The Terminal (2004)

 ●  English ● Running Time: TBA

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Inspired from true life, this ingenious and insightful romantic comedy delves into the fluctuating fortunes of Viktor Navorski, a pleasant man from an eastern European country called Krakozhia, He travels to New York City for the first time in his life, and arrives with much anticipation at the John F. Kennedy International Airport seeking entry into the United States of America. To his horror, he finds out that his country has entered into civil war and that his passport is no longer valid. With the United States refusing to permit him to either enter the country or return home, he finds himself stranded at the airport terminal. Unable to communicate fluently in English, he is forced to start living at the airport terminal, with only his luggage and his friendly personality to aid him. What kind of relationships will he be able to forge during his indefinite, forced residence at the airport? How will the future unfold for Viktor under these extraordinary circumstances?
See Storyline (May Contain Spoilers)

Cast: Tom Hanks

Crew: Steven Spielberg (Director)

Genres: Comedy, Drama, Romantic Comedy

Release Dates: 18 Jun 2004 (India)

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Did you know? According to his customs declaration, Viktor Navorski was born on 11 January 1956, i.e. he is almost six months older than Tom Hanks. Read More
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Camera and Electrical

Steadicam Operator
Camera Operator
Film Type:
Feature Film
Spoken Languages:
Bulgarian, Russian
Colour Info:
Frame Rate:
24 fps
Aspect Ratio:
2.35 : 1
Revealing Mistakes
When Amelia purchases a book from Borders, the cash register does not print a receipt for her. The receipt the cashier gives her is blank and was already there when she arrived at the register.

When Victor starts reading aloud the news headlines in the TV news, he pronounces "sixty-one dead in Khrakoshia", but the TV headlines actually say "61 dead". It is stated that Victor can't speak English, much less read it. How did he read the number correctly, then?

The departure board indicates that Viktor's flight is bound for "Krakhosia," yet this board is supposed to show cities not countries. However, it's possible that the capital of fictitious Krakhosia is also named Krakhosia, just as the capitals of Mexico, Panama, Oklahoma and (formerly) Belize (whose capital is now relocated to Belmopan) share the country's/state's name, or that Krakhosia is a single-city nation like Singapore or San Marino. Either way, this is not necessarily a goof.

Crew/Equipment Visible
When Victor, Frank and Joe are meeting about Victor's status, a crewmember wearing a set of headphones can be seen in the reflection of the window for about 20-40 seconds on two different occasions.

Crew/Equipment Visible
While Viktor Navorski is in the interrogation office with Dixon (scene where he tries to asses Navorski's "fears") a crew member is reflected in the glass.

Crew/Equipment Visible
Camera-person visible in reflection on door when Viktor is holding the stuffed fish.

Crew/Equipment Visible
When the INS Agent escorts Viktor into the terminal for the first time, a crew member's hand holds the doors open. The hand is not visible in shots of the same door from the same angle later in the film.

Crew/Equipment Visible
When Viktor is translating to Milodragovich, you see the shadow(s) of the camera and/or camera operator on his back when the shots are behind him and filming the front sides of Viktor, Frank, and the other officers.

Errors in Geography
When the plane from Krakhozia taxies to the gate at what is supposed to be a New York airport, a large Aéroports de Montréal (Montreal Airports Authority) logotype is clearly visible on a jetway in the distance.

Errors in Geography
At John F. Kennedy Airport, shortly after Officer Thurman escorts Viktor for the first time, the P.A. announces "Passengers of Air Canada flight 746 from Montreal must proceed to U.S. Immigration before claiming their luggage." Most large Canadian airports, including Montreal's Pierre Trudeau Airport, have U.S. border pre-clearance facilities. In other words, passengers flying from Montreal to New York would have cleared U.S. immigration in Montreal. Also, in real life, Air Canada flight 746 flies to Fiorello LaGuardia Airport, not JFK.

Errors in Geography
Several Air Transat (blue tail) aircraft are visible during the tarmac scenes. In fact, Air Transat never served any of New York's airports.

Factual Mistake
While Viktor is learning English from the bilingual New York guide-book, he comes across a page featuring the TV show Friends. He makes a point of repeating the English word "friends" and what is presumably its Krakhosian equivalent. The Cyrillic text which is Russian shows the title of the TV show as a phonetic equivalent "Frenz" of the original English title "Friends". In fact, TV show "Friends" is quite popular in Russian speaking countries as "Druzya" which is a literal translation of the word "friends" in Russian. So, the book wouldn't make such an obvious mistake.

Factual Mistake
Shops in the Terminal are shown as closed for the night. John F. Kennedy Airport's international terminals are open 24 hours a day.

Factual Mistake
When Viktor walks into the United Airlines Red Carpet Club, he is stopped by a customer service agent who is wearing a United Airlines "crew" ID badge. Crew badges are only issued to Flight Officers and Flight Attendants. A ground crew member would have an ID badge issued by the John F. Kennedy airport.

When Amelia is giving Victor his emergency visa, he takes it in the first shot, then in the second shot, Amelia has it and is giving it to him again.

When Viktor and Amelia are at dinner in the airport, their wine glasses jump from full to half full and back again between shots.

When Viktor goes up the escalator, a man a few steps behind him never seems to arrive at the top, even though Viktor stops at the top long enough for us to see him get there.

When Viktor is translating the Russian's plea for medicine, the cops standing on guard in the background repeatedly change positions between shots.

When Viktor and Amelia meet in the second floor of Borders, Viktor is seen holding a book. When they head downstairs, the book disappears.

In the dinner on the patio scene, the way in which the waiter holds the lighter changes. When he lights the first candle, the lighter is resting on his arm. When he lights the second candle however, his left arm is at his side and in the next shot the lighter is resting on that arm.

When Viktor comes out of the hotel he has his large suitcase in is right hand. He calls the cab and opens the door with his now empty right hand and gets into the cab, apparently leaving his suitcase behind.

The stamp that officer Torres puts on the form filled out by the Colombian couple says September 4, 2003. However later that same day, the stamp she puts on Navorski's form is dated January 17, 2004.

When Viktor, Frank and Joe are meeting in the office talking about Asylum for Viktor and establishing his fear, the position of the phone cord changes from being behind the phone to being over the middle of the desk several times in different shots with no one using the phone.

When Frank shows Viktor what happened to his country, chips get all over Viktor. In the next scene, all of the chips disappear.

When Victor translates while holding the medicine bottles, he is holding a different number of bottles in each hand at different angles.

During the patio dinner seen, there is a zoom in close up of the woman's pager going off in a purse. Then, the pager is in the middle of that table as the woman picks it up to leave.

When Thurman runs out in front of the United 747 to Krakozhia, the plane stops just before a white line painted on the tarmac. In a following scene from a different angle, the plane is well past any white lines. It is possible that it isn't even on the same patch of concrete.

When Viktor is translating Milodragovich, with every camera change, the pills appear alternating in Viktor's hand from three in one hand, one in the other, to two cases in each hand.

When Viktor leaves the cab in New York he is still wearing the policemans' overcoat. When he meets with the front desk clerk the overcoat is missing.

At the beginning of the movie, some of the images of the "Krakhosian revolution" on the TVs in the terminal are from the 1989 Romanian Revolution. They include Romanian flags, and for a short time (in the VIP Red Carpet Lounge) an image from Brasov, a large Romanian city.

Audio/Video Mismatch
When Viktor is building the fountain, he is seen soldering pipes together. The sound effect is of an electrical sound made while arc welding. This sound is not made while soldering.

Audio/Video Mismatch
When Viktor Navorski first spends the night in the Terminal the planes outside make a lot of noise and scare him. However, after that moment the room suddenly seems soundproof. This is clear, for example, in the moment when Amelia confronts him, right before he shows her the fountain.

Character Error
Amelia Warren says the croissant was invented in Romania. It was actually invented in Budapest, Hungary, after the Austro-Hungarian army defeated the Turks. It's shaped like a crescent because the Turkish flag includes a crescent moon.

Character Error
Napoléon Bonaparte gave Josephine a gold medallion inscribed with the words "To Destiny" as a wedding present.

Character Error
When Amelia is stopped in immigration, Viktor waits for her by the gate. However, she must pass through the gate, which is in the international area where Viktor is allowed, to reach the immigration hall. Amelia should get off the aircraft and come through the gate.

Character Error
Brussels is spelled Bruxelles on the arrival/departure board. Although this is the correct French spelling, it is unlikely to be used at a U.S. airport.

Character Error
One of the stamps that Officer Torres puts on Viktor's form says 17 January 2004. A few days later when Dixon and Thurman discusses the office pool on Viktor leaving, Thurman says he's got "January 3rd."
Sasha Spielberg, director Steven Spielberg's daughter makes a cameo appearance in this movie, as the girl with the suitcase that Viktor tries to help.

This film was shot with two endings. The original version of the film, previewed in Orange, California on 26 May 2004, had the other ending, in which Catherine Zeta-Jones's character Amelia goes into Manhattan with Viktor. The changes to the film caused the start date of Steven Spielberg's next film Munich (2005) to be pushed back a number of weeks, which meant that Ben Kingsley could no longer appear in it, due to his commitment to appear in Roman Polanski's Oliver Twist (2005).

When "the war is over" and where Tom Hanks and other people sing the national anthem they sing The Albanian National Anthem in "gibberish" words.

When Viktor is about to be forced onto the plane back home, Dixon watches the security camera screens and whistles the melody to "For All We Know (We May Never Meet Again)".

The terminal set was a near-full-size replica built in a former hangar, with three working sets of escalators, and populated by many familiar stores (e.g. Burger King, Mrs. Fields, W.H. Smith). Some of these brands were recruited by Dreamworks, while others approached the studio when word of the production got out. Many of the stores and restaurants were built by the construction crews that build actual mall and airport stores for the respective companies, and some had fully-functioning equipment (e.g. ovens, cash registers, etc). However, the inclusion of a brand on the set was not a guarantee of inclusion in the film; Dreamworks retained full control over editing, and some brands appear only briefly or not at all.

In this movie Dolores Torres is said to go to Star Trek conventions dressed as Yeoman Rand. Zoe Saldana later played Uhura in Star Trek (2009).

Although Viktor comes from the fictional country of Krakozhia, the language he speaks in this movie is Bulgarian. The written material shown (the Fodor's guide and the magazine page with the jazz greats) is in bad Russian. The label on the Planters peanuts can is neither in Bulgarian nor in Russian. Viktor's driving license is issued in Homel, Republic of Belarus, and has a woman's name on it (written in Cyrillic) - Gulnara Gulina. Gulnara is a Persian name of Arabic origin, which would be quite rare in Belarus. It was a real license provided by a real Gulnara Gulina, a woman from Belarus who was working in American movie industry, although the license, issued in 1995, was already invalid at the time of filming. The filmmakers just added Viktor Navorski's name in English and his photo.

The main character of this movie was originally scripted to arrive from Slovenia but this was changed after the advice from the former consul of Republic of Slovenia in the United States Mark Rijavec. Since Slovenia is by some considered to be Switzerland of the Eastern Europe it would not look credible would a civil war be started in one of the new members of the European Union.

In the bookstore, Viktor is reading "Oh, the Places You'll Go" by Dr. Seuss.

According to his customs declaration, Viktor Navorski was born on 11 January 1956, i.e. he is almost six months older than Tom Hanks.

This movie was chosen as the opening film of the 2004 Venice Film Festival.

Tony Randall appears in an uncredited cameo in this movie, during the "I Love New York" television advertisement.

When Amelia does her makeup at the table while sitting with Viktor, she pulls out an Elizabeth Arden compact. Catherine Zeta-Jones, who played Amelia, is a spokeswoman for Elizabeth Arden cosmetics.

In the Russian dubbed version of this film, Milodragovic spoke Bulgarian, not Russian, and introduced himself as a Bulgarian.

Steven Spielberg cut a line from the film where Hanks's character is getting help using a phone card and says, "Home phone, home phone!" Spielberg cut this because he didn't want comparisons to E.T. the Extra-Terrestrial (1982) and the famous lines "Phone home."

The Napoleon book Amelia buys at Borders is "Napoléon Bonaparte" by Alan Schom.

Each failed application for entry to the USA counts against your chances of eventually being allowed in, so Viktor was actually hurting his cause by applying every day.

Bernie Mac was considered for a role, but had to pull out due to a scheduling conflict.

A majority (if not all) of the flights on the departure board were flights operated by members of the Star Alliance. United Airlines is a founding partner of the Star Alliance.

This movie is inspired by the story of Merhan Nasseri, an Iranian refugee. Dreamworks reportedly paid him $250,000 for the use of his biography. In 1988, he landed at Charles de Gaulle Airport near Paris after being denied entry into England because his passport and United Nations refugee certificate had been stolen. French authorities would not let him leave the airport. He remained in Terminal One, a stateless person with nowhere else to go. He has since been granted permission to either enter France or return to his own country. He instead chooses to continue to live in the terminal and tell his story to those who will listen. Reportedly, his mental health has deteriorated over the years. When given the opportunity to live in France, he refused because the documents did not name him as "Sir, Alfred", and he claims to have forgotten his native Persian language. Reportedly, he left the terminal in August 2006 to be hospitalized for an unspecified illness.

In the scene where Viktor is avoiding the security camera near the exit, the camera is of the Espree line manufactured by Pelco in Clovis, CA. The motor noises had to be added to the film, because the Espree PTZ (Pan, Tilt, Zoom) features operate virtually silently.