Continuity mistake: When the plane flies over the U-571, an overhead shot shows Tyler and Mazzola looking up at the plane while Trigger and Rabbit wave from beside the deck gun. Then Tyler orders the men to wave at the plane.

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)

Factual error: Several times the movie shows two torpedoes side by side, fired off simultaneously. This was not possible in German U-Boats, a simple timer prevented this and delayed firing the second or more torpedo by a few seconds. Torpedoes in WWII were prone to premature detonation and without this mechanism, one premature detonation could ignite a whole salvo, a significant risk of killing the sub that fired them.


Factual error: It takes a whole of two minutes from the discovery of the boarding party and the cry "Alarm" till the first Americans even enter the command central of U-571, and another almost 90 seconds till they secure the radio room. German subs were under strict orders to destroy all secret material the instant they had reason to believe a boarding was probable. To that end, all code books were printed in water-soluble inks on water-soluble paper, and even the electrical connections inside the rotors of the enigma machine were seawater-soluble. (Admittedly the latter was more with the idea of enemies salvaging sunk boats in mind, and I have no information on how fast that decay would have happened) All it would have taken is to lift up one of the floor plates and drop the stuff into the bilge below. And yes, since German subs of the era didn't have answering machines, the radio room would be manned around the clock. For that reason, boarding actions of that sort had to be above all lightning-fast. Dramatic as the fight scene is, in reality it would have ensured that the boarding party came away empty-handed. (00:38:30 - 00:41:45)

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Continuity mistake: When the Americans are first diving U-571, the Chief recommends "closing main vents". Tyler runs over and starts spinning two large red wheels. Each time the scene cuts back to him, he is spinning the wheels in a different direction. Left than right, than left again.

Grumpy Scot

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)

Factual error: Submariners are trained to always listen to the sounds of the boat, since anything out of the ordinary could mean death. Given that training, the small size of a German U-boat and the less-than-skeleton crew aboard it is not possible that the sounds of the fight in the forward torpedo room, or the sounds of the German commander operating the chain on the torpedo loading rail would have gone unnoticed or uninvestigated for so long.


Factual error: At the beginning of the film the diesel fuel in the German U-boat is shown being ignited by a spark and bursting into flames during the depth charge attack as if it were gasoline. In reality diesel fuel is quite hard to ignite when not compressed and does not burn quite so readily as shown in the film. (00:06:05)


Factual error: The movie used 3 "dive" commands and 3 blasts of the klaxon to dive. This is incorrect. The command to dive is repeated twice and the diving klaxon is sounded twice. Command to surface is 3 and 3.

Plot hole: In the movie the German sub is in the middle of the Atlantic about 1500 miles from the American coast the American submarine is an S-Class boat which had a top speed on the surface of 12 Knots even less underwater and it spent part of the trip submerged. This means that it would have taken them at least 5 or 6 days to reach the German Sub. This is 1942 There would have been dozens of other German subs a lot closer who could have come to their rescue.

Clarence Daugette

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.

Revealing mistake: When the German destroyer is hit by the torpedo at the end of the film it is seen to stop dead in the water upon the torpedo impact. In reality momentum would have carried the ship forward some distance after the explosion. A thousand or so tons of steel just does not stop on a dime unless it hits something like a mountainside.


Other mistake: As the Germans open fire on the British sailors in a life boat, there is a panning shot of the crew. In this shot, a hair (or scratch) that made its way onto the film itself is visible on screen. (00:27:20)

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U-571 mistake picture

Continuity mistake: Just after unveiling the Nazi plates on the SS-33, there are 3 seamen wearing brown jackets next to the deck gun. When the shot changes there are 4. (00:25:00)

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Visible crew/equipment: Just as the SS-33 sets off we see the crew on board say "all ahead two thirds". As they say this the camera moves behind a ladder resulting in a camera shadow on the ladder. (00:20:50)

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U-571 mistake picture

Continuity mistake: During the mission briefing, the position of the Top Secret folder changes from the centre of the map to the side of the map between instant cuts. (00:23:30)

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U-571 mistake picture

Continuity mistake: Tyler states he doesn't know what's going on to a few seamen and tells them to do their jobs. As the shot changes the seamen have all disappeared from the background. (00:14:50)

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U-571 mistake picture

Continuity mistake: When Tyler is out on the deck, he has his hand raised. When the "boat secure" order is shouted it's now lowered and holding on to his glass. (00:12:10)

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Lt. Commander Mike Dahlgren: Relax gentlemen. She's old... but she'll hold.

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

Question: Throughout the film you can see that Tank, played by Dave Power, has funny-looking thin black scars on both cheeks. Was this a makeup effect for the character (and if so, why did they do it), or does the actor really have these scars on his cheeks (and if so, what from)?

Answer: The scars you see on Tank's face are fake, pure makeup. They wanted the character to have a gritty look.

More questions & answers from U-571

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