Midway

Factual error: American carriers did not have angled decks until after W.W.II.

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Factual error: Several shots identifying the American and Japanese carriers are actually those of late W.W.II and Korean War era Essex-class carriers.

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Factual error: When we see Midway before the Japanese attack the US flags that are flying have 50 stars on them, instead of 48 as there should have been at the time.

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Helvellyn

Factual error: During the Battle of the Coral Sea, an admiral orders that the TBD's (Torpedo Bomber, Douglas) be launched. The planes launched, however, are TBF's (Torpedo Bomber, Grumman), which look nothing like a TBD.

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Factual error: There are numerous shots of stock footage showing planes that weren't in service at the time of Midway, notably the Corsair, which didn't see carrier service until 1944, as well as the Helldiver, the Hellcat, etc.

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Factual error: The plane that Charlton Heston crashes onto the deck, at the end of the film, is a jet, not yet made during the 40's.

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Factual error: Some of the stock footage used in the battle sequences are actually just out-takes from the movie The Battle of Britain. Long shots showing dogfighting planes from that movie appear several times during Midway's combat scenes. In the torpedo attack on the Yorktown, one of the burning Japanese bombers is actually, on closer inspection, a German Heinkel, another borrowed shot from the B.O.B.

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Factual error: One scene shows a American battleship shooting down Japanese planes attacking the Yorktown. At Midway, which was less than 6 months after Pearl Harbor, the Pacific Fleet had no battleships in service. Very quick shot, blink and you miss it.

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Mistakes

During the scene when Torpedo Eight squadron is slaughtered during its attack on Nagumo's carriers, Ensign George Gay's aircraft changes appearance several times. This is due to the different snippets of wartime footage being cobbled together. When the squadron commences its attack, his plane is a Vindicator. When his plane is the last one left, it has changed into an SBD Dauntless. When Gay's plane has been hit and is diving towards the sea, it has become an Avenger. Finally, when his aircraft hits the water, it has become a Hellcat.

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Trivia

The film-makers only had three vintage US aircraft for the production, namely two F4F Wildcat fighters and a PBY Catalina search plane. All of the other aircraft that appear are from either wartime footage or from previous war movies.

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