U-571

Factual error: In the last battle scene when you see shots of the German destroyer through the periscope the last one shot before it's blown up is really bad angling. The ship is far away but in the scope it's very close and the periscope (in order to get that camera angle) is 100 ft in the air.

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Factual error: The film is set during the war and there is a Toyota forklift driving around in one of the dock scenes....

01:19:45

Factual error: In the ship yard after the party, one of the navy crew is working on a sub and he is using a yellow plastic handled grinder. All tools in this era were metal handled. He's also wearing tennis shoes.

00:13:15

Continuity mistake: In the start of the film Matthew McConaughey is sitting on a porch at a wedding reception smoking a cigar, in one shot he has a stub left then in the next it's a new one.

00:12:20

Factual error: The language the American soldier and the secret-service officer use is grammatically correct German, but the pronunciation is very bad. No born German would ever be fooled by it.

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Continuity mistake: Just after the sub surfaces and the crew arrives on the conning tower, the sub's deck is totally dry.

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Factual error: At the beginning of the film the German commander is shown directing an attack using the periscope in the control room. German U-boats had two periscopes: a 'sky' scope (the one in the control room) used exclusively for searching the area directly above the boat prior to surfacing, and the 'attack' periscope located in the conning tower (turm). It was not possible for a German submarine commander to direct an attack from the control room periscope as depicted in the film.

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Badbird

Continuity mistake: Just after shooting the radio room on the German destroyer, U-571 submerges so quickly that the sailors do not manage to plug the gun. After a few moments when the boat goes from 180 to 200 meters there is a short shot from the above when we can clearly see that the gun is perfectly plugged.

01:13:30

Continuity mistake: During the first mission briefing, the commander is pointing to the map and you can clearly see the top secret photos of the enigma sitting by the manila envelope, but right after that shot he pulls the photos out of the envelope and hands them to people.

00:24:20

Factual error: Although the type of mission depicted in the movie did occur, it was not Americans that were known to do them. Canadian and British teams were specialized to do this mission.

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Factual error: When the marine commando shows the sailor his "luggage" (the boxes of explosives) to be loaded onto the submarine, some of the boxes have orange Explosive B placards. Those are Dept. of Transportation placards. The D.O.T. didn't exist until 1966 and the placards were not used until later than that.

00:19:55

Continuity mistake: After the melee with the destroyer above the surface, they attempt to dive and travel under the keel of the destroyer to escape the deck guns. As the camera is going underwater, the destroyer can be seen, but when the camera is below the surface, its keel cannot be seen.

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Phil Watts

Factual error: The German supply U-boat couldn't have sunk the S-33 with a torpedo, as neither the Type XIV nor any other class of German supply sub was equipped with torpedoes (this would have meant less storage space for cargo).

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Factual error: The "German" airplane which spots the crew before the destroyer scene is actually a Fiat G59 - a post-war two-seat training development of the G55 Centauro fighter. It is powered by a Rolls Royce Merlin engine.

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Factual error: When the American crew storms the U-571 and reaches the aft compartment, where the last Germans are gathered, we can see a row of bunks on each side of the chamber. The VIIC type has no crew acommodation in this place; the last compartment houses just the electric motors and some pumps and auxiliary machinery, as well as the breach of the aft torpedo tube.

00:43:30

Continuity mistake: As the submarine is preparing to leave the dock in one of the movie's first scenes, Bill Paxton, the commander is standing on the top part of the sub. A seaman is walking in Bill Paxton's direction and the camera is at a distance. As the camera zooms in the man walking should have been in the frame under Mr. Paxton but he just disappeared.

00:20:20

Continuity mistake: When the German destroyer is with U-571, look at the ship. Notice in the first shots there are 2 gun turrets on either side. Yet in the later shots during the final battle there's only one turret. In addition, right before the turrets are shown turning to fire, look at the ship again - they are already aimed at the U-boat. I guess the Germans felt the need to do this two times.

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Revealing mistake: When the U-571's crew member starts firing the MG-34 at the survivors in the rowboat, you can see the ammo belt is all blanks.

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Grumpy Scot

Revealing mistake: At the end of the movie, when the aft torpedo blows up the ship, the pieces that fly into the air hit the water and there is no splash. Obviously computer generated.

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Continuity mistake: When Tyler is unhandcuffing Tank and Mazzola's body is lying beside him, in the long shot of the scene, it looks like Tank and Mazzola are a few feet away from each other. But in the overhead shot, they're right beside each other.

01:09:20

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Trivia

U-571 cause quite a stir in England especially in the small northern town of Horsforth (where I actually live), because we felt the movie 'Hollywood-ised' a British victory. The people of Horsforth raised an astonishing £241,000 in one week (about £4million today) to fund the building of the HMS Aubretia, the ship that captured the first enigma machine when it depth charged U-110. It caused so much upset amongst people that President Bill Clinton wrote a letter to the people of Horsforth praising the town for their part in the war effort. The letter is now on display in the local museum.

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