Character mistake: At the beginning of the movie, the German sub gets surprised and severely damaged by a destroyer. The sonar man first notices the enemy destroyer approaching, but only a short time before the destroyer is already literally on top of the sub. German sonar at the time had the capacity to detect ships up to more than 7 miles away, so the sonar man really had to be asleep at his sonar station not to notice the destroyer approaching. (00:03:40)
Continuity mistake: During the early part of the movie, there are a number of references to the Blackhawk crew, yet the wreckage is that of a Huey.
Factual error: Most of the parachutes are PX type. These came out in the 1960s. They only used X type during the war - only a few of those are seen in the film. (00:07:00)
Factual error: When Patton orders his driver to drive to the Carthaginian battlefield he addresses him as "sergeant". He is, however, wearing corporal's chevrons. A famous stickler for discipline and ceremonial, Patton is not likely to have made a mistake like this.
Continuity mistake: John's staff sergeant military shoulder epaulet markings become upside down in the scene when he and Savannah are having dinner at her house when he comes to see her after his dad died. In a later shot shortly after, they are correct.
Visible crew/equipment: As Achilles' ship nears the Trojan shores, Agamemnon snidely asks, "What's the fool doing? He's going to take the beach of Troy with fifty men?" At the start of the next shot, as the camera begins to pan down, on the far right, just beside a person's (who is dressed in blue) head is a metal bullhorn (ie. used to give instructions to cast/crew, and which definitely doesn't belong in this time period). (00:36:35)
Continuity mistake: The scene where they are looking for Ryan's dog tag. Doc comments they are laughing in front of all the guys walking by. One of the soldiers looks like Sal Mineo. Frustrated, Tom Hanks walks into the line of soldiers and civilians and starts asking if anybody has seen or knows James Ryan. The same Sal Mineo lookalike walks by him again. (01:15:10)
Factual error: There were no black paratroopers on D-Day or in the 101st, nor were white and black soldiers serving in the same unit.
Continuity mistake: When Rambo crashes through the road block in the army truck it's still daylight outside but when he's approaching the gas station it's nighttime. How could so much time pass when he was within minutes of town when he went through the road block?
Factual error: The final scene of the movie has Col. Kirby and the little Vietnamese boy supposedly on the beach at Da Nang, Vietnam. Kirby is saying, "The future of 'nam is you, kid", and the camera pans out to the sea and the sun is going down. The sun's sinking in the east...
Suggested correction: Nowhere in the film are we told where in Vietnam the Green Beret base is, just that it is in South Vietnam (of course). South Vietnam has a Western coast, along the Gulf of Thailand, along which anyone can watch the sun set over the sea.
Around the 18:00 - 18:30 mark a character welcomes John Wayne to Da Nang. This base is returned to throughout the film, including the infamous sun setting in the east scene. Da Nang's beaches face to the Northeast. Only when you get south of Nha Trang does the Vietnamese coast begin to offer a south to southwest horizon on the ocean.
Continuity mistake: In all of the aircraft scenes, almost every time they showed his aircraft, he has different types of weapons on it.
Continuity mistake: A group of Marines approaches a minefield and one of them falls with his back on a mine. The explosion throws him in the air and you can see his uninjured back. Not even his shirt got a scratch. (01:46:50)
Revealing mistake: When the 54th Mass. marches past a liberated plantation some black children wave them on. One of them is wearing a digital wristwatch.
Visible crew/equipment: During the "full attack" at the start of the Battle of Stirling Bridge, Wallace repeatedly shouts, "Hold," and in the wideshot right before Wallace finally shouts, "Now!" as the horses gallop towards the right side of the screen, we can see a white car at the left side of the screen. Viewed widescreen version. (01:27:15)
Factual error: After the birth of the baby, James Stewart and "Doc" Witherspoon are discussing the course of the war. "Doc" relates that he has always lived in Virginia and that his son died at Gettysburg at Little Round Top. No Virginia regiments fought at Little Round Top - only Alabama, Texas, Georgia, and Arkansas regiments.
Continuity mistake: When the Nazi SS guard puts a pistol to Rutger Hauer's head, it's a Luger, but when the guard turns around, he's holding a Walther P38.
Visible crew/equipment: In the fight scene on the stairs near the end of the movie, the camera shot looks up and there is a security camera mounted up in the corner. (01:29:40)
Continuity mistake: When the team are about to jump from the cable car into the river, the view from ground level shows a bare road with no snow on it on the right and a line of trees on the left with German trucks parked next to them, but the view from the cable car shows a snow-covered road and no trucks beside the trees. (02:06:00)
Continuity mistake: Luca and his friend are chasing a bus and come down an old dirt road, Luca in a side car with a dog in his lap. The next shot, there's no dog, then the next shot the dog is back in his arms again.
Factual error: When we see the United States flag, it is the wrong flag. It has 43 stars, something the flag did not have until 1891.