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 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.

Correction: Yes, the words are reversed, however in the DVD version the director says this was done on purpose since that's the way the sailors made their beds.

Corrected entry: Once the survivors are in the U-boat the black character mans the controls. He's the cook, how does he now how to operate the controls?

Correction: Every man on the submarine learns the controls since they're out at sea for so long and it is so crucial to be able to run the submarine at all times.

Corrected entry: When the German electrician is tapping that Morse code message, how can the guy who says what it is (who doesn't speak German), understand what he is saying. The message should be "Ich bin U-571. Zerstören Sie mich," since he can't speak any English. (He didn't answer the questions because of that.)

Correction: It was translated by the young sailor who could speak fluent German.

Corrected entry: When the American Navy is called to their assignment, the welders working on the submarine are welding without safety goggles. I would think that in the Navy they would teach basic safety precautions.

Correction: The reason the welders weren't wearing goggles was that the effects of the damage of welding wasn't really apparent at that time and only after long term exposure did they find out the damage to the eye. Also if you look above the arc that's created when wire welding, you won't be blinded by the light and still be able to direct the welder where you need to weld.

Factual error: When the boarding party are eating dinner on SS-33 before the raid, some of their spanking-new, freshly pressed Kriegsmarine utility uniforms (strange in itself) have breast eagles on the left chest instead of the right. I've never seen any German Wehrmacht uniform with an eagle on the left.

More mistakes in U-571

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

More quotes from U-571

Trivia: Matthew McConaughey didn't like his character's background, so he asked that it be changed from the original, not being promoted because he was a drunk, to basically never making a decision that might cost someone their life.

David Robertson

More trivia for U-571

Question: At first we learn that Tyler is not getting his own submarine, but then a few scenes later and he's being fired from the navy. What happened?

Answer: Technically he's not getting fired, but Dahlgren did not recommend Tyler for his own command, and he won't get a promotion without Dahlgren's recommendation. Therefore, Tyler's only choices are to keep being an executive officer (which is possible but not what he wants, not to mention Tyler feels betrayed by Dahlgren and isn't sure he wants to continue working with him), or leave the navy entirely.


More questions & answers from U-571

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