Continuity mistake: Just after the sub surfaces and the crew arrives on the conning tower, the sub's deck is totally dry.
Continuity mistake: When the S-33 is torpedoed, the boarding party members (including Tank) stand motionless, staring at the destruction in horror. Then Tank shouts "The scuttling charge!" and hurries towards the aft hatch to disable the explosives. Five seconds later, as the Chief throws a rope to Tyler, Tank can be seen standing motionless behind him, still staring at the destruction in horror. (00:48:30)
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)
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.
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.
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 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)
Continuity mistake: In both scenes when the sub is being depth charged, how come the lights keep coming on even though you see them blowing out?
Continuity mistake: When Mazzola is shot in the engine room he takes down the German, first he has hold of the German by the neck, then the collar, then the neck, then the collar again. (01:08:35)
Continuity mistake: At the very beginning U571 is being depth charged and forced to surface but the attacking destroyer has disappeared. (00:08:20)
Continuity mistake: When the German in the bunk goes to shoot Matthew McConaughey, the man fires but the bullet doesn't hit the wall, only about 2 feet away, for a much longer time than it would have really taken. Also, when the American soldiers pass by the spot a few minutes later where the bullet hit (when they are looking at the dead German's ring) the bullet hole has suddenly disappeared. (00:43:40)
Continuity mistake: When the U-571 goes to 200m, it springs a bunch of leaks and everybody gets soaked. Then, there is a shot looking past Tank's left shoulder at Tyler and the chief talking. In this shot, Tank's shoulder is completely dry. The camera angle changes and then changes back, and in the next shot at this same angle Tank's coat is now dripping with water. (01:35:50)
Continuity mistake: When Mazzola dies, his eyes are initially open. The German captain pushes him away, and just before Mazzola's face goes out of camera he closes his eyes. In the next shot of him lying on his back on the floor, his eyes are open again.