Blue Thunder is a specially modified helicopter. It is for police work, but is armed and designed to counter street insurgencies. It's makers want to show what it will do, but have to train a Los Angeles Police pilot Frank Murphy, to fly and use it in order to allow it to operate in the city. Murphy and the project pilot have differences going back to Vietnam. The conflict between them continues to heat up as Murphy begins to suspect that Blue Thunder is more than has been disclosed. Written by John Vogel <>

Errors and ExplanationsEdit

Internet Movie DatabaseEdit


Character errorEdit

  • Cochran claims it is impossible to loop a helicopter, yet such maneuvers have been performed since the 1960s, even by larger models such as the CH-53A, something a pilot as experienced as Cochran should know. He's probably trying to make Murphy look foolish in front of Lymangood.

Movie MistakesEdit


Factual errorEdit

  • Cochrane chases Murphy in a Hughes 500 which has a top speed of 147 mph and easily keeps up with him, demonstrating that Blue Thunder's top speed is less than 150 mph. The F-16s sent after Blue Thunder have a stall speed of 175 mph. They would have to slow down to the point of falling out of the sky to have a shot at Murphy. Its utterly impractical and far more likely that the military would have sent AH-1 Cobra attack helicopters after him. Submitted by Grumpy Scot Helicopters were not routinely fitted with heat-seeking missiles at this point in history.


  • When Frank Murphy, his girlfriend, and her son are in the car, the boy asks to borrow Frank's wristwatch, and Frank gives it to him. Moments later, Frank is still wearing the watch. Submitted by Allister Cooper, Actually, the boy asks to look at the watch, and probably handed it back soon afterward.


  • When the SWAT officers are piling out of the van to get into the helicopters to chase Blue Thunder, the lead SWAT officers hair is too long at the back. Allowances are made for plain clothes officers, but not for uniformed officers. In most police agencies SWAT is an on-call unit comprised of officers from throughout the department who have received special training and work their regular jobs (road patrol, detective bureau, etc) until there is a SWAT call-out. In other words, you don't have a group of officers whose only job is SWAT; they would be sitting around - possibly for days - waiting for a SWAT call. The officers of the SWAT unit can be from any section, including vice and other undercover units that are allowed to wear long hair, beards, or whatever else is needed to function undercover. Very possible for the long-haired officer to be from a vice unit. Corrected by BocaDavie
  • When Roy Scheider's partner is run over and killed, we later see him being zipped up in the body bag. If you look closely, you can see him slowly lower his own head to the ground after being zipped. Hardly the actions of a dead man. The man in a dark suit uses his right hand to lift Lymangood's head, then slips the back of his left hand under and slowly lowers it into the bag, and then pulls his hand out. No error. Corrected by John W Rosa
  • Before Limangood is run over, the car chasing him runs into a parked car. The passenger headlights have stopped working due to the crash, but in the next shot, they are working again, and in later shots they go out or only one of the twin headlights work. When headlights are bashed as in an accident like that, they don't necessarily get completely broken. Often, a wire can be pinched running to the lights, which will cause them to behave exactly as they do in the movie, going off and on depending if the wires are shorting, or making a connection.
  • This is similar to the error in 'Back To the Future III' - Murphy lands the helicopter on a railway line so an oncoming train will destroy it completely, and this happens exactly on cue with huge, dramatic explosions and flying debris. Apparently the train driver doesn't think this is important enough to interrupt his busy schedule - he doesn't stop the train. There's no evidence the driver of the train didn't try to stop. Trains take several hundred yards, even up to a mile and a half, to stop. It all depends on the weight and how many cars the train is hauling. The train in question, traveling at the speed it was moving, would never have stopped before it hit Blue Thunder, even with the Emergency Air Brakes applied. Corrected by dablues7
  • When Roy's Partner is chased (with his hands tied behind his back) by the car of bad guys, he chooses to run down a dark lonely alley. He could have easily slipped into one of the open stores along the street, and thus avoid being killed. Fatal character mistake, not a movie mistake. People do not behave rationally during a crisis.
  • When Alf Hewitt first introduces himself to Candy Clark at the TV station, look at the first shot where him, Clark and the evil government agent are standing together. You can see the front of a camera lens at the far right. Arguable. Since they are in a TV station it could be one of their cameras and not one used for making the movie. Corrected by Mister Ed
  • At the end when Blue thunder is being destroyed, the distance that Murphy is from the helicopter is totally ludicrous. Even an Olympic sprinter would be hard pressed to get that far in such short time. And Murphy didn't look like he made any effort to run at all. It is not a continuous sequence. We don't see him get out of the helicopter, just walking away from it, and we have no idea how long it was between his exit and the first time we see him walking. Films don't show every second in real time - we'd have some long, boring films if they did.
  • Apart from the impressive pyrotechnics, what is the point of destroying the Blue Thunder helicopter? By far the most expensive, time consuming and technically complex part of producing any aircraft is the design and development phase - once the prototype is in the air production is relatively straightforward. The bad guys can make new Blue Thunders any time they like, and Murphy has destroyed the only evidence he has that there was a criminal conspiracy behind the whole programme - the 'videotape' he has of blurry, false coloured characters will convince nobody. Without the helicopter to back him up that tape is of no value to him. True, but that's a character mistake at worst. Corrected by Rlvlk
  • Cochrane's chopper has a 12.7mm or 20mm cannon on the side (it can't be a 7.62mm as it has already been shown that Blue Thunder is armoured against small arms rounds), The round that punched through the glass should have torn Murphy's arm off. It's entirely possible the round was deflected when it came through the window, and Murphy was struck by a shard of the window material instead. [N 1]Corrected by John W Rosa



  1. According to the film's entry on the Internet Movie Fairarms Database, the guns on the Hughes chopper are 12.7mm M2 Brownings modified to resemble 30mm Chain Guns of the type used on the AH-64 Apache.[3]


  1. IMDB entry
  2. Movie Mistakes
  3. IMFDB
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