White House Down (2013) Poster


Jump to: Character error (3) | Continuity (1) | Errors in geography (1) | Factual errors (14) | Revealing mistakes (1) | Spoilers (8)

Character error 

Emily asks the President about 22 Arab nations in the region especially the conflict in Pakistan. Pakistan is not Arab even if it is Muslim, and neither is Iran, the distant target of most actions in the film.
Emily states that the Presidential car is a modified Cadillac CTS. In reality, it is not based on any specific vehicle, but is custom-built upon a medium-duty GMC TopKick truck platform. Other than its appearance, it has little in common with the CTS.
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While in the basement oval room, where Cale and Sawyer appear to start parting ways, Cale asks Sawyer to make a promise. The caption has Sawyer saying "You got my word. Thanks, John" but he actually verbally says "You got my word. Thanks, Jeff".
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Throughout the first scenes in the movie before the action begins, Cale is shown wearing a suit and tie. However, in each scene, the tightness of the tie around his neck varies. Significantly noticeable prior to entering the interview room (loose and lowered from the neck), during the interview (tight to his neck), and the immediate scene leaving the interview room when his daughter asks if he got the job (loose).

Errors in geography 

When the Blackhawks carrying the Special Forces sweep into the city, they are approaching the White House from the North-West. At one point they are shown flying under the Chinatown gate which is located almost due East of the White House.

Factual errors 

In the film, the president opened the passenger side window in his presidential limousine as to launch the missile launcher. In reality, the driver's window is only one that can be opened partially. None of the windows in the passenger compartment can be opened for security and protection reasons.
When Marine One does "the thing" at the beginning of the film, and does a fly-by of the Lincoln Memorial, a profile of Abraham Lincoln's statue is shown with the helicopters flying past in the background. This is impossible as that wall is solid, and bears the Gettysburg address.
When Cale sets fire to the White House, sprinklers are shown going off all over the house. This is a common movie mistake. Only sprinklers in the same room as the fire activate.
The USS Albuquerque is a real submarine, but does not carry nuclear ballistic missiles as shown.
It is very difficult, perhaps impossible, to knock out an M1A2 Abrams tank with an RPG-7 from the front as in the film. The front armor of an Abrams is extremely thick and lined with several materials to prevent such a penetration.

Although RPGs have been known to damage Abrams tanks, these are impacts on weak points of the tank, and would not have caused the tank to explode as the film depicts.
The name of Iranian president in the movie is AlSharif which is an Arabic name and not a Persian one. It's not even one of those Arabic family names that are common in Iran.
In order to put the plane at "30,000 feet in 45 seconds" as the pilot tells the Vice President he was going to do with Air Force Two, the plane would have to fly vertical at about 385 MPH.
The terrorists occupying the White House use what are supposed to be FGM-148 Javelin missiles to shoot down the incoming Blackhawk helicopters. In real life, the Javelin missile system is designed as a Ground-to-Ground Anti-Tank weapon only and can not target aircraft let alone destroy them. It would be like using a plane as a submarine.
The issued sidearm of all United States Secret Service agents is the SIG Sauer P229 chambered in .357SIG. Special Agent Martin Walker uses a Beretta 92FS 9mm pistol which is incorrect.
Claim that President Lincoln supported female suffrage. This is false.
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When the president exits Marine One on the White House lawn, the rotors are turning and the engine is clearly running. The president and his entourage are never permitted to approach or exit the helicopter while the rotors are in motion.
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The Black Hawk helicopters transporting Special Forces operators to the White House are MH-60 Direct Action Penetrator variants flown by the 160th Special Operations Aviation Regiment. However, these helicopters are equipped to be gunships, and would not be carrying troops into action.

The Black Hawks in the film also have AIM-9 Sidewinder missiles fitted to them; these would not be seen on these helicopters in real life, and the helicopters also appear to have an Air Force Strategic Air Command emblem at the front, and a white star at the rear of the fuselage. These are incorrect, and in the case of the star, fictional markings that would not be seen on 160th SOAR helicopters.
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Air Force One is shown being escorted by two F/A-18s. F/A-18s are used by both the United States Navy and Marine Corps. As Air Force One is a USAF aircraft that took off from a USAF base, it would most certainly be escorted by USAF fighters, such as the F-15 or F-22.
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At no point do the terrorists check all the hostages for cell phones.
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Revealing mistakes 

When Blackhawk helicopters are flying in through the city, there are numerous scenes where the helicopters are too small, relative to what they fly over and under, especially when they fly under the Chinatown arch. The size they are shown, would mean they were flown by two foot tall people.


The goof items below may give away important plot points.


The references to Emily's date of birth and the White House being 222 years old near the beginning of the film clearly place the action in 2014. But later on, Albert Hammond is sworn in as the 47th president of the United States. Assuming that Barack Obama (the 44th president) completes his second term on 20 January 2017, and that the next president serves at least one full term, this would mean that president Sawyer could not have been elected any earlier than 2020.


At the end of the movie, just after President Sawyer boards Marine One (the Presidents helicopter), there are many errors with the position of actors and extras completely changing between shots. The most glaring is that of the tour guide who starts off a good few meters behind Emily and her mother and then suddenly appears right next to them. While the tour guide is standing next to Emily and her mother he is constantly being bumped into by a police officer who, along with two soldiers are holding back a crowd. In the following wide shot the tour guide is once again standing further back, the police officer, the two soldiers and the crowd disappear, and are replaced by two S.W.A.T. officers. In the next close up shot of Emily's mother the tour guide is back standing closer to Emily's mother again and the police officer, and crowd, re-appear.
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Factual errors 

Air Force Two is shot down by a silo-launched missile. This kind of missile is unable to do so because all of its class are Intercontinental-Ballistic, designed to deliver warheads to surface targets, never air ones. One of the main reasons is that they lack the guidance systems needed to pursue and impact air targets as seen on film.
The airplane carrying the vice president is repeatedly referred to as Air Force One, both verbally and on displays. The airplane carrying the vice president would be referred to as Air Force Two prior to Vice President Hammond's swearing in as president.
Just before the Vice President's plane is hit by a missile, an Air Force controller at NORAD says, "Target is an aircraft somewhere over Ohio... appears to be a modified 747...". NORAD tracks all aircraft in US airspace by the on-board transponder and would know the targeted aircraft was a VC-25A, the military classification for the aircraft used primarily for the president. They wouldn't call it a 747.
The President can only give the order to fire missiles, and cannot control missiles on a submarine remotely.

Plot holes 

At the climax of the movie Walker uses Sawyer's palm print to access 'Football.' At that stage, Sawyer's palm print has been superseded by both Hammond's and Raphelson's palm prints and would be useless.
Vice President Hammond is sworn in as President without a thorough investigation to confirm that President Sawyer is dead. This kind of sloppy jump to conclusions, on level this high, violates common sense.

See also

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

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