2001: A Space Odyssey
2001: A Space Odyssey mistake picture

Continuity mistake: When Dave gets his supper, the order of the slop from right to left is yellow, light brown, light brown, dark brown. Later when he's eating, the order is yellow, orange brown, dark brown, light brown. (00:59:00 - 00:59:50)


Continuity mistake: The view of the front of the moon buggy shows the sunlight coming from the right side of the screen(Pilot's left shoulder) But when we see his view out the window, the sunlight casts shadows as if the sun was behind them.

Continuity mistake: Several times during Heywood's speech to the team at the moon base, his arms shift from his sides with hands in pockets to in front of him with hands on the podium.

Continuity mistake: The Discovery's crew quarters has five beds, three for the hibernating crew, two for the Bowman and Poole. The exact beds occupied by hibernating crew changes from one scene to the next. This error is caused by Frank's last two running shots (the ones where the camera stayed just ahead or just behind him as he ran) having been accidentally reversed in editting. Frank's hair is parted on the wrong side and the sleep tube layout and the body positions within are precise mirror images of the layout seen in all prior and following shots.

Continuity mistake: When Floyd and his team are heading to the Lunar excavation site, they start to eat those synthetic sandwiches. One of the shots shows a closeup of Floyd. As he is right about to take a bite, the camera cuts back to a shot of the three men. However, Floyd's sandwich is instantaneously about a foot from his mouth and he is fully chewing. (00:47:50)

Continuity mistake: When Frank receives his parents' birthday message he is relaxing on the sun-bed. As the message drags on there is some intercutting with various other views about the room. One shot happens to be of the sun-bed from an alternative angle, and Frank is nowhere to be seen. In the next shot Frank is once again lying on the bed.

Continuity mistake: When the astronauts are approaching the monolith on the moon, the earth is clearly seen in a gibbous phase near the horizon. In the next scene, the sun passes behind the earth, which is now in a "new" phase overhead. The earth does not change its position in the lunar sky, and certainly cannot change phase that fast.

Continuity mistake: When Dr. Heywood is talking to his daughter, her hands shift between the first full shot on the screen and the shot over Heywood's shoulder.


Continuity mistake: For most of the sequence during which the Orion space shuttle closes in to dock with Space Station One, we see the space station rotating counterclockwise, as viewed from the side the Orion is approaching. But the first two times we see the station (immediately before and immediately after the scene in which Floyd's pen floats free aboard the Orion), it is rotating clockwise. It is also apparently rotating clockwise in the shot from inside the station, looking out at the approaching Orion. The stars in this shot are turning clockwise, implying that the station is moving anti-clockwise, hence must be rotating clockwise when observed from the Orion.

Continuity mistake: When Dr. Floyd is talking to Dr. Smyslov and his colleagues, Dr. Smyslov's hair moves several times between shots.


Continuity mistake: On board the Aries Moon Shuttle is the famous scene when the Pan Am flight attendant serves a meal to Dr. Floyd and then retrieves additional meals, enters the doorway and walks 180 degrees up the wall and over to be upside down to deliver the meals to the shuttle pilots. However, from the outside view of the spacecraft, the pilots are sitting perpendicular to where the passengers sit and she should only have walked up the wall 90 degrees.


Continuity mistake: In the white hotel, the first transition shows a middle-aged Dave with graying hair. In the shot over middle-aged Dave's shoulder to show that the pod is gone, he has dark hair again.


Continuity mistake: Frank is running around the centrifuge. He passes the ladder with two bunks to the right and the work station to the left. When Dave comes down the ladder, the bunk is to the left. This error is caused by Frank's last two running shots (the ones where the camera stayed just ahead or just behind him as he ran) having been accidentally reversed in editting. Frank's hair is parted on the wrong side and the sleep tube layout and the body positions within are precise mirror images of the layout seen in all prior and following shots. (00:56:50 - 00:57:55)

Continuity mistake: When Bowman attempts to rescue Poole, he enters "C-pod" which, from HAL's vantage point, is the right-most pod. But when we see a close-up of the pod's door closing, we see it is located on the center pod platform, meaning this is B-pod, not C-pod - yet B-pod is the one Poole was using and it is tumbling away in space at this time. We can also see, just barely, that all three pods are present in this same shot. (01:32:45)


2001: A Space Odyssey mistake picture

Continuity mistake: When Dave begins to disconnect HAL's circuits, one angle shows him unlock the first, second, then third unit. Just as he's about to remove the key from the third lock, the angle changes and he's pulling the key from the second lock and then goes for the third again. We know this is consecutive time as HAL is pleading with Dave the entire time. (01:51:45)


Continuity mistake: When we see the outside of the cave where the apes are sleeping for the first time it's at sunset. We can see the sun and cloud behind the cave as if it is just sitting in a rock face with nothing behind it, but in the next shot when it's daytime suddenly there is a background of rocks and mountains behind the cave.


Continuity mistake: When HAL asks Dave the personal question after inspecting his renderings, the position of the sketch pad changes between shots: right side of body to left side, on his lap, etc. (01:06:15)


2001: A Space Odyssey mistake picture

Continuity mistake: When Frank Poole and Dave Bowman are discussing with HAL the possibility of HAL being in error predicting the AE-35 Unit fault, the 10x3 grid of buttons on the console in front of them is lit differently depending on whether the shot is from behind the men, or in front of them. (01:20:40 - 01:23:00)

Revealing mistake: When we see the space station from the cockpit of the approaching shuttle, the station does not appear to rotate because the shuttle is rotating at the same speed. OK...except that the station IS still rotating with respect to the sun, which means that the light source and shadows on the station should be moving.

More mistakes in 2001: A Space Odyssey

Dave Bowman: Open the pod bay doors, HAL.
HAL: I'm sorry Dave, I'm afraid I can't do that.

More quotes from 2001: A Space Odyssey

Trivia: The little girl on the picture phone is director Stanley Kubrick's daughter Vivian. (00:27:50)

Larry Koehn

More trivia for 2001: A Space Odyssey

Question: What was the ultimate destination of the Jupiter mission? The giant planet is made of gas, it has no solid surface to land on. Theoretically a spacecraft could land on one of Jupiter's moons, but they lie within the lethal radiation belt.

Answer: The ultimate goal was to orbit Jupiter to study the Monolith also in orbit around it.

Grumpy Scot

Answer: The objective of the Discovery (Jupiter) mission was to locate the recipient of the powerful radio signal that was transmitted from the Moon earlier in the movie. Interestingly, the destination of the Discovery mission changed between Jupiter to Saturn and back to Jupiter during the production of the film. The Jupiter visual effects had already been shot ("in the can" as it were) when Stanley Kubrick decided to change to Saturn. It was the protest of the visual effects team, who had already spent much time and money on the Jupiter effects, that convinced Kubrick to stay with Jupiter. In the meantime, author Arthur C. Clarke went ahead and changed the destination to Saturn in his written treatment of the movie.

Charles Austin Miller

More questions & answers from 2001: A Space Odyssey

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.