Fact Check

In the 1999 Film 'The Matrix,' Did Neo's Passport Expire on Sept. 11, 2001?

The passport in question was issued by "Passport Agency" in "Capital City."

Published April 17, 2024

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Claim:
Neo's passport in "The Matrix" (1999) expired on Sep. 11, 2001.

One popular piece of movie lore, often shared on Reddit, is that a scene in the 1999 movie The Matrix shows a passport belonging to the protagonist Neo, played by Keanu Reeves, displaying an expiration date of Sept. 11, 2001 (the date of the World Trade Center and Pentagon attacks by the Islamic extremist group al-Qaida, in which nearly 3,000 people were killed):

This claim is factual. The scene in question occurs 18 minutes and 22 seconds into the film, when Neo, aka Thomas Anderson, is first interrogated by Agent Smith:

The passport is formatted as such a document would have appeared in the late 1990s. The date on the bottom right corner, written as "11 Sep/Sep 01," is indeed how Sept. 11, 2001 would have appeared.?

This date would later become infamous as the largest terrorist attack on American soil. The Matrix was filmed between March and August 1998 and premiered in March 1999.

Because screenshots depicting Neo's purported passport in The Matrix are unaltered, and because they show an expiration date of Sept. 11, 2001, the claim is True.

Sources

Minai, Halim Rahman. "United States of America?: International Passport (1995 — 2005) 10-Year Validity." PaperToTravel, 8 Jan. 2017, https://www.papertotravel.com/MP-319.

The Matrix. Directed by Lana Wachowski and Lilly Wachowski, Warner Bros., Village Roadshow Pictures, Groucho Film Partnership, 1999.

Alex Kasprak is an investigative journalist and science writer reporting on scientific misinformation, online fraud, and financial crime.