The Final Countdown

Factual error: Listening to a radio broadcast, live, since no other indication is given, Joe Louis is completing the 12th round of a fight. This is December 6, 1941. Joe's last fight of 1941 occurred in September, his next fight was January 1942. (00:00:10)

Factual error: When Captain Yelland is shown the reconnaissance photo taken over Pearl Harbor by his own plane, it is identical to the historic photo from Commander Faraday's files. If you look at the picture, you can see 2 torpedo wakes heading towards the ship in the center of the photo. This is confirmed by the Discovery Channel's "Death of the Arizona" program. The photo was taken just as the attack began, and at this time in the movie, the attack was still a day ahead.

Factual error: Pearl Harbor is said to be 280 miles away from the USS Nimitz. An F8 Crusader on a recon mission to the harbor reports unusual shipping traffic, and that he will make another pass for a close-up series of photos. The CAG then immediately states the F8's ETA (estimated time of arrival) back to Nimitz is 12 minutes. At its maximum speed of 1,225mph, it will need to skip the second pass entirely to have any hope of returning in 12 minutes. (00:23:55 - 00:27:25)

johnrosa

Factual error: All the aircraft embarked onboard the USS Nimitz are part of Carrier Air Wing Eight, and carry the correct tail code 'AJ' for that wing. CVW-8 was Atlantic assigned, as was the Nimitz herself at that time. A Pacific based CVW uses the 'Nx' codes.

Gary Stedman

Factual error: The Nimitz's position is not indicated, but most probably it is somewhere south or southwest of Pearl Harbour. Similarly, it is not indicated where the Senator's boat is sailing, but it should be somewhere west or southwest of Pearl Harbour. The two Japanese Zeroes encounter the boat and strafe it, but their flight seems to indicate they would be headed toward Pearl Harbour (or at least some populated island surely) which would indicate they were headed north or northeast. If that were the case, they certainly flew in a large circle around the island chain, which seems unrealistic in terms of fuel, distance, and reconnaissance use. Also they would have had to have flown between the Nimitz and the pleasure craft then headed back toward Pearl Harbour, which makes even less sense in the movie.

The Final Countdown mistake picture

Continuity mistake: When Lasky heads toward the conning tower, an A-7 Corsair is shown at left (and the helicopter nose has a number "3" on it). As he is led inside the tower, the camera pans up, and now the Corsair is gone, replaced by an E-2 Hawkeye (and the number "3" on the heli is gone, too). (00:06:45)

johnrosa

More mistakes in The Final Countdown

Captain Yelland: If the United States falls under attack our job is to defend her in the past, present and future.
Lasky: And after that?
Captain Yelland: After that, we take our orders from the Commander in Chief of the United States Armed Forces.
Lasky: Franklin Delano Roosevelt?

More quotes from The Final Countdown

Trivia: For the memorable confrontation between two Japanese Mitsubishi A6M Zeroes and two American F-14 Tomcats, a trial flyby was close enough that powerful air turbulence from the passing jets violently threw both Zeroes out of control for a few seconds, like toys. The lead Zero pilot even lost his wristwatch and communications headset, which were vacuumed out of the open canopy. Out of radio contact for several seconds, the condition of the Zero pilots was unknown. Camera angles and distances between all the aircraft were modified so as not to further endanger the Zeroes for the final take as seen in the film.

Charles Austin Miller

More trivia for The Final Countdown

Question: Wasn't President Roosevelt's "Four Freedoms" speech as heard in the movie given before Congress on January 6, 1941? The movie, or some of it, takes place December 6th/7th 1941.

Answer: FDR's Four Freedoms speech (which was his eighth State of the Union address) was originally given on January 6, 1941, some months before Japan attacked Pearl Harbor on December 7, 1941. The filmmakers appear to have deliberately compressed the two historical events to emphasize the dramatic change in the world. FDR gave the speech to gain public support for the U.S. aiding Britain and the other allied forces, even though it was not yet involved in the war.

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