Like horrible true things left out of biopics, these false facts movies perpetuate are skewing audiences's perception of reality. Maybe filmmakers are also blissfully unaware or maybe they are purposefully ignoring scientific fact that could potentially ruin a movie's plot. In either case, some of the myths from movies people believe are certainly not helping us to become smarter as a species, so hopefully, this article can help enlighten you just a little bit.
1. You Have To Wait 24 Hours To Report Someone Missing
Myth: Almost any time a person goes missing in any movie, the concerned family members and friends are told by police that they must wait 24 hours before filing the appropriate report.
Fact: Not only is this simply not true, it is also a pretty dangerous myth to spread around. Police and other experts stress how important it is to start searches and file a missing person’s report as quickly as possible. This gives the police the best chance of finding them. Any delay could not only hamper an investigation but lead to harm coming to the missing person. Government websites even specifically point out that you don’t have to wait any length of time before contacting the police.
2. Everyone Who Is Arrested Gets One Phone Call
Myth: It’s one of the biggest staples in Hollywood that a person who has been arrested is entitled to one phone call of their choosing. It happens time and time again in almost any police drama or criminal film, with examples ranging from The Matrix to Kingsman: The Secret Service. In each movie, the arrested person asks for and receives their seemingly mandatory call.
Fact: The only problem is that this idea has been made up by the film industry. While anyone who has been arrested does have the right to speak to their attorney, phone calls are a privilege that can be given or taken away at any time. Basically, there is a lot of different rules and regulations around phone calls that vary from state to state and country to country.
3. Silencers Make Gunshots Silent
Myth: Practically every James Bond film – or any movie that features guns – will show that silencers eliminate practically all of the sound from a gun. With a silencer on, it is possible to fire a shot without anyone in the immediate vicinity to know what has happened.
Fact: The thing is, silencers are not even a thing. What the movies are actually showing a called suppressors, a tool primarily designed to reduce the sound of a gun for ear protection and to make it more difficult to identify the location of the gunfire. Even with a suppressor fitted, guns can still produce a sound of more than 100 decibels, enough to alert everyone nearby.
4. One Can Calmly Walk Away From A Nearby Explosion
Myth: It’s a scene that is all too familiar in movies; the action hero is able to calmly walk away while an intense explosion goes off in the background. In extreme cases, such as in Sin City or Transformers, characters are thrown through the air without suffering from any ill-effects.
Fact: While the initial fiery inferno might not cause any harm to a person in real life, the resulting shockwave would. This would compress all of the air in your body as it spread out from the point of impact and then immediately cause it to expand massively as a result of the vacuum left behind. The resulting damage to internal organs such as the heart and lungs would be catastrophic, possibly causing them to tear apart.
5. Images Can Be Enhanced, And Enhanced, And Enhanced Perfectly
Myth: One of the biggest myths about police and forensic experts in movies is their ability to enhance images to provide extra detail from blurry pictures. In these instances, tech-savvy workers are magically able to resolve a grainy photograph to unveil fine detail. Films such as No Way Out, Blade Runner, and Enemy of the State show this happening, often in an instantaneous manner.
Fact: In real life, however, this is impossible. Images might be able to be cleaned up a little bit but it is not possible to get more information out of a low-resolution image without guessing what should be there.
6. A Defibrillator Will Restart A Person’s Heart
Myth: Defibrillators have taken on very different jobs in movies as compared to their real-life counterparts. Films such as Casino Royaleand Inception show the electric paddles essentially bringing people back to life – the electric shock working to restart the victim’s heart.
Fact: However, that is exactly the opposite of what real-life defibrillators do. They are made to stop the heart after it has suffered from a dysfunctional rhythm, allowing doctors to perform CPR to get it working correctly again.
7. It Only Takes Seconds To Knock Someone Out With A Rag Soaked In Chloroform
Myth: The chloroform rag has become to go to weapon for anyone who wants to incapacitate a person in a non-lethal manner. According to movies such as Billion Dollar Brain, Ace Ventura: Pet Detective, and P2, it is possible to knock somebody out in seconds by holding the cloth over their mouths.
Fact: In truth, knocking people out using drugs and other toxins is a very difficult process. Too much of a certain material will be harmful and too little will cause no effect. That’s why hospitals use anesthetists when putting people under. While chloroform could be used to knock somebody unconscious, it would take a lot longer than it does in the movies.
8. CPR Is A Foolproof Method Of Reviving Anyone
Myth: In the movie industry it seems as if CPR is about as reliable a method of bringing someone back to life as you can get. You just have to look at the likes of Tim from Jurassic Park who is resuscitated after a few seconds by Dr. Grant after being electrocuted.
Fact: Unlike in the moves, though, where CPR has a success rate of around 75%, real life sees that rate drop to around 10%. Even then, CPR does not work in the same way as it does in Hollywood. Its purpose is not to bring somebody back to life but to keep them alive by pumping blood through their body.
9. When Shot, People Fly Across The Room
Myth: This is another myth that shows up in practically every action movie or thriller that involves a gun. Anytime a person is shot, they will fly across the room as if they have been hit by an explosion. Films such as Terminator, Men in Black, and Lethal Weapon have demonstrated this to great effect.
Fact: Despite the fact that it may look cool, that kind of reaction from a gunshot just wouldn't be possible. Simple physics would state that the person firing the gun would experience exactly the same force and would, therefore, be flung in the opposite direction.
10. It's Cool To Pull Out A Grenade Pin With Your Teeth
Myth: If action movies have taught us anything, it is that pulling out the pin of a grenade using just your teeth is just about the coolest thing a person can do. Numerous heroes from movies like Starship Troopers, Terminator, and G. I. Joe: The Rise of Cobra have done exactly that to great effect.
Fact: Unfortunately, doing that with a real grenade would most likely lead to teeth being pulled out completely. Pins are designed to be difficult to pull out to avoid any accidents where they can explode by mistake, meaning you would have to pull really hard with your teeth to get it out of the grenade.
11. Truth Serum Can Make People Reveal All Their Secrets
Myth: If films such as True Lies, Johnny English, and Meet The Fockers have shown us anything, it is that truth serums not only exist but that they work almost instantly and are astoundingly effective.
Fact: Mixtures known as truth serums do exist in some form, and you might wonder why they aren't widely used by police forces and other authorities. Simple answer; they don't work. Most of these substances act as sedatives, slowing down a person’s mental processes so that it is harder to lie. However, it doesn't actually make anyone more honest.
12. Laser Guns Create A Brilliant Color Show
Myth: Franchises such as Star Wars and Star Trek have shown millions of people what it would be like to shoot laser guns in space. Although they are obviously dangerous, it is still fun to watch the multitude of bright colors shoot through the sky.
Fact: Real-life laser weapons, if they could be developed, would actually be invisible. Light needs a surface to reflect off of to become visible, and in the vacuum of space, there is nothing – meaning the laser would never become visible. It is easy to test this with modern-day laser pointers, which only become visible when they hit a surface.
13. Hackers Are Evil Nerds Out To Commit Cybercrime
Myth: Anyone watching films such as Die Hard, it’s later sequel Live Free and Die Hard, or any number of other films that feature hackers trying to break into computer systems would assume that every hacker in the world is an evil genius with magical computers.
Fact: The truth is far removed from that, making the likes of the 1995 film Hackers look plain silly. While there are some criminals who use their skills for nefarious purposes, many hackers are actually known as “white hat” hackers, meaning they work as security experts to find vulnerabilities in computer systems so they can be fixed.
This kind of work is a big business and there are dozens of companies around the world that specialize in the field. The employees are far from typical nerds that you might expect, instead appearing like any of the other office workers.