Corrected entry: A depth charge explodes right off the starboard bow, and the whole front end of the sub actually bends and snaps back. The force of the explosion wouldn't cause it to bend, it would either break off completely or there would be a large hole.

Correction: It's very possible for the structure to distort without breaking.

Corrected entry: When the U-571 is being depth charged one of the men asks Chief if he has ever been depth charged before. He says "once, in World War I..." But during WWII they did not refer to the first world war as World War I. They still called it The Great War. It wasn't until after WWII that either war was referred to that way. (01:18:10)

Correction: It was commonly called "The Great War" or sometimes "the war to end all wars" until World War II, although the name "First World War" was coined as early as 1920 by Lt-Col à Court Repington in The First World War 1914–18.

Corrected entry: After the S-33 is torpedoed, Tyler and his men rig the U-571 for dive. Just before Wentz says "Opening midship valves; opening midship vents," someone else - I think it's the Chief - says "Opening ballast tanks." This makes no sense; the ballast tanks are the air tanks - you open them when you want to surface, not when you want to dive. (00:51:30)

Correction: Ballast tanks are opened so they can be filled with water to dive. The water is pumped out making the sub buoyant again to surface.

Grumpy Scot

Correction: Actually the ballast tank vents are what are ordered to open to dive. These are deck level and as air escapes water is drawn in from the always open bottoms of the ballast tanks.

Corrected entry: When Matthew McConaughey goes into the mess at the beginning of the film he obviously has a "number 1" haircut. By the time he has crossed the room to the bar his hair has miraculously grown by about an inch.

Correction: I have looked for this mistake over and over and I just can not see any difference in the length of Tyler's hair.

Corrected entry: Throughout this movie these guys were shooting off more rounds than Rambo. In an enclosed sub, wouldn't they be concerned with getting hit by their own bullets once they ricochet off the walls?

Correction: Sure they'd be concerned, but what's the difference if they get shot by their own bullets or German bullets? They're not going to run through the boat waiting to be shot, so it's an acceptable risk they are willing to take.

Corrected entry: Throughout the movie, when the sub is submerged, it show the submarine about 10 meters down, not 100, or 200 as the characters stated.

Correction: The shots of the sub are correct. The shots looking up at a vessel's props from only a few meters below the surface are of the Nazi destroyer, not the submarine.

Corrected entry: For the raid on U-571, Tyler chooses to dress as a German officer, thus making himself the most likely one of the boarding party to be addressed by the German crew, even though he speaks no German (which ultimately gave the deception away early). This tactical error is inexplicable, given that there were two fluent German speakers among the Americans.

Correction: As Tyler is noticeably older than other members of the crew, so it makes sense that he should be an officer. Besides, it wasn't his reluctance to talk that tipped the Germans off: one of the Germans saw Griggs pull out his machine gun, and that's what gave it away.

Corrected entry: Why does the German re-supply U-boat open fire on the disguised American sub when they are docked with U-571? The American Sub is disguised well enough to pass a visual inspection, and you'd think the Kriegsmarine sailors would be pleased to see some fellow Germans at sea. They certainly wouldn't simply open fire with torpedoes because they didn't recognise the other U-boat.

Correction: The German resupply sub was at periscope depth and must have been watching for a few minutes before opening fire. Seeing the boarding party from the American sub whip out machine guns and shoot the Germans on the U-571 was probably a big clue that they weren't all on the same side.

Corrected entry: After having his language skills tested, the German speaking Seaman Wentz implores Tyler not to reveal his half-German background to the other men, even though he openly uses a German surname.

Correction: Thousands of Americans have German surnames, without necessarily being 2nd generation immigrants. Open any phone book in USA and you will find people with German names, whose only connection to Germany is that their families came over more than a hundred years ago. Wentz could have claimed that his family had been in USA for generations and that he had no ties to Germany, if he was afraid of being suspected as a spy.


Corrected entry: The Germans drop the bombs down on the submarine at the rate of two every 5 or so seconds. So how come there are sometimes many many explosions around the submarine within a very short space of time?

Correction: I believe time was pushed ahead to skip to the explosions to make it seem like there were multiple explosions in a small period of time. Did you notice that after each explosion, the men appeared back in their seats almost instantaneously?

Corrected entry: They're actually using the U-571 to flee away from the German re-supply sub (the whole movie). Wasn't the U-571 broken? If it wasn't the German crew would have sailed to port long ago of course.

Correction: The German sub was damaged and could not get much power. Tank (from the American sub) mentions that the German mechanic (who got killed so someone else was doing the repairs, someone who worked in his uncle's motorcycle garage) did not know anything.

shortdanzr Premium member

Wasn't the mechanic uncooperative too? That adds to things as to why they didn't get repair knowledge from the Germans.

Corrected entry: The German commander is depicted eating a piece of fruit just prior to the depth charge attack against the U-571. No German commander would have done this. Food was strictly rationed and accounted for on the boat for various reasons - not the least of which was making sure there was enough to last for the duration of the patrol. If men were allowed to grab food and eat it as it suited them there would be no way to control its consumption. No commander would have set such a dangerous precedent by such wanton consumption.


Correction: He could have saved it from his last meal. I know when I was in boot camp, I would often save an apple or orange to eat a little later.

Grumpy Scot

Corrected entry: A grenade exploding in the control room of a U-boat would have destroyed and damaged many important controls and indicators - yet no damage appears to any of the controls in later shots.


Correction: It was a tear gas grenade. They are designed more like a can of hair spray, they have no explosive, just compressed propellants to discharge the gas.

Grumpy Scot

Corrected entry: Anybody with any mechanical knowledge seems to have been killed in the fire in the engine room, on a sub on patrol there would have been at least two watches, one working, one resting and both watches would not have been in the engine room at once.

Correction: When the alarms start ringing and the engine room is sustaining heavy damage, all the mechanics would have rushed in to fix it.

Grumpy Scot

Corrected entry: In the scene on the dock where the mess steward sees the lieutenant struggling to light a cigarette, he comes over and offers his lighter. The officer was actually facing away from the sailor, so how could the mess man even know the lieutenant could not light the cigarette?

Correction: If you look closely, the mess steward is not standing with his back to Tyler. He is walking by with Tyler on his left side. He glances over and sees Tyler having trouble lighting his cigarette.

Grumpy Scot

Corrected entry: Non-whites were not allowed in the "Submarine Navy" until the next decade.

Correction: Black men were allowed on submarines as cooks or stewards in WWII. In a sub everyone has to know two or three jobs. Often this was the only way for a black man to learn technical jobs like sonar or navigator.

Grumpy Scot

Corrected entry: The sailors - rightly so - become very frightened when the long range plane spots them. However no sub captain in his right mind would stay on the surface if he heard the sound of an aircraft - it was one of the lookout's primary tasks: alert the captain if they heard propellers, and prepare to dive.

Correction: U-571 was badly damaged. She might not be able to submerge quickly or for long periods, no matter what the lookout saw or heard.

Grumpy Scot

Corrected entry: When the US commandos are about to board U-571, we see a cocked MP-40 gun hanging from an officer's neck, which is hidden in his jacket. You don't just let those guns hang like that, or it'll fire off at the slightest shock. Not a very smart thing to do in a stormy sea.

Correction: The MP38 (which is identical to the MP40) had that defect. It was corrected in the MP40.

Grumpy Scot

Corrected entry: Enlisted submariners of that time period wore silver dolphins on their dress white uniforms (like the officers wore their gold ones in the movie) and not black embroidered dolphins on their sleeves.

Correction: WWII enlisted submariners did wear embroidered dolphins in their sleeves. In 1947 enlisted men were authorized to wear their dolphins on their breast. In 1950, the embroidered patch was replaced by a silver pin.

Corrected entry: When U-571 is supposedly at 200+ meters below the surface, the depth charges seem to be getting dropped into the water, as if they were 5 meters up, not sinking in the water as if they were 200+ meters down.

Correction: The shot of the depth charges DOES show them being dropped in at about 5 metres deep, because the view is from the back of the destroyer just below the waterline, not the back of the sub.

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.

More mistakes in U-571

Chief Klough: Those Krauts sure know how to build a boat.

More quotes from U-571

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.

More trivia for U-571

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