Continuity mistake: When Rafe and Evelyn go to the Queen Mary ship and they are rising on the platform, and kissing, one camera shot shows them rising and when they stop the camera does a close up and you can see they are still at the red painted water line indicator. The next shot shows them above it again.
Continuity mistake: In the scene near the beginning of the movie where Rafe is being reprimanded by Maj. Doolittle for stunt flying, Rafe starts to talk about the various accomplishments that Doolittle has to his credit. The scene shifts to Doolittle and you can see in the background some of the trophies that he won in various air races and endurance tests. One of the trophies has a small model of an F-86 Sabre jet. The scene takes place in early 1941 and the F-86 didn't exist until the 1950's. In fact, jets weren't around until the end of the war and mostly in the hands of the Germans. (00:05:50)
Continuity mistake: During the scene when Rafe and Danny are in the P-40's shooting down a few of the Japanese planes, they fly through some smoke from the burning ships, their prop wash makes the smoke swirl all around. But, a few minutes before that, when two Zero's fly through some smoke, the smoke doesn't move at all, almost as though the planes were never really there...
Continuity mistake: As the Doolittle Raiders are taking off from the aircraft carrier there are several sweeping views of the carrier task force as the planes fly off. The decks of the carriers are obviously modern US carriers with the landing portion of the flight deck angled out about 10° from the catapult direction of the flight deck. (02:28:30)
Continuity mistake: In the scene in front of the hotel on the night before Rafe ships out to England, Evelyn puts a scarf around his neck. There is a camera shot from his back: no scarf; then another one from his front, and he's wearing the scarf again. (00:27:10)
Continuity mistake: At the very end of the movie when Rafe is flying with little Danny, the faraway shots of the plane show that the pilot is wearing an aviator cap and goggles. The close up shots show Rafe with no hat on and little Danny with the cap and goggles. But from far away, the person with the cap and goggles can't possibly be little Danny.
Continuity mistake: In the scene showing the ship's deck while the ship is sinking and people are falling off of the deck, etc. clearly visible on either side of the deck are huge ship chains. These chains never sag from gravity as the ship is turning on its side. They don't even move.
Continuity mistake: Near the beginning when Rafe is in a train seat looking out the window at his girl, she is standing next to a stainless steel round end observation car with the name "Silver Horizon" in plain view. This car was built for the California Zephyr which didn't begin service until 1948. As Rafe's train begins to move, you can see the car's California Zephyr car number also.
Continuity mistake: When the final planes take off from the aircraft carrier to bomb Tokyo, the captain gives the order for extra speed. But when the second and third planes take off, you can see that the carrier is safely moored with three anchor chains at the front of the ship and not going anywhere.
Continuity mistake: After Doolittle's bombing raid on Tokyo and the planes are flying towards China, the sun is setting behind the planes. The planes are flying west, so they should be flying towards the setting sun.
Continuity mistake: In the scene when Danny and Evelyn are at the restaurant after they hear the news about Rafe's death, as the camera comes in on them from outside her milkshake is full to the point of overflowing but when they switch angles to show them from the inside the milkshake is half gone. (00:54:55)