Independence Day

Corrected entry: After Russell Casse has crashed his plane into the alien's laser weapon and destroyed the ship, General William Grey gives the order to inform all countries to aim for the laser weapon to bring down all the alien spacecraft (which works). The problem here is the Americans were simply lucky that the ship had opened up the hatch and were planning to destroy Area 51, which left it vulnerable to being destroyed. All the other countries would have to fly around in circles and wait for the hatch to open which could have taken days, since they couldn't penetrate the outer armour. In short, it's highly unlikely they would have all fallen at once.

Gavin Jackson

Correction: Its highly unlikely, but not impossible. Nobody says they were all taken out at once anyway. It was a globally coordinated attack and most if not all of the ships were attacked at the same time. Though it would probably take some time for them to open up their primary weapon, they could all be destroyed that way since they were still destroying cities.


Not necessarily. They could've still been using the signal to coordinate with the other alien ships like they did when they mounted the first attack.

Corrected entry: In the movie's final showdown, Russell flies his airplane directly in the green light. At this point, the alien ship is located directly over Area 51. So when it's going down, the whole area should be covered under millions of tons of "alien steel," since the spaceship is 13 or 15 miles in diameter. But some shots later you see the spaceship a few miles away in the mountains and a jeep driven by people who should be buried under ground.


Correction: The ship drifted several miles before crashing; they apparently lost control of navigation before losing altitude control.

BocaDavie Premium member

Corrected entry: The aircraft that deploys the nuclear missile at the saucer over Houston is a B-2 Spirit, a slow moving stealth bomber. It would have made more sense for the human command to deploy nuclear munitions using a more maneuverable fighter/bomber that stands a better chance of escaping the blast and any subsequent alien fighters that would be dispatched.


Correction: This supposes too many things, notably that the military was intact and had every aircraft at its disposal. We see the aliens struck the base at El Toro. Since we don't know what other bases, installations and aircraft may have been destroyed after the initial attack, we can't know what aircraft were at their disposal. Not to mention that the humans could have been hoping stealth would be an advantage over maneuverability.

JC Fernandez

Correction: The US Military is down to 7% as reported to Mr. Nimzicki earlier in the film. At that point, you use what's available.

Corrected entry: Even allowing for dramatic license, the scene where Will Smith flies an FA18 down a canyon is absurd. Pulling such maneuvers at that speed would rip the wings off his aircraft and squash him like a pancake against the cockpit wall. He isn't even wearing a g-suit. (01:00:05)

Correction: Simply not true. The F/A18 is easily capable of what we saw in the film. It's virtually impossible for the pilot to "shake the wings off" this aircraft because a) this is a VERY robust airframe, and b) the flight computer will "dampen" pilot inputs that exceed the capabilities of the aircraft. It's actually fairly difficult for a trained pilot to anything fatally stupid, it's a very good avionics package, 2nd only to the F22.

Corrected entry: In the scene near the end of the movie when Russell Cates is flying the jet fighter, he says 'Tell my children I love them very much', then proceeds to fly his jet up into the UFO to blow it up. The problem is, in every scene previous to this when the UFO fired its laser beam, it destroyed everything it hit. Why didn't it destroy the jet when it entered the beam?

Correction: The beam hadn't been fired yet. If you watch closely you'll notice that every time a ship fires that particular weapon there's a sort of "two-phase" beam. The first phase sends down an apparently harmless beam of light, while the second phase seems to charge the beam with whatever destructive energy the aliens utilize. Russell flies into the beam during its first phase. By the time the beam is charged, Russell is inside the craft. When the beam blows up his jet, it causes the chain reaction that destroys the ship.

Phixius Premium member

Corrected entry: When we see the alien spacecraft stop above the Empire State Building, it looks like the very top of the building is not far from the bottom of the ship. How can this be? The WTC buildings were about 1,000 feet high, so to clear those buildings, the bottom of the ship should have been much higher above the ESB. The same thing with the ship over the White House - in order to clear the Washington Monument, it would have had to be higher than it was shown above the White House.

Correction: For one thing, the ships aren't necessarily completely flat on the underbelly; and for another, a race with that kind of technology would have equipped their craft with vertical maneuverability as well as lateral. Simply put: they flew over and/or around the taller structures. Keep in mind that the entire approach is not shown of any one craft.

Phixius Premium member

Correction: The needle of ESB is higher than the roof of WTC. If the ship had hit anything, that would be the antenna at the roof of WTC. Actually, they could have shown the scene of the antenna crashing down from great height and people running away not to be crushed by the antenna.

Corrected entry: How come the aliens keep attacking major cities on July 3rd? After the first attacks people flee the major cities and surely the aliens must have realised that reaction would come. So why blow up abandoned cities?

Correction: They want to destroy the infrastructure, thus making the cities impossible to live in. This action will eventually kill a lot of people (lack of water and food, spreading of diseases breakdown of healthcare and law enforcement etc).


Correction: The aliens don't know if the cities are abandoned or not. They just know that most people live in cities.

Corrected entry: The New York ship comes to a stop just above the tip of the Empire State building. Since the World Trade Center towers were several hundred feet taller, this means the ship should have collided with them and knocked them over, as they're only a few miles away, and the ship is easily larger than that. But after the city destruction, we see the twin towers still intact, if severely damaged.

Correction: The ship is higher than you think. The part that has the primary weapon is lower than the rest of the ship so that's why it appears to be lower, but it hangs higher above the rest of the city, including the twin towers. Besides, the roof of the twin towers are actually lower than the tip of the Empire state building at 417 meters, meaning that only the antenna of the WTC1 would have snapped off if the ship had been hanging that low.


Corrected entry: In both air battles, there are clear shots of F/A -18 Hornet Fighter Jets armed both with AIM-9 Sidewinder Missiles (the small wingtip mounted ones) and with large AIM-54 Phoenix Missiles under the wings. The only fighter in the world that is equipped to fire the AIM-54 is the F-14 Tomcat.

Correction: It is an AGM-84 Harpoon, not an AIM-54 Phoenix. Hornets can be armed with the former.

Corrected entry: Although Goldblum is an off-the-scale genius, no time elapses between his father giving him the virus idea (the dialogue about "catching a cold") and Goldblum, who has been up all night drinking nearly all of a bottle of cheap scotch, announcing the demonstration of the working virus on the captured alien fighter-craft. Genius or no, the virus and communication program to deliver it into the alien system (potentially the hardware could have been developed to connect it up though as that need not depend on the virus idea) could not magically appear in his laptop without the time, however short for a drunken Genius, to develop it on that laptop and get it working. Instead a few minutes development time would be plausible and longer would even have been believable. Even off-screen elapsed time to type the virus into the laptop on the basis of it working first time isn't provided for in the film. (01:36:15)

Simon Clinch

Correction: There is off screen elapsed time for Goldblum to develop the virus. After he wakes up the sleeping guard, we cut to the same room, filled with hordes of people, showing that some time has passed.

Brad Premium member

Corrected entry: There are some serious inaccuracies concerning the presence of the alien craft. The mother ship, with a mass one quarter that of the moon, passes very close to the moon and then settles in orbit around the earth. The gravitational pull from such a large object would cause a substantial disruption of the moon's surface and its orbit, and then of the earth's surface. These effects are not even mentioned. When the mother ship explodes in earth orbit the effect of such a large nuclear explosion so close to the earth would be so destructive that it does not even bear thinking, not to mention the billions of tons of debris it would leave behind, much of which would be pulled down to the earth's surface. Again, nobody seems too worried about this even though such an event would probably destroy all life on earth anyway.

Correction: The key words are that the effects aren't mentioned. They may have discussed them at some point, but they were probably more concerned by the first contact with a massive alien spaceship. As for the debris, I guess they figured that a chance at survival (with killing the aliens) was better than no chance (with the aliens exterminating human life).


Corrected entry: In the opening scene the alien mother ship is seen passing over the moon. Judging by the movement of the shadow it is travelling fairly slowly, of the order of 3000 to 4000 miles per hour. At this speed it would take the best part of 4 days to reach the earth, not a matter of hours.

Correction: We obviously have NO idea how these ships operate, who is to say that they slowed down, then sped back up knowing their mass might affect the Moon?

Kimberly Mason

Corrected entry: When it comes to saluting in the armed forces, the subordinate always puts up his or her salute first and then the superior officer puts up his salute. Only after the superior officer has put his salute down is the subordinate permitted to put down his salute. Never will a superior officer salute somebody of a lesser rank first. This occurs several times in the movie but the most obvious one was in the very last scene after the whole entourage jeeps out into the desert to meet David and Captain Hiller. General Grey (a 4 star general) salutes Captain Hiller (an officer of much less rank) first and then is in turn saluted back by Captain Hiller.


Correction: While true 99% of the time, Hiller and Levinson just literally saved the Earth. Grey salutes Hiller first as a sign of respect and a way of saying "well done and thank you". Wounded soldiers are often saluted by superiors in much the same way for instance.

Grumpy Scot

Corrected entry: Before firing the nuke in the mother-ship Will and Jeff light their cigars, but when they are walking in the desert after returning to earth the cigars look like they only just have been lit, even though over 20 min have past. The control-center hasn't heard for them in 20 min and there wives and the president have to drive all the way out to them to greet them before we see the cigars again.


Correction: Cigars don't have the chemicals that cigarettes have in them to keep them constantly alight. Invariably a cigar will go out and will need to be relit, so its perfectly reasonable that they are the same cigars.


Corrected entry: The humans are out of missiles in the final battle, except for Russell Casse, who flies right up into the alien main weapon, destroying the ship. A number of problems here. First off, a central control center operator reports all the missiles have been fired, indicating they are monitoring all F/A-18s. But somehow Russell's missile escaped their notice. Then no one in the control room seems to know where Russell came from, which they should know since they were monitoring all the F/A-18 pilots. Actually these mistakes stem from the original ending, which involved Russell arriving to the battle in his biplane with a missile strapped to it, ready for a suicide mission, because he was too drunk to be given an F/A-18. He then flew the biplane into the alien ship because he obviously couldn't fire the missile. According to Director's commentary, at the film's test screening the audience response to the biplane suicide ending was poor, indicating to the filmmakers that it was too cheesy. They decided to rewrite the end, so that Russell would make the choice to give up his life at the very last moment. They then filmed Russell in an F/A-18 cockpit, but chose not to film the control center scenes again, meaning they don't fit with what's seen onscreen.

Correction: While the story about the revised ending is true, that does not make it a mistake. We see a shot where Russell's plane is hit by an alien fighter and it fades to white, indicating an explosion. The idea is that Russell's plane was hit but not destoyed causing damage that included his weapons firing system and the equipment transmitting his position to the command centre. They act surprised when he rides in to save the day because they didn't realise he was still alive and more importantly carrying missiles.

Corrected entry: During the nuclear attack on the saucer, the B-2 Spirit bombers are not shown with fighter escorts. Since what they are attacking isn't human, and would most likely detect them regardless of the B-2's stealth ability and send fighters after them, the bombers would be destroyed. Given the nature of the mission and the need for it to succeed, one would think slow moving nuclear bombers warrant escorts. (01:31:30)


Correction: From the aliens' point of view, they are fully aware that their shields can withstand any weaponry and therefore would not be concerned with whatever aircraft is approaching it or whatever weaponry it has on board. Therefore would not need to protect itself from a distant aircraft. From the human point of view, they believe that the aliens would not be aware of the significance of the 'nukes' and believe the 'stealth' features of their bomber would give them protection. Why make their position known with escort fighters?


Also, with the U.S. Military being down to 7% and the ineffectiveness of the fighters previously, it's feasible not to send fighters.

Corrected entry: Why do cars lift off from the ground and fly when hit by the blast wave from the UFO? That power would come from above (or directly horizontal). In order to fly, the force would have to come from below the cars.

Jacob La Cour

Correction: When the blast hits, the shockwave hits the ground and spreads horizontally, thus the cars being lifted off the ground. The shockwave would be like an ocean wave, and while appearing to be horizontal, it actually has a lot of upward currents, which could easily cause a car to flip.

Corrected entry: In the opening scene, the alien craft slowly flies over the Apollo 11 placard on the moon, and there are footprints in the soil. The spacecraft causes vibrations that disturbs the soil around the placard and the footprints. There is no sound in space (or on the moon), and the moon's atmosphere is almost a vacuum, so the soil should not have been disturbed in such an extreme manner. This is deliberately done for the dramatic effect.

Correction: The propulsion field that the ship uses is what's disturbing the soil.

Tailkinker Premium member

Corrected entry: When David is outside of the White House and he calls Conny, she walks over to the window with her phone by her right ear, then she swaps it to her left when she's looking out the window, but in a shot of her looking out the window, it is back by her right ear. (00:40:40)


Correction: No, it is not. After David calls Connie and she switches the phone to her left hand, before she pulls the curtain back, in the next interior shot, facing David and Julius outside, it is Connie's right hand that we see holding the curtain. Then it cuts to a close-up of Connie, who is STILL holding the phone in her left hand, just before her arm drops down as her mouth drops open in shock.

Super Grover Premium member

Corrected entry: In the White House they mention "an AWAC. The aircraft [E-3 Sentry] is known as an AWACS [Airborne Warning and Control System], it is not plural so you don't drop the S. (00:16:45)

Correction: Minor character mistake...even assuming a character KNOWS that "AWAC" is wrong, it's easy to understand due to the circumstances. Not a movie mistake.

Independence Day mistake picture

Visible crew/equipment: 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.)

Super Grover Premium member

More mistakes in Independence Day

Captain Steven Hiller: Y'know, this was supposed to be my weekend off, but got me out here draggin' your heavy ass through the burnin' desert with your dreadlocks stickin' out the back of my parachute. You've gotta come down here with an attitude, actin' all big and bad...and what the hell is that smell?! I could've been at a barbecue!

More quotes from Independence Day

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 we celebrate our Independence Day!"

Super Grover Premium member

More trivia for Independence Day

Question: It's been shown in the film the the aliens are technologically more advanced than us. Then, how come, with all their technology, they were unable to defend themselves from something as simple as a computer virus?


Answer: Remember that the aliens had to interface with our satellite computer code first...David simply "reverse engineered" the code to create the virus. When it was uploaded, they didn't have enough time to combat it.

Chosen answer: Its supposed to be an exercise in demonstrating how the aliens underestimated their opponent, but in reality it's merely a convenient plot device.


Answer: It was also a bit of a tribute to "War of the Worlds", in which the alien invaders with much more advanced technology ultimately succumbed to ordinary terrestrial pathogens in the original novel by H. G. Wells as well as its many screen adaptations.


Answer: I was wondering the same thing. Since the Harvesters had our satellites meant they could eavesdrop on every single conversation. David and other people in the facility probably put up a firewall on the computers and cameras, so that the aliens couldn't see or hear what they were planning on doing.

Answer: Maybe there were no viruses in the planet where these aliens came from so they didn't have any countermeasures against them.

Answer: They could defend against it, hence why they bring the nuke. The virus drops the shields, and the nuke destroys The Mother Ship. David even says that the shields will be down for a few minutes.

More questions & answers from Independence Day

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.