U-571

U-571 (2000)

49 mistakes

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....

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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.

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Audio problem: When they spot the long range plane circling the U boat Mazzola starts yelling saying, "Do something Rabbit." A quick shot later you notice that he is still talking but his mouth is not moving.

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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.

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Factual error: The yard set has a red and white stop sign. Stop signs during WWII were yellow with black letters

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Grumpy Scot

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?

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Audio problem: When the U-boat captain is called onto deck,he orders his machine gunner to fire at the sailors who are rowing towards them. As soon as he fires the ammo belt gets used up straight away, however the sound of the gun carries on for a short while longer.

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Factual error: Shortly after the crew of the S33 are forced to take to the U571 and destroy the German Supply Submarine Tyler announces that they will try to sail to Greenland or Land's End (England). From their mid-Atlantic position they would, therefore, need to sail east. In the next scene the submarine is seen on the surface sailing from left to right across the screen with the sun on the other side of them. Since from the North Atlantic the sun would always be to the south this must mean they are sailing west, away from Greenland and England and towards the United States.

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Other mistake: There is a scene where Eddie, the mess steward, is taunting the German prisoners while writing numbers on their chests. Watch his writing hand as he's working on 11. He makes an awful lot of strokes, including several horizontal ones. You can see from the next guy, 12, that Eddie's ones are just simple vertical lines, so there's no reason for him to have spent so much time writing on 11's chest. Except that it gave him time to say his whole line.

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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.

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Grumpy Scot

Revealing mistake: The German destroyer is actually an old converted minesweeper.

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Badbird

Revealing mistake: Almost at the end of the movie, the sub is being chased by a German destroyer. One of the destroyer cannon shots hits the stern portion of the U-Boat (where the diesel and electric motors are located). That hit should have instantly killed Tank (in the electric motors room) and maybe also Trigger (they are both working to fix the stern torpedo tube). This event reminds you that this is just a movie.

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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.

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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.

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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.

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Badbird

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.

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Badbird

Factual error: At the beginning of the film the depth charge attack is shown rupturing a diesel fuel line in the engine room, which showers the fuel DOWN on the crew stationed there. In fact the fuel lines ran UNDER the deck plates and so a broken line could not shower fuel in that manner.

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Badbird

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.

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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.

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Factual error: During scenes where U-571 is being depth charged you can hear active sonar pings. The Kreigsmarine never developed active sonar and used passive sonar (basically a very sensitive listening device) instead.

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Factual error: When Tyler asks Tank "what's the status of the torpedo tube?" His hand is on the periscope tube and it spins freely That tube has many seals on it and is stiffer then that.

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Continuity mistake: At the very beginning U571 is being depth charged and forced to surface but the attacking destroyer has disappeared.

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Deliberate mistake: When the Americans are in the U-571 battling the resupply sub, Tank gets the engines running and starts the sub moving forward. There is an exterior shot of the sub's propellers, with the port prop turning counterclockwise and the starboard prop turning clockwise. Then Tyler wants to turn right to heading 010, and he orders "Starboard back full", which should reverse the direction of the starboard propeller to help turn the sub. Two exterior shots later, however, the props are shown still turning exactly the same way they were before Tank reversed the starboard engine.

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Continuity mistake: After the German captain has attacked Tank and handcuffed him to the crane, the pattern of blood on Tank's face changes at least twice. First, he has two channels of blood running down the left side of his face under his nose and on his chin, and no blood on his lips or the right side of his face. Then, when Eddie and Tyler arrive, there is blood smeared all over Tank's nose and lips. Finally, after Tyler takes the cuff off and is yelling at Tank, all of a sudden there is a line of blood from Tank's nose across his cheek to his right ear.

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Deliberate mistake: In the scene near the end of the movie when Trigger is in the bilge trying to stop the air leak, the concussion of an artillery shell fired from the destroyer shakes some pipes loose. The mistake is that one of the flanges visible on a section of pipe has no bolt holes, making it impossible to join that pipe to anything.

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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.

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Badbird

Continuity mistake: Just after Mazzola's been killed, Tyler unlocks the handcuffs from Tank. The handcuff starts swinging as soon as Tank pulls his hand free, but in the next shot it's stopped moving.

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Continuity mistake: Mazzola has just been killed and when Tyler helps Tank, first he holds Tank using his left hand, then the next shot by his right.

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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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