Common movie and TV mistakes - page 2

This is a list of mistakes, things done wrong, etc. that happen so frequently onscreen we barely notice any more. 'Movie logic', stupid behaviours, and everything related.

Other mistake: There is always a parking space available right in front of the building where the hero/cops/protagonist needs to go.

wizard_of_gore Premium member

Deliberate mistake: Characters in super hero movies commonly wearing only a small mask over their eyes which somehow keeps people from identifying them. Despite the fact that most of their facial features and hair styles are visible and recognizable. Great examples being Robin, Green Lantern, The Lone Ranger, and The Incredibles. And of course Superman just takes off his glasses.

Quantom X Premium member

Factual error: Babies being born and looking a) much older than newborns, b) not covered in blood and gunk, and c) perfectly normal skin colour. Often no mention of cutting a cord or delivering the placenta either.

Deliberate mistake: You don't automatically get "one phone call" when you're arrested in the USA. Depends on the state, for a start. You're always entitled to access to a lawyer regardless, but not always making the call yourself. If you make a call with no-one answering, you've not "wasted" your call either. Plenty of states allow multiple calls, within reason. It's a plot device, not based in reality.

Jon Sandys Premium member

Revealing mistake: People playing video games in a movie or TV show will often mash the button in a way that doesn't match what is going on in the game.

Character mistake: The victim will wait for the antagonist to finish a speech or villain song, rather than attempt to kill them while their guard is down. It's only the hero unexpectantly bursting in that won't wait for them to be done.

Factual error: People using computers and having what's shown on the monitor's screen projecting clear sharp mirrored images onto their faces. That's not how monitors work. For example in Jurassic Park, when the raptor breaks into the control room and is hopping around the computer workstations, sharp, distinct "GTAC" genetic coding is shown projected from a computer screen across the raptor's face. Another example is seen in the 1995 film Hackers, when sharp, distinct text and even graphics are shown projected from an early laptop onto the faces of Angelina Jolie and Jonny Lee Miller.

Other mistake: The hero can usually knock out henchmen with one or two punches, but the main villain (as well as the hero themselves) can take much more punishment. This is practically akin to enemies in video games. In fact, heroes are so confident of their abilities that they can knock an opponent down and know that they are down for the count without even having to verify.

Phaneron Premium member

Upvote valid corrections to help move entries into the corrections section.

Suggested correction: How is this a mistake? Of course the main villain, the boss, is hardest to knock out. If his henchmen were just as strong or stronger, why are they just henchmen? See it like a race, the champion is hardest to beat, that's why he is champion.


He doesn't mean that it's in video games, he's meaning that this makes movies and shows like video games using that.

Quantom X Premium member

Just to give an example, at the beginning of the movie "Goldeneye," James Bond knocks out a henchman sitting on a toilet with one punch. But at the end of the movie, Bond and Trevelyan are beating the crap out of each other and neither is knocked unconscious. It's certainly reasonable for someone to be a more formidable fighter than their underlings, but it wouldn't make them magically impervious to blows to the head.

Phaneron Premium member

The mistake is that the hero of the movie very rarely checks to see if a disabled opponent got back up. They are supremely confident that they are out, even if the hero literally just rolled them on to the floor. Makes for good movie magic, but is totally unrealistic.


This mistake has four aspects. (1) The hero knocks someone unconscious for good with just one hit. (2) The hero does this to several enemies in succession, with the same results. (3) The hero shows no signs of fatigue. (4) The hero takes on the tougher villains and takes them down too. Doing all of these requires immense superhuman strength. In films about superhumans, this is not a mistake. But there are films that deliver this and are cheeky enough to give the appearance of there being a modicum of reality in it.


It's not necessarily a measure of strength, technique has got a lot to do with it. When one goes for the throat for example or the jaw a knockout is almost always certain, if you know what you are doing. You have to if you got no time to hit someone twice because the next opponent is not waiting.


You are right. But we don't see proper technique either. I really have issues with people getting unconscious for good from a punch between their eyes, especially when John Reese does it.


I agree with you that some movies take it too easy. But is it really common? The first knock out of Goldeneye example isn't all that unlikely, he may even have hit that guy twice, but a blow to the head, a surprise blow to the head can definitely knock someone out, happens in boxing all the time. Even between the eyes, as long as the head is knocked around.


Other mistake: People who've been stranded on a desert island/in space/in prison for ages and yet still have fashionable stubble and decently-manicured nails.

Other mistake: When women go to bed they never take off their make-up. Conversely, when they wake up in the morning, their make-up looks like it was just applied, and there are never any smears on pillow cases.

Mike Lynch

Factual error: In many action movies someone will instantly kill a man by approaching them from behind, grabbing their cheek, and twisting their head to the side, breaking their neck. The move is even frequently used one-handed. The torque required to actually break a neck this way is enormous and would require much more leverage than simply standing behind someone and twisting their head. Neck cranks are certainly real but they are done in a more traditional "head-lock" style on a grounded opponent. Also, a broken neck is not always fatal, let alone instantly fatal. A broken neck is not even an assured knock-out, so it is absurd to use this move as an effective "stealth kill" in spy movies.


Other mistake: Characters swapping clothes with others suddenly (strangers, police officers, females, etc) always get their size and the clothes fit perfectly.

Factual error: IP addresses are 4 groups of up to 3 numbers each, maxing out at 255 - it's a fundamental limitation of the technology. But IP addresses in movies are often shown as something like 564.100.432.165, which is impossible. This isn't like movie phone numbers all starting with 555, because that's still a feasible phone number, just with a "movie" area code.

Jon Sandys Premium member

Audio problem: Characters holding conversations on board aircraft where they wouldn't normally be audible such as military helicopters or cargo planes. In real life those are loud places where people wear hearing protection and communicate with radios or built in comms. (Not a mistake for luxury helicopters or airliner size cargo planes with sound proofing).

Character mistake: In many space-based action sequences, all the craft involved act like space isn't 3D. Ships fly at each other head on, surround other vessels in a circle, not a sphere, attack with a pincer movement from the left and right, rather than above/below, etc. Most of the time the action is all broadly on one plane. Makes things easier to understand from an audience perspective, makes zero sense tactically speaking.

Jon Sandys Premium member

Factual error: Characters gain access to secure facilities using a single thing: a stolen ID card, fingerprint on sticky tape etc, but with no second factor to verify identity like a PIN code. This might be appropriate for something low key like the back room of a store but in thrilling shows the characters are usually trying to get into places like the CIA or high tech laboratories. In real life, higher level security access controls include at least two factors to reduce the risk of unauthorized entry. This is often a deliberate mistake by movie makers as it would slow the story down to describe multiple security measures and show how the characters gain everything needed for access. Exceptions are movies like Mission Impossible or Sneakers where this sort of complexity is part of the plot.

Factual error: People taking cover behind very small / flimsy things, like car doors or wardrobes, dozens of bullets being fired at them, but they emerge unscathed.

Jon Sandys Premium member

Other mistake: Drivers are able to look directly at front or back seat passengers for relatively long periods of time (i.e, take their eyes off the road) but don't crash or veer off the road.


Deliberate mistake: Characters who are being confined in an area (typically inside cages, prisons cells, et cetera) that provides enough space for the character to escape, but they still consider themselves stuck (e.g. the iron bars of a cage/prison cell having enough distance between each other to allow the character to squeeze through between them). This is more common in cartoons and animated films.


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