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WarGames (1983) Poster

(1983)

Goofs

Audio/visual unsynchronised 

When David is playing Galaga he is firing with his right hand. He stops firing to look at his watch with his right hand, but the sound effects being played are still the firing noises.
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When David and Jennifer are coming up to David's house for the first time, there is a shot of David's dog, Beau, barking. However, he is just running and his mouth isn't moving.
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When playing Galaga the second time (when Jennifer asks David to change her grade) the audio of a Galaga sending down its tractor beam is heard, but that is not happening on the screen.
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When Jennifer tells David to "Hop on" the moped her lips do not move.
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When the Horizon Air aircraft is landing, its clearly a turboprop aircraft. When the engines are reversing as it lands, the engines are of a jet engine.
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When WOPR reports a Soviet launch detection, Beringer asks McKittrick if this is another simulation. While McKittrick's response is heard, his lips do not move.
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When David begins to play Globalthermonuclear War, you hear the computer voice say the words as they appear on the computer screen, however, when it asks him to list primary targets, the screen also says "by city and/or county" yet the voice cuts out without saying that.
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Character error 

When David is being held in the examination room, the guard, a Staff Sergeant, continually tries to flirt with the nurse. The nurse is a Second Lieutenant. Relationships are not permitted between officers and enlisted members. Nor would a Staff Sergeant try, to pick-up, make sexual innuendo, flirt or engage in that kind of conversation with a Lieutenant. Career-ender. Works the other way as well.
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When David requests the number for Protovision from the operator, he's given a number with a 555 prefix. He also requests other prefixes for the area and is given four more, but when he sets up his autodialer, he only uses the four additional prefixes and neglects to include the 555 prefix in his scans.
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When David is asking about the list of games that he printed out earlier, he asks Jim why the list has games such as checkers and backgammon. However when David was printing the list of games, backgammon was not one of the listed games.
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In the list of Global Thermonuclear War scenarios, the names of some countries are misspelled: Angentina for Argentina, Isreal for Israel, and Palistinian for Palestinian, and Maylasian for Malaysian.
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Near the end of the film, the female corpsman says, "General, DBS is tracking 300 inbound Soviet ICBMs"; that should be DSP, not DBS.
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Continuity 

When David is communicating with WOPR, the words appear on the screen before he types them.
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David's Galaga high score changed when the game was "over".
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When Joshua begins running through the war scenarios, the first one shown was "U. S. First Strike" and "U.S.S.R. First Strike" was next. On the screen showing the scenarios it had run, "U.S.S.R. First Strike" was listed first and "U.S. First Strike" came second.
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As Joshua asks David to choose a country to play, you see a two (representing the Soviet Union) already typed in. When they do a close up of the screen, David is typing in the two that was already there.
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The code to launch the missiles is "CPE1704TKS" when displayed on the big screen and on most of the launch consoles, but it is shown as "JPE1704TKS" on one console shown in closeup in the sequence where the WOPR is attempting to determine the launch codes itself.
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When David and Jennifer are on the island trying to find a boat to leave the island, Dr. Falken comes in a helicopter. When they show the ground shots, it is pitch black out, but when they show the helicopter, the sun is either setting or rising in the distance.
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When David is playing Galaga as Jennifer is talking to him, he has three "lives" left. However, after his double ship is killed, the game over screen appears. He should have had one more life.
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Before David switches the Galaga game over to Howie in the beginning of the movie, there is an obvious jump in their positions.
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When Mr. Lightman opens the front door to let Jennifer in, he has a pipe in his mouth. But in the very next shot when they're both inside, Mr. Lightman is holding the pipe in his left hand.
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Throughout the Infirmary scenes, the guard's gloves disappear and reappear on his hands, most notably when David asks to use the restroom.
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In the first dialog between David and Joshua - when David is typing the line "People sometimes make mistakes." - we see the last word typed correctly. Later we see the whole screen with that same word typed "mistak".
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When David and Jennifer are running to catch the ferry, they are shown running down the boat launch ramp, rather than the ferry dock. In the next scene, they're on the ferry dock and jumping on board.
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When David and Jennifer are on the ferry, the sky changes from a late afternoon blue sky, to sunset, then back to blue sky after they get off the ferry.
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After the Soviet ICBM salvo is underway, a Soviet sub-launch detection is reported. The camera shows the screen, on which 14 subs (7 in the Pacific, 7 in the Atlantic) had launched their SLBMs simultaneously. In the scene before the impact of the Soviet warheads, however, the screen shows only 7 SLBM launches (5 in the Pacific, 2 in the Atlantic), and based on their distances from the target, they were launched at different times.
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A completely different computer monitor model is used in the shot immediately following David's line "Protovision, I have you now!".
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When David tries some of the numbers his autodialer has found, there are numbers with the 936 prefix listed. His autodialer hadn't dialed any 936-prefix numbers yet as it hadn't even finished dialing all the numbers in the 767 prefix.
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At the beginning of the movie when the computer is counting down at the silo the computer says the countdown sequence off beat several times, especially in the last 10 seconds.
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In the second scene, as the teacher is reviewing the test answers, he reads question number two and question number four. Question number two had just been answered but not confirmed, while Question number three had been omitted or glanced over entirely without any explanation.
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Jennifer is already in the classroom before David arrives without her test while the rest of the class already has their test in front of them. This was obviously done deliberately by the director to show the audience she received an F.
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Near the beginning when McKittrick is discussing replacing the men in the silos with the WOPR, his hair changes several times from being nice and neat to mussed and disheveled.
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When McKittrick is talking to his secretary in the hallway before the goes to a meeting, he takes out his gum and puts it in her right hand. Then after the edit she puts the gum in her own mouth, but from her left hand.
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When David first places the phone receiver on the modem he puts it on with the cord to the front; all other times he puts it on with the cord to the back. At all times he activates it by the button on the front.
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Crew or equipment visible 

As the camera passes around the WOPR computer, it stops at a point where you can see a crewman in a red shirt trying to hide out of sight of the camera behind the computer.
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Errors in geography 

The scene in which one of the radar analysts is asked to report activity showing Soviet submarine deployment, he says, "22 Typhoon-class submarines departing Petropavlovsk, turning south bound at Nordkapp." However, the screen displays submarines around a map of the Kola Peninsula in European Russia. Petropavlovsk is located on the Kamchatka Peninsula in Asian Russia. The location shown on the map is accurate, however, as all of the Typhoons were based at Nerpichya Base which is located on the Kola Peninsula.
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Juse before the junior crewman "enables" the missiles a list of geographic coordinates (target locations?) appears on the video feed of the missile in the silo. The coordinates are all for locations in the Pacific Ocean. Since targeting data is preselected, this couldn't be the location of Soviet submarines.
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Factual errors 

NORAD is a joint United States/Canada operation, but no Canadian soldiers are ever seen in the command center in the film.
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In the beginning of the movie when the missile silo crew arrive at the Security Police post to sign in, there is a USAF Security Police Chief Master Sgt that is behind the desk and has them sign in on the roster sheet on the clipboard. A Chief Master Sgt is the highest enlisted rank in the USAF (8 stripes)and not only would a person of this rank not lower himself to perform a task as petty as to sign in personnel onto their post (a function normally handled by an Airman 1st Class, a 2 striper), but he would not even be at the silo, to begin with. The highest ranking supervisor to be there would be a Staff Sgt (4 stripes)
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When WOPR is searching for the launch code, it is shown to be able to lock onto each digit individually. In which case, it would only take 360 tries (one for each letter and digit), to definitely find the entire code.
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They Call the "43rd" Bomb Wing at Loring AFB near the end of the movie, But the 42 Bomb Wing was stationed at Loring. The 43rd was stationed in Guam.
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After David is arrested, the next scene is at NORAD where a tour group is being escorted. The escort asks a woman with a camera around her neck to sit in the command chair. A visitor would not be allowed to bring a camera into NORAD.
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After David hangs up the modem, disconnecting from the WOPR, his screen is shown with the game countdown continuing. Actually, in the 80's when a remote terminal was being used to connect to another computer, screen updates such as this halted when the call was disconnected, the countdown would have "frozen" on David's screen (continuing only on the WOPR).
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When General Beringer asks for two F-16s to be scrambled out of Galena to visually identify the two presumed Soviet backfire bombers the planes actually scrambled are F-15s, not F-16s.
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When receiving and sending text from his home computer, the modem RD and SD lights do not flash. On a 300-1200 baud modem, the flashes would be very visible.
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When it is stated that "22 Typhoon class" submarines are departing. Only 6 Soviet Nuclear Ballistic Missile Submarines of this class were made. ("Typhoon class" were officially called "Project 941) were ever built. In 1983, the number would've been even fewer, as these six were built over an 8 years period (1981 - 1989). All of the Typhoon Class were based at Zapadnaya Litsa (Nerpichya Base) about 45 miles from the Norwegian border.
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When the first phantom bomber incursion occurs, General Beringer orders an intercept with "F-16's from Galena". USAF did not operate F-16s from Alaska during the period in question. The 21st Tactical Fighter Wing only operated F-15As. The following scene correctly shows F-15As scrambling.
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Incorrectly regarded as goofs 

Despite the DVD commentary and popular belief, Defense Conditions (DEFCONs) actually do go from 5 to 1 as the situation worsens. DEFCON 1 represents imminent or ongoing attack on the US by a foreign power, while DEFCON 5 represents normal peacetime operations.
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In the 1980s it was not permitted for any Department of Defense computer with classified information on it to be connected to external communication equipment. It would therefore be impossible to dial in as shown. However, during a scene, the military technician exclaims that the phone company "screwed them", implying an external contractor allowed the connection against request and policy.
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As the WOPR is obtaining the launch codes, the missiles are shown to have the engines spinning up with the sound of a turbine engine. In the case of a Titan missile, this could be correct, because a Titan has two fuel components: Hydrazine and Nitrogen Tetroxide, which are pumped together by a turbine pump that is in fact powered by small amounts of these propellants. When the turbo-pump is on, it forces large amounts of the fuels together which spontaneously burn. When the pump stops, so does the engine.
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When the relief crew arrives at the silo it appears they are in a snowstorm, as they are wearing heavy winter parkas. In the opening NORAD scene the guards are all in shirts - no jackets. This is unsurprising; US missiles are in many states, including North Dakota, where the winter scene likely took place.
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Plot holes 

When David was asked why he had called back, he states that Joshua called him. They should be able to see via the trace that the call had indeed originated from Joshua.
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When David makes the reservation for Paris, he does so using Jennifer's name. Later, McKittrick asks who he is going to Paris with, but if he had found the reservation, he would have already known about Jennifer as well.
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Revealing mistakes 

When David is typing in the passwords and fails, the log on screen spells out "Indentification failed" not Identification.
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When an Air Force woman is walking around Joshua and is apparently working on checklist, there is no paper on the clipboard as you can see the reflection from the clipboard.
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Spoilers 

The goof items below may give away important plot points.

Continuity 

When Joshua begins searching for the launch codes on the big screen at NORAD, Falken approaches the screen alone and sees the countdown has already started. But, when David and Jennifer join up with Falken at the screen, the countdown numbers are not reflected on the three of them. Halfway through the scene, the numbers on the giant screen reflect on them showing that the countdown started twice.
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Continuity 

When Professor Falken is flying the remote controlled pterodactyl, he lands it is some relatively tall (about knee high) grass. When he walks over to retrieve it, the grass the pterodactyl is sitting on is very thin and low-cut.
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Continuity 

At the end of the movie, the camera angle shows Falken's face as you hear him type two words: "Hello Joshua." But when we see the giant screen above the floor at NORAD, only the word "Hello" appears.
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Continuity 

Just after Lightman initiated the tic-tac-toe game with zero players (computer versus computer), the main WOPR computer technician Richter is seen at the WOPR-computer checking out the readout. A second later he is heard in the war-room, next to Lightman, saying: "It must be caught in a loop. Its drawing more and more power from the rest of the system". Yet Richter was present in the war-room just a fraction of a second before the scene switched to WOPR and his appearance there.
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Factual errors 

During the final sequence when Joshua/WOPR is trying the figure out the launch code, the sequence is shown in real time. When the statement is made "1 minute to impact", it is approximately 1 minute and 40 seconds later when impact finally occurs.
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Incorrectly regarded as goofs 

When David is being arrested by the FBI, he is brought to NORAD. While NORAD is a military installation and not affiliated with the FBI, given that he is immediately brought to McKittrick and the others, clearly McKittrick asked to meet in person the teenager who'd hacked into NORAD.
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Revealing mistakes 

When the facility is being locked down and the door closes after David, Jennifer, and Falken rushed inside, the next segment shows the locking bolts being engaged their sockets, locking the door. There are four distinct sets of bolts shown (moving up, down, left, and right), presumably securing all four sides of the door. Four distinct 'clangs' are heard as the bolts bottom out in their sockets. However in the wide shots, the door only has two independent sets of bolts - one on the left and one on the right, none on the top or bottom.
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See also

Trivia | Crazy Credits | Quotes | Alternate Versions | Connections | Soundtracks

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