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20 Big Movie Plot Holes You Might Have Not Noticed

23 November 2013 | Features, Film Lists | by David Zou

movie plot holes

The suspension of disbelief is crucial to a film’s success. Without it, we’d just spend the entire time going, “That couldn’t happen!” which would make watching movies one of the more irritating pastimes we could do. However, sometimes the internal logic of films stretches credulity so much, you can’t but sit up and take notice.

Here are 20 of the finest examples where things don’t quite make total sense. We approach all of this from a position of love: we might be being nit-picky, but we do enjoy most of the movies here. So read on, and add your own in the comments.


20. Reservoir Dogs (1992)


The Plot Hole: Joe Cabot’s gun is aimed at Mr Orange. Mr White’s gun is trained on Joe. Joe’s son, Nice Guy Eddie, is pointed at White.

Bang, bang, bang! Everyone goes down…but who shot Nice Guy Eddie?

Reasonable Explanation: The apocryphal story is that Chris Penn’s squib went off too soon, an accident that Quentin Tarantino liked so much he left it in for film geeks to chew over.

In the script, however, Mr White is supposed to have shot Eddie after killing Joe, and Harvey Keitel makes a move to do so even though Penn’s already falling, so that’s still the best fix even if the visuals don’t quite tally.


19. Terminator 2: Judgement Day (1991)


The Plot Hole: It’s explained in the first Terminator movie that only objects surrounding by organic tissue can time-travel. Hence why Kyle Reese and the Terminator are both naked.

But where does this leave the T-1000, who is made entirely from liquid metal and therefore has no tissue matter at all?

Reasonable Explanation: Things have moved on from the events of the first film, and Skynet has developed a workaround for the whole ‘living tissue’ conundrum.

In which case, there’s no need for the T-1000 to be naked, unless he’s trying to trick any passing gawpers into thinking he’s an older model of Terminator. Which would be exceptionally paranoid for an emotionless machine.


18. Batman (1989)


The Plot Hole: During the climactic confrontation, Batman (Michael Keaton) tells Jack Nicholson’s Joker, “You killed my parents!”

The Joker’s response – “I was just a kid” – rather implies he knows Batman’s secret identity, which would significantly alter our perception of everything that’s happened before.

Reasonable Explanation: Not necessarily. Jack Napier has clearly killed a lot of people; maybe it’s his standard line for dealing with vengeful orphans.


17. Independence Day (1996)


The Plot Hole: Stretching plausibility into shapes you never thought possible, the end of Roland Emmerich’s gung-ho blockbuster sees Jeff Goldblum’s boffin create a computer virus that will FUBAR the alien’s mothership and save the day.

But how is this virus going to be downloaded? By plugging in a Mac to their extra-terrestrial systems.

Reasonable Explanation: There is at least a deleted scene showing Goldblum dicking about with his computer to make it compatible, which at least proves Emmerich was aware of how silly this was going to look.

Even so, you have to assume the aliens are big Apple fans. Maybe they invaded to get their grubby protuberances on an iPod, but arrived a few years too early.

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  • James Thompson

    In Shawshank, the poster was only attached from the top. It even shows him digging beneath it with it hanging over his back. Other than that, all the plot holes are worthy of pointing out.

  • randell

    the T 1000 is made from mimick Paley alloy it can mimic the properties of anything it touches as such when in human form it is no different than a human and does have living tissue

    • Brian Tubbs

      But when young John asked, “Well, why doesn’t it become a bomb or something to get me?”
      Arnold told young John Connor that the T-1000
      “It can’t form complex machines. Guns and explosives have chemicals, moving parts.
      It doesn’t work that way. But it can form solid metal shapes.”

      Living tissue has all kinds of complex chemical reactions taking place every second. If the T-1000 could form something as complex as any kind of living tissue he could easily form into a gun with bullet’s and everything. Sorry but there’s no way that this fictitious “mimetic polyalloy” could form living tissue.

      • bretweir

        I always wondered if perhaps T2 had a microchip or some small device somewhere inside that was premade… since the alloy would have no idea what it was supposed to do at a particle level. Also in T3 the female terminator has pre-made complex machines and a skeleton underneath… and she has to come back naked, which would imply that she can form flesh.

  • randell

    the soldiers in avatar are all there on there own accord. they are paid by a corporation and as such are more like mercenaries so trudee saying no can not get her a court martial

  • Brian Tubbs

    OK David, I got #4 “The Shawshank Redemption” If you remember one of the scenes showing Andy digging the tunnel you will remember that he doesn’t have the bottom of the post taped down. So while digging he just lifts the poster up and works behind it. When he escaped he simply lifted the poster climbed in and let it fall behind him. Gravity did the rest. Now, you may be thinking that the poster would lift up slightly and not lay flat. There are many ways of explaining this. 1 Posters could have been made with cotton like money back then. This would have made it very easy to make the poster flat as a board. Or 2. Andy could have attached small flat weights on the bottom (facing out of course). The weights if placed correctly would hardly be noticeable and would force the poster to lay flat against the wall, once again, thanks to gravity.

    • Dookiestain LaFlair

      Yeah but what did he do with all the dirt from the tunnel? eat it?

      • John.

        They explain this in the movie. He would only have about a handful of wall dust at a time, and he would walk it out to the yard and get rid of it by dropping out of his pants leg.

        • Kate Bell

          They explain the rest in the book. He had help re-attaching the poster. From eh..the other guy. Sorry I don’t remember the movie that well :D

  • Les Labbauf

    The plot hole in Independence Day is easily explained that our computer technology is based on what we gleaned from the Spaceship in Area 51, so of course they are going to be compatible.

  • Danny Salazar

    Mr. Pink shot Nice Guy Eddie! C’mon! He came out from under the conveyor with the jewels and his gun drawn. He knew the situation had blown up and if anyone was left they would impede his escape, thus Joe shot Orange, White shot Joe, Eddie shot White, and Pink shot Eddie.

    • Ed Bookman

      I was stunned that they had this so-called “plot-hole” in the list. Did these guys forget about Mr. Pink? He was the last man standing for crying out loud.

  • Fernando Yanmar Narciso

    i guess kane’s mansion/ small continent was so massive and the walls made so much echo that if kane sneezed even somebody flying over xanadu could hear it, that means that anyone working for him could have heard the famous dying line

  • areyoureallyserious

    Someone explained The Sixth Sense to me like this because I had the same question. The ghosts don’t exist all the time. They aren’t “real” (as in on earth). They are in between worlds. Sometimes they are in their own realm and sometimes they are here. The problem isn’t that they exist, it’s that they keep coming back as if they forgot something. A better question is why didn’t he realize the only clothes he ever wore were the ones he had on the night he was shot. This movie never discusses the idea of a heaven or hell, so to me the thought that the ghosts are just not here sometimes makes sense.

    • Kate Bell

      I think you’re right. The movie doesn’t really show him existing, except when he’s “needed”. It’s like some higher power saw that he had to take “one more case”. Also it does show his wife talking to him, and he answers. He just thinks she’s unhappy with the relationship.

    • Red Lagoon

      To me this “plot hole” was clear when the kid says that the ghost don’t know they are dead and they only see and accept what they want to believe! The writer here is claiming Willis think and behave like a human being, hence he is a ghost. His logic is thin and his goal even more focused.

  • Mr. J

    of course aliens are big apple fans, they always go after new york. pshhh.

  • Alexander

    For Oceans 11, didn’t they themselves place the bags in the vault during the heist? They don’t show much of the action since it’s mostly dark, but I imagine they would do that themselves.

  • JesterRaiin

    Let’s see… Good points, BUT… ;]
    #20 One man killed two guys. It happens.
    #19 Skynet may have perfected Time Machine while Human front still uses old model
    #18 Since when Joker needs to be reasonable?
    #17 Are 51 guys studied alien technology for years prior to ID, right?
    #16 Maybe ET may elevate objects, but not himself? Maybe his bio-cells were discharged at the beggining of movie? Maybe he knew that levitating to the ship and knocking into thick hull won’t do him any good?
    #15 I’m with “alternatively” here.
    #14 Yep. Aliens. It means “no wonder they don’t act like we do”.
    #13 Didn’t see the movie.
    #12 Memories change with time. People forget more than just faces of “that guy we knew back in old pre-marijuana years, right darling?” Alternatively: that’s the way human’s mind deals with time paradoxes.
    #11 Your explanation is plausible enough.
    #10 Maybe he muttered it more than once and it comes from the last person that saw him alive?
    #9 Didn’t see the movie
    #8 Good point indeed.
    #7 He is a ghost. And we know that at least some of them are locked, perpetually repeating same actions again and again.
    #6 Didn’t pay attention to the movie. Maybe the Colonel is also a chauvinist and he simply disregards the breach by “women, they aren’t fit to be soldiers anyway”, which would be actually very hurtful for Trudy’s pride.
    #5 Didn’t pay attention to the movie.
    #4 It’s not that the poster is nailed to the wall like Christ to the cross…
    #3 Exactly.
    #2 He is a toy, he must act like the toy – it’s an imperative, instinct. His “I’m real”? Crazy talk. He is just the toy with mental problems.
    #1 “Many people died to get those plans…” ;]

  • Jerry McDonald

    Hasn’t anyone seen “Blue Harvest”?
    Hold your fire. There’s no life-forms aboard.
    “Hold your fire”? What, are we paying by the laser now?

  • Kate Bell

    I don’t know if this has been commented before however: The Shawshank Redemption…I always assumed everyone who saw the movie had read the book. He had help. Re/Ocean’s Eleven: they showed the team switching the bags while dressed in SWAT gear. They use the entire ploy as a diversion to get the casino to call the police so they can re-wire the phone call to themselves, answer it, then just walk straight into the casino to switch the bags. Man, I’m glad those script writers are on our side!

  • Joshua Pfahning

    Regarding the escape pod and droid/Star Wars plot hole. The reasonable explanation offered is that the officer must me a rebel sympathizer. An alternative explanation could be that he was simply incompetent, or possibly even inexperienced. Aboard a ship of that size there are bound to be many junior officers on the bridge.

  • doc

    Back to the Future: Would you remember the face of someone you met in high school, for a week? Also, it was several years after that Marty was even born.
    Die Hard With a Vengeance: Simon didn’t take Zeus into account. He even called him the Good Samaritan.
    Shawshank Redemption: Only the top half of the poster was attached to the wall.

  • mtc777

    Back to the future:
    Near the end of the movie Doc arrives from the future and tells Marty they have to go back and they MUST HURRY UP.
    Why is he in a hurry ? He has the TIME MACHINE !!!!!!

  • Layne Stephen Strong

    Dont forget Back To the Future Part 3… 1885 Doc Brown hides a fully functioning DeLorean in a cave.. and forgets that he can get a fuel line and fuel from it to repair the damages DeLorean that Marty arrives in negating the need to push, pull or otherwise get the thing up to 88MPH! 1955 Doc Brown could have simply replaced the fuel line and gasoline and sent Marty back to 1885! That loop hole (along with the liquid metal one in T2) have driven me mad!

  • bluedragonx

    Another easy explanation for the Terminator 2 plot hole: the T-1000′s body was covered with human tissue before traveling through time and was quickly discarded off-screen afterward

  • hottentott

    Okey let’s try this about the Gremlins and feeding.
    What if…
    The Gremlins came from China…right?
    So let’s say it’s midnight in New York were the second film takes place so let’s just say that the first film takes place in some small town near the big apple.
    When it’s 00:00 in New York it’s about 13:00 in Beijing

    so maybe you’re not supposed to feed them after lunch in China ?

  • Karen Browne-Vohs

    The plot hole for me in AVATAR is about germs. As my son said…”Why didn’t they follow history and just pass out diseased blankets?”