The first scene in the movie is said to take place in 1969 and has Gary England on the television warning of the tornado. But in 1969 England was actually working for a company called A.H. Glenn and Associates in New Orleans. He did not start working for KWTV until 1972.
(at around 1 min) In the scene set in 1969, the TV displays the words, "tornado warning." The National Weather Service did not begin using that term until 1974. The TV should have said, "tornado alert."
(at around 33 mins) While chasing the first tornado, the team obviously turns onto a dirt road (all the dirt flying up as they turn). When Jo's truck drops in front of Melissa driving the red truck and she swerves out of the way, the tires make squealing noises as if they were on a paved road.
It was in fact a paved road/highway, it is common in flood plains to have gravel and dirt accumulate at intersections as was indicated when they initially turned onto the road.
(at around 4 mins) In the opening scene, when Jo's family is in the cellar, her father tries to hold the door shut, and ends up getting consumed by the tornado. Jo and her mother, despite the door being torn off, remain unaffected by the tornado. Thus it was unnecessary for the father to try to hold the door shut, as he also could have been safe had he simply stayed away from the door.
(at around 38 mins) When Bill says the tornado is about to shift directions to the left, he and Jo are driving side by side with Jonas. Bill hits his brakes and Jonas's team passes him completely. When Bill puts the truck into reverse and starts backing up, Jonas's team passes him again.
(at around 1h 35 mins) As the truck enters the house (which is on its side) the interior shot shows the truck smashing through the front door, driving up a flight of stairs, and then leaving through an upstairs window. In the next shot, the truck is coming out through what appears to be the kitchen area.
(at around 54 mins) In the truck after leaving Aunt Meg's house, Bill says to Jo "Let's wire you up." She is already "wired," with a headset round her neck. Her wiring disappears in the next cut, allowing Bill to replace it.
(at around 1h 35 mins) When the farm machinery is being thrown about and lands in front of Bill, and Jo shouts "We have debris!" the last piece of machinery has an arm that breaks the windshield in front of Jo. In all of the scenes after, the windshield is intact.
At the start of the film Jo's yellow Jeep is a 1981 or later
model. But the Jeep that Bill drives into the ditch and hits the bridge with is a 1980 or earlier model. The earlier Jeeps had a swept forward "visor" above the windshield.
(at around 35 mins) When Jo's truck falls down to the ground after the first tornado, the driver-side window is smashed from the tornado, but in the next shot Jo has to break the same window open to retrieve a towel.
(at around 37 mins) After Jo looks at the Dodge Ram's speedometer, and sighs that Bill is only driving 50MPH, shortly after, shots include Jonas' convoy, without the mobile home that includes the Doppler radar other equipment. In the next shot, Bill is passing the convoy and the first vehicle passed is the mobile home that was not in the previous shot.
(at around 1h 1 min) When Jo and Bill are in the truck on top of the hill, a row boat flies over them, knocking the tailgate of Bill's truck off. When they are driving towards the F-5, the tailgate is back.
(at around 11 mins) When Bill turns to the last page of the divorce papers, a red signature tag can be seen. But when he shows Jo the papers, there are no tags present. When he hands the papers to Jo, there are now two tags on the page.
(at around 1h 5 mins) The drive-in theater plays two scenes from The Shining out of sequence. When we first see the screen it is at the part when Danny sees the girls standing in the hallway. Five minutes later it is near the end when Jack is breaking down the door with an axe. These two scenes occur an hour apart.
(at around 30 mins) When Jo and Bill are arguing before they go off the road, a pair of safety goggles are hanging on a hook behind Bill. He goes off the road, swerves back on the road, and the goggles disappear. Moments later the goggles are back on the hook.
(at around 24 mins) When everyone is leaving the truck stop for the first twister chase, the yellowish-brown bus leaves first. Moments later it's still in its parking spot. Then it follows the rest of the crew out.
(at around 41 mins) During the first twister chase when the camera cuts between inside and outside views of the truck with Billy and Jo, the amount of rain on the windshield goes from lots (view into cab) to virtually none (view out from cab).
(at around 35 mins) While Jo talks to Bill and Melissa over her overturned Jeep, Bill and Melissa are standing at the driver's side rear of Bill's truck. In a successive shot, they suddenly are standing at the middle of the rear of Bill's truck, then back at the driver's side rear again.
(at around 25 mins) When Melissa is getting into the car with the lemonade, she puts it on the top of the car. As she drives off, the cups come tumbling down and nothing spills. One "blows" in the wind. Where is the lemonade?
(at around 1h 26 mins) As Haynes picks up a sensor to work on, her hand is covered with a tan glove. When she pushes past Dusty with her handful of completed sensors, the glove is visible on her left hand, and her right hand is bare. When she dumps the sensors into the bin, both hands are bare.
(at around 1h 35 mins) When Jo and Bill are running from the F-5 past the fence, we see a shot of the boards being sucked up one by one. In a shot a few seconds later, we see a complete fence behind them, which then has its boards sucked up in a similar manner.
(at around 1h 13 mins) As the crew are running into the mechanic's shed at the Drive-in, Jo stops to pull Laurence out of a parked pickup truck and runs with him into the oil-changing pit in the shed, where she sits next to him. After "Preacher" is hit on the forehead by the flying hubcap, Jo rushes to him and presses her hand to his forehead wound to stop the blood flow. As the scene jumps back and forth between shots of Bill, Melissa, and Jo, Jo's position alternates from sitting next to Laurence to holding her hand against "Preacher's" forehead in several shots.
(at around 49 mins) When everyone is at Aunt Meg's house and they're explaining the Fujita scale to Melissa by telling her that a tornado is rated on how much it eats, Melissa repeats "Eats?" and her right hand jumps from under her chin to the table in between shots.
(at around 1h) Before Bill says "ok she's almost ready", you can clearly see through the back window and the windshield is already cracked by the trike. In the next few moments, Bill tells Jo to stop and the trike hits the windshield again and it's cracked again.
(at around 1 min) When the camera pans down to young Jo Harding's house during the monster tornado, the trees and windmill are moving in the wind. But in the next scenes, the windmill is absolutely still even though the trees continue to sway.
(at around 1h 26 mins) Towards the end Preacher is driving with Aunt Meg's dog in the front seat. In the next scene, in a different vehicle, team members are attaching the "wings" to the sensors. Under the board they are working on you can see the same dog.
(at around 56 mins) When heading from Aunt Megs to intercept the next tornado, Bill says that they are on Route 33. Without an apparent change in road, Rabbit says shortly after that they are on Route 7.
(at around 8 mins) When Bill gets out of the truck for the first time, at the beginning of the movie, he doesn't shut the door on the truck. However, a few lines later, when he introduces Melissa to Dusty, the door is shut.
(at around 24 mins) After Melissa asked Bill "Where are we going?", we see her standing 15 to 20 feet away from her vehicle with the car facing the cornfield, in the next shot, we see her standing 3 feet away from her vehicle with the car facing the road.
(at around 36 mins) When the camera shows Bill's truck's speedometer at 50MPH, the air bag light is not on and the truck has about a half tank of fuel. Seconds later when Bill floors it, the air bag light is on and the truck has nearly a full tank of fuel.
(at around 1h 30 mins) Right before the fuel truck fell from the sky and hit Bill's truck, Jo and Bill both have their windows down. When they drive through the explosion and come out the other side, both of the windows are rolled up.
(at around 4 mins) When Jo's dad holds down the storm cellar door, the windows are completely perfect. After he says "I can't hold it any more!" the second time, the window is broken open in the next shot (with no indication of debris flying in).
(at around 1h 13 mins) In the auto shop outside the drive-in movie theatre, the pickup truck is hit by a flying car, and one side of the truck falls into the service pit. In the next scene, the same truck falls into the pit again.
(at around 1h 30 mins) As Bill and Jo are trying to get unstuck from the tree in the Dodge Ram as the Tanker truck is headed towards them (hurled by the tornado), you can see the rear tires on the truck spinning. The first shot of the tires has them being white lettered Good Year Wranglers. The next shot they are blackwalls.
(at around 1h 21 mins) When Meg's house has collapsed, Dusty runs up the roof calling for Meg. He reaches the window and the scene cuts to Jo and Bill helping Meg in the basement. When the scene goes back to the window, Meg is clearly seen standing on the roof outside the window next to Dusty in her nightgown. The scene later shows Dusty and another character helping Meg climb out the same window and onto the roof.
(at around 46 mins) When Jo asks that a space be cleared at the table for Melissa to sit down, Aunt Meg can be seen placing a bowl of gravy in front of Rabbit. But when Jo then slides a steak onto Melissa's plate a few seconds later, Meg is still making her way to the table with the bowl.
(at around 1h 26 mins) After Haynes places sensors in the box, the next shot shows dark and stormy clouds with Bill and Jo nearly a few inches from the F5. In the next scene, they stop to fill up the two Dorothy's on the bridge in bright sunrise. The next scene after that, it appears that Jo and Bill return to the same shot as it was before, a few inches from the F5. A mistake in film making, repeated shots accidentally or just recycled to be used in other scenes.
(at around 59 mins) When they attempt to deploy Dorothy II, Bill spends at least a few minutes in the back of the truck turning on various switches and getting it setup. (at around 1h 35 mins) However, when they are getting Dorothy IV setup, Jo just pops her head through the back of the truck and turns one switch, and the comes back and says it's ready.
(at around 55 mins) As Jo drives Bill's truck out of the corn field and almost hits Jonas' truck, the top half of a crew member's body can be seen, just above the driver's side mirror, across the street poking out of the corn.
Just before a twister strikes the Jo's aunt's farm, the windmill artwork in the yard starts to move. In the upper right corner of the scene, a hand can be seen turning one of the windmills. [widescreen only]
(at around 32 mins) When Jo and Bill are clinging to the bridge after driving her truck through the ditch, the twister "drops" into the ditch and follows it. This does not actually happen. The twister would have "jumped" over the ditch. This is why you are told to find low ground if you are outside when a tornado hits your area.
The last twister in the movie was classified and deemed an F-5, yet when it hits the farm where Jo and Bill are strapped to the pipe, about a third of the barn is still standing and the house can be seen more or less fully intact. F-5 level tornadoes can and will violently hurl entire wood frame structures from their foundations and even heavily damage steel reinforced concrete buildings. Therefore, in actuality, the entire ranch; house, barn, and all, should have been swept down to the ground. Also, survival in an F-5 tornado tied to a pipe is very unlikely as debris, especially flying wood splinters and glass at that speed can shred clothes and skin and cause potentially fatal injury.
(at around 2 mins) In the opening scene, Jo and her family rush outside of the house to get to their cellar. Farmhouses in severe weather prone regions such as Oklahoma, where the film takes place, have been designed since the 19th century with the destructive nature of tornadoes taken into account. Therefore, the family would have been able to enter the cellar from inside the house and not have to be outside when the storm is approaching. Moreover, for the same reason, the cellar doors would have much more durable locks and hinges than those of Jo's cellar door.
The movie often acts as though only the funnel cloud of a tornado is dangerous. In reality, the funnel cloud is just the center of the tornado, around which debris can still dangerously swirl. This error is often indirectly averted, however, as demonstrated by the famous Flying Cow sequence.
(at around 2 mins) At the start of the movie, when the family runs for the storm shelter, they run through a flock of chickens. The scene is set in the middle of the night long after chickens would be "roosting".
(at around 28 mins) While Bill and Jo are arguing in her truck en route to the reported location of a twister, Belzter and Haynes are seen laughing while listening in on them. This would not have been possible unless the mic was keyed the entire time, which would also make Beltzer's call to them that he had spotted the twister impossible to hear.
(at around 1h 40 mins) During the climax Jo and Bill get inside the F5 tornado and there is one smaller funnel circulating inside the debris of the large funnel. A wedge tornado of that size and intensity would most likely be a 'multi-vortex tornado' with 2 or more smaller funnels or vortices spinning inside.
(at around 25 mins) When Dusty is playing Deep Purple's "Child In Time", the video that is playing during that song is of Deep Purple playing at the 1974 California Jam Festival, at which "Child In Time" was not played.
(at around 5 mins) The GOES-8 meteorological satellite shown at the beginning of the film is incorrectly oriented: the onboard sensors should be pointed toward the earth in order for it to function (ie, obtain weather photography), instead, it was shown as facing the audience. In the film, the spacecraft's solar sail boom is shown pointed at the earth, when in fact it should pointed in the general direction of the earth's south pole.
(at around 1h 35 mins) When Bill and Jo jump out of the Dodge, Bill set the cruise control. Most cruise controls will not set unless going 25 to 30 mph. They could not have jumped out at that speed with the corn slamming up against the doors.
(at around 25 mins) The video Dustin Davis is watching during the first tornado chase scene is supposed to be Deep Purple's recording of "Child in Time" from their "Made in Japan" album. In fact, no film or video recording of this concert exists.
(at around 1h 27 mins) As soon as the crew attaches "propellers" to all of the sensors, they pass boxes of winged sensors from person to person, ending at Bill. He dumps the first box of sensors into Dorothy. Quite a few sensors fall out of Dorothy, which is full. Bill then dumps at least two more full boxes of sensors into Dorothy; however, since adding wings to the sensors adds mass to them, it is impossible to put all of the sensors into the compartment (as seen earlier, the compartment was full of wingless sensors) without spillover.
(at around 1h 11 mins) In the drive-in scene, when Jo runs into the garage pit, you can clearly see a police car with its lights on stopping in the driveway, in terms the car would've been in the tornado's path and it would've possibly been destroyed. In reality during a tornado, police would've taken cover at the station and then respond to any injuries/deaths after the storm has passed.
Bill drives the truck through a house that is turned on its side. Once driving it, the truck drives through a staircase. Whether it is going up or down is impossible to determine, since it is already at the wrong angle (up-down instead of side-to-side), given that the house is turned over. On the other end, the truck emerges from the house at ground level, despite the change of elevation on the inside.
In one scene one of the chasers gets out of his vehicle after a tornado dissipated and says, "The cone of silence!". This is not a physical thing one witnesses, but is simply that part of the sky which the radar does not sample since it does not tilt vertically when it scans. That missing area is conical in shape. He misused the term.
(at around 1h 12 mins) When the storm chasers are hiding in the pit from the drive-in tornado, they do not duck down until the windows are broken out and are in fact looking up out of the pit. Any seasoned storm chaser would have known that in that situation they should have immediately hunkered down with their hands over their heads huddle as close as they could to the walls considering a tornado was almost on top of them.
(at around 1h 40 mins) During the entire F5 chase, the sky is really dark and cloudy. But when the tornado disappears and when the crew shows up, the sky is instantly clear blue and sunny. Big storms like this actually take a little while to disappear and clear up.
(at around 1h 11 mins) In the scene where the drive-in is destroyed by a large tornado, when the tornado is first shown it appears to be a half-mile wide wedge tornado (commonly regarded as being a violent tornado). The size of the tornado suddenly shrinks as it begins to destroy the screen that The Shining is playing on to being only roughly the width of the screen itself. When the tornado is shown again, after Jo, Bill and their crew take shelter in the steel garage the size reverts back to being wider than the screen itself. But tornadoes can and do quickly grow or shrink in size.
(at around 1h 14 mins) As the Galaxy Theatre sign is flying through the air, there appears to be a cable attached to the arrow's point, pulling the sign into the garage. However, this is actually one of the rods with neon stars on it that can previously be seen while the sign is standing.
(at around 1h 30 mins) When Jo and Bill are driving out of the explosion from the tanker truck, you can clearly see Jo taking off a fire resistant suit through the front window of the truck. In the next scene she's in the shirt she was wearing before heading through the fire.
(at around 1h 9 mins) When Melissa wanders out of her room just before the drive-in is destroyed, the curtains are flapping violently inside the room, ostensibly due to the wind coming up from the approaching tornado. But the tall juniper tree just outside her door is motionless.
(at around 1h 35 mins) While the truck is being driven through the house, there is a quick shot where a chair is still sitting upright, against the wall, even though the house had just been rolling and ended up on it's side.
(at around 37 mins) When the Dodge Ram pickup's speedometer is shown for the first time after Bill floors the accelerator, the "Air Bag" light is on. This was to facilitate driving the truck through the house later in the movie without the chance of the airbag firing.
As the camera is viewing the damage path of the F5, fragments of the farm and debris at the end, Bill's Truck is simply nowhere to be seen. The tornado sucked up the truck as well, and the truck could have been seen with everything scattered around the farm. The truck is probably still flying through the air.
(at around 31 mins) When Bill and Jo are driving in the ditch they are traveling 75mph. When they crash into the bridge there's no sustained injury, despite a head on collision at freeway speed in a 70's truck with no air bags or crumple zone.
The goof items below may give away important plot points.
(at around 1h 45 mins) In the final scene, the headset is around Jo's neck, then not around her neck, then back on again. When she's wearing the headset, her hair is wet and stuck to her forehead. When she's not wearing the headset, her hair is not as wet.
(at around 1h 40 mins) In the last scene, when Jo and Bill are in the twister, the tornado suddenly disappears and boards from the barn smash down to the ground. In the next scene, Jo and Bill are sitting happily on the ground, completely unharmed, with no sharp equipment in sight.
(at around 1h 35 mins) When Jo and Bill drive through the house and the truck drives up the stairs, the right head light pops out. The head light is still out when they exit through the window. The head light is back in position and is working when Jo and Bill turn into the corn field.
(at around 1h 13 mins) When Preacher's head is sliced by the flying hubcap, a quick closeup of Jo shows that she has a bloody wound on one of her knuckles. When she reaches over to cover Preacher's wound, Jo's wound has disappeared.
(at around 1h 40 mins) At the end, when Bill and Jo are in the "well shed", the shed, including electric pole, gets sucked away yet, there is water shooting from the well. The well would have lost its prime as soon as it lost electricity. It should not have been still working.
(at around 1h 40 mins) At the end, Bill and Jo are exposed to the full force of an F-5 tornado and escape relatively unscathed. In reality, it is highly likely that they would suffer concussions and lacerations from flying debris, eye problems from windborne particles, and having their clothes torn from their bodies by the high wind, if they survived at all.
(at around 1h 35 mins) Cruise control only takes control of the acceleration. As soon as Bill and Jo jump out of the Dodge Ram, the truck is driving perfectly straight at the F5. Cruise control does not take control of the steering too. However since corn is planted in rows with long trenches between the rows the wheels of the pickup could have easily followed the rows in a straight line..
At around 1h34m, just after Jonas is killed, you see a scene of the F5 Tornado approaching a farm vehicle distributor, with a windmill in the lot, but the windmill vane is pointing away from the tornado, which is wrong. Tornadoes are low pressure zones, and therefore wind rushes toward them (As seen from the corn in the fields leaning toward the tornado). The vane on a windmill is always behind the fan blades, to ensure the fan is receiving an unobstructed airflow, and in periods of high winds the vane is feathered (turned so the fan blades face sideways to the wind and therefore don't spin). So even if the windmill isn't feathered, the tail vane should be towards the tornado, until it gets really close, at which time it will move to the right, away from the tornado winds (since it's rotating clockwise) until it's destroyed.