next to the giant rocket-ship transporter, known as the 'crawler'. In fact, the crawler is so noisy that no one could possibly have a conversation near it. All technicians who 'drive' the crawler (an eight man crew) and anyone in the vicinity of an operating crawler wear sound-cancelling headphones whenever near it.

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Factual error: The White Team, led by Gene Kranz did not handle the launch of Apollo 13. This was done by Milt Windler's Maroon Team.

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Continuity mistake: Just before Gene Kranz draws a circle on the chalkboard to indicate the Earth, the erased circles from previous takes can be seen. He then draws a hasty, sloppy unclosed circle, but subsequent shots a few seconds later show a neater, closed circle.

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Vader47000

Visible crew/equipment: Just after Lovell secures the hatch for LM jettison, and Swigert states "Okay, pyro batts look good, I don't think we're gonna have to tie those other batteries," there is a visible bearded crew member wearing glasses, and a hoodie on the lower right hand side of the screen.

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Continuity mistake: When Lovell is writing the gimbal conversions, as Haise says the computer is up, Lovell is clutching the left side of the paperwork and writing with his right hand. In the next frame with the camera closely showing the conversions, Lovell's left hand is now holding the paperwork at the bottom (the left side of the paperwork is now clear of his left hand).

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Factual error: The Apollo 13-Saturn V vehicle was rolled out to the launch pad on 16 Dec 1969, not two days before launch, as portrayed.

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cadet

Continuity mistake: In the shot of Fred and Mary Haise at the Apollo 11 lunar landing party Mary is obviously pregnant. Apollo 11 was nine months before Apollo 13 and Mary is supposedly 8 months pregnant at the launch of Apollo 13. She does not have a baby during Apollo 13 and even if she was pregnant during Apollo 11 it would not have showed yet.

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Visible crew/equipment: Immediately after the accident, when Swigert is struggling to close the hatch, as he pulls the hatch away, just before he says that he can't get it to seal, a camera is briefly visible sitting in the tunnel through to the LM.

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Tailkinker

Factual error: In the scene where Marilyn Lovell is in her backyard and she looks up at the jet flying over her house (presumably her husband), there is a contrail behind it. The jet is at too low of an altitude to produce a contrail.

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Factual error: During the final voiceover, Jim Lovell says "Fred Haise was going back to the moon on Apollo 18, but his mission never flew." In reality, it was Apollo 19, not 18, that Haise was tentatively chosen to command.

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Deliberate mistake: Keeping the Earth in the window during the burn for trajectory correction is inaccurate because if the LM were pointing toward the earth, the window would be underneath the craft and the earth wouldn't be visible through the window. The earth is visible to be artistically consistent. This is mentioned by Jim Lovell on DVD Commentary.

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William Bergquist

Factual error: The remaining smoke plume after the Saturn V liftoff is about 80 miles too low. It's apparent that an aircraft flew over the space center to leave a feeble 'movie' plume. Also, when the Apollo 13 crew blasts out of Earth orbit, the ship is pointed straight at the Moon, meaning that once they travelled the 240,000 miles to the Moon's orbit path, the Moon would be several thousand miles to their left.

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Nicki

Continuity mistake: While the flight director (Gene) is talking to a guy about bringing the spacecraft's power down, there is a side shot of Gene saying: "that's the deal?" now, his hands are in front of him (playing with a pen) the very next shot he has his hands by his side and the man next to him has his head in a different position (a very short time to move your arms and head like that).

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Other mistake: When Apollo 13 lifts off, you hear a voice saying something like 'Houston we have cleared the tower at 13:13'. However, when this is said the Saturn V rocket has nowhere near cleared the tower.

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bladesman_joe

Continuity mistake: While the first stage of the Saturn V is fuelled by kerosene and LOX and burns with a bright orange flame, the second and third stages are fuelled by hydrogen and LOX, which has an invisible flame. In the movie all three stages burn with bright orange flames.

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Other mistake: Mission Control in Houston calls up "B.P.C. Clear", meaning that the 'Boost Protective Cover' has been safely jettisoned during ascent. However, the call comes on screen before it is shown being jettisoned.

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Factual error: As Lovell explains the Apollo 1 fire to his son (in 1967), a large RC model aircraft can be seen over the child's shoulder. The N-Number (tail number) for FAA registration is N1976M. The particular aircraft represented on screen is a Cessna 182P - which according to FAA records - wasn't built until 1976.

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Factual error: Hanks as Lovell drives a red corvette. The real Lovell has said in interviews he drove a blue corvette.

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Vader47000

Continuity mistake: When Lovell and Haise discuss their families and Haise's illness, Lovell grabs a picture of Mary from the air and comments on, while Haise is seen putting a green letter back into its envelope. It cuts to show a close-up of Haise's hands pulling the letter and the photo from the envelope as if he just opened it (which would have happened moments earlier).

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Vader47000

Continuity mistake: During the re-entry sequence, there is a shot of all the condensation from the control panel pouring over the astronauts. The next set close up shots of the men's faces show them to be completely dry.

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Floyd1977

Visible crew/equipment: During the moon landing daydream sequence, Lovell is shown performing the typical low-gravity moon walk. The thin wires used to facilitate the hopping effect can be seen at the top of the frame, and stand out against the light metal finish of the lunar lander.

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Vader47000

Continuity mistake: When Capcon 1 and John Young are watching Haise start to play the background music they are standing near their fairly clean desks in Mission Control. About 20 seconds later, after the Haise children laugh and Lovell says there seems to have been a last-minute change in the programme, the camera shows Capcon 1 and Young now seated eating dinner. Considering the amount of junk food now laid over their area and Capcon 1 half-way through eating his burger they appear to have been eating for at least several minutes, not 20 seconds.

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Zim

Character mistake: When Marilyn asks Henry "Do they know they're not on the air?" her finger is pointing just below her face. In the next frame with the camera now facing the pair, her hand is down at her lap.

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Zim

Continuity mistake: When Blanche is waiting for her son's broadcast to appear on TV she is seated beside two women. When she is told "this is all the channels we get" the middle woman moves her left hand to her face. In the next frame with the camera angle in front of the viewers the middle woman's left hand is at her lap.

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Zim

Revealing mistake: As Jim Lovell looks down on Fra Mauro and has a dream about an EVA (walk) on the moon, we soon see a view of Jim's legs as he jumps from the Lunar Module ladder down to the lunar surface. If you look closely, just as his left leg flings backwards from the ladder, you can see that not only do his pants appear to be a cheap replica of the actual Apollo space suit, his ankle (with bare flesh) is visible just under. If your body were exposed to the vacuum of the moon, you'd be killed.

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Factual error: At the end of the movie, when the astronauts debark from the helicopter and are surrounded by the crew of the U.S.S. Iwo Jima, there are a number of junior enlisted men wearing combination caps. (The type worn by Chief Petty Officers and commissioned officers.) That they are junior enlisted men is obvious by the rank insignia on their left sleeves and by the silver USN and Eagle emblem on their caps. (Chief's caps have a large gold and silver anchor insignia, and officer's caps have a large gold officer's crest.) The U.S. Navy did, for a few years, replace the junior enlisted men's traditional white hat with the combination cap, but the change was not announced until 1972, two years after the Apollo 13 mission, and the Navy reverted to white hats in 1983, twelve years before the movie was made.

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mdwalker

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