Pearl Harbor

Corrected entry: When Rafe goes to the hotel to tell Evelyn he's going to England it is night time and dark outside. When he tells her, there is a window behind him, it's light outside, and a modern bus-stop can be seen.

Correction: It is the light from inside the hotel lobby. A modern bus-stop isn't visible at all.

Corrected entry: Two men are seated on a stage painting the side of their ship when torpedos hit. There is no ship's maintenance work done prior to 0800 and certainly not on a Sunday unless it's of an essential nature.

Correction: I was in the army and had gotten in trouble many times. Punishment included doing work when everybody else is not - it's called in house punishment and is covered by the UCMJ. If was 8am Sunday rest and these guys were working then they had committed a transgression, stood before the captain and were ordered to paint the ship until the captain was tired.

Corrected entry: The landstripe seen at the bottom of the Cliffs of Dover in the Battle of Britain scene shouldn't be there. It was created as the Brits built their side of the Eurotunnel, completed in 1994...

Correction: The "landstrip" referred to is the rock ledge visible at lower tides below the Seven Sisters in East Sussex. I know as I live near there and saw the sequence being shot (before the CGI was added!). They are often used to represent the cliffs near Dover (e.g. as in Atonement) as they are both whiter and uncluttered with the port infrastructure.

Corrected entry: In the scene when Jimmy Dolittle is standing on the carrier talking to Rafe about the reason for the Raid there is no wind. This is impossible as the Hornet was steaming at over 30 Knots which means there would have been a wind of over 30 miles an hour going across the deck and it would have been heaving up and down as the seas were rough for the trip.

Clarence Daugette

Correction: This phenomenon is called 'apparent wind'. If they are traveling the same direction as the wind at roughly the same speed, they would not feel the wind.

Phixius Premium member

For this to happen, the wind would have to only come from one direction. The wind doesn't stay in the same direction for any length of time, especially when it is blowing at 30 knots.

terry s

Correction: The carrier would be sailing into the wind as the B25s would be taking off soon.

When they actually launched they were still 10 hours away from actual take off, they didn't go against the wind yet. They had to do that the moment the decision was made to launch.


Correction: Firstly, there is definitely wind, their jackets are all bulged up. Secondly, the trip took 2 weeks. It wasn't bad weather the entire way and they were talking about the medals days before April 18th when the weather was rougher. They intentionally did the operation before the end of April when the weather was going to turn bad.


Corrected entry: About half an hour into the film, the American president is holding a meeting to discuss sending more tanks, bullets, Britain and Russia. he refers to Britain as Brits. Britain has only been called this in the last 10-15 years.


Correction: No, I distinctly remember Britons being called "Brits" when I was a child growing up in the 70s in North America. The music industry in the UK has the Brit Awards, which were started in 1977. Also, the people of Britain were called Brits, not the country itself. The word has been around a long time, not just 10-15 years.


Corrected entry: When Rafe says, "Why the hell is the navy practicing this early on a Sunday morning?", his mouth isn't matching what he's saying. (01:27:35)

Correction: The reason why it's not matching is because it's Danny who's saying those lines, not Rafe.

Corrected entry: When the bombers crash land in China more than one crew member is killed. In real life only 1 man from the raid was killed. 71 escaped and 8 were captured, four of whom were executed as war criminals by the Japanese.

Correction: Actually, one died whilst bailing out and two died from drowning during the mission. Eight were captured, three of whom were executed by the Japanese and one died of malnutrition as a POW.

terry s

Corrected entry: When they are attaching the medals to the bomb, they are attached to the front of the bomb near the trigger button. In real life they were attached to the tail fins. It probably wouldn't be a good idea to attach anything near the trigger as it could cause a malfunction.

terry s

Correction: See note in the header of this movie regarding historical inaccuracies. They are not considered valid for this movie.


Corrected entry: There were no pilots from Pearl who participated in the Doolittle raid much less fighter pilots who would have needed to get retrained for bomber pilot flying which is too different from fighter plane piloting.

terry s

Correction: This is a historical drama not a documentary. Creative license is allowed.

Phixius Premium member

Corrected entry: The B25s the Doolittle Raiders used were heavily modified for the mission. One modification was removal of the radios, both to save weight and to eliminate the chance of an accidental transmission giving them away. Another was that the only guns on the planes were a single .30 cal machine gun in the nose and a .50 cal gun turret on top of the plane. Tail guns were never part of the plan, since a B25 could outrun most fighters. In the movie the planes seem to have more guns than they did, not to mention radios.

Correction: B-25's didn't have tail guns but black broom sticks were added to make it look like they had tail guns.

terry s

Corrected entry: In the scene where Danny and Evelyn find out Rafe has been shot down in Europe it's raining with lots of thunder and lightning. Lightning is VERY rare in Hawaii.

Correction: Very rare doesn't mean impossible. I lived there for 6 months, not far from Pearl Harbor, and experienced thunder and lightning storms twice.


Corrected entry: During the scene where the U.S.S Oklahoma is sinking and is almost completely upside down. An explosion goes on the ship that throws people off the ship and into the air. One person gets blown straight through the propeller with the propeller still staying clean and holeless.

Correction: A human body isn't nearly hard enough to penetrate or leave a hole in a solid steel/brass/whatever-sort-of metal-was-used propeller. If you watch closely, the sailor's upper body snaps backwards as he strikes the blade, passing underneath instead; he doesn't go "through" it.

Corrected entry: In the scene when the attack starts there are many people doing their everyday activities. But the Japanese attack started at 7:55 on Sunday! At this time most people not on duty would be sleeping, or at least having breakfast, especially children. However, the children at the time of the attack are already playing baseball, posing as angels etc. In real life there would be much less people outside.

Correction: This occured in 1941. 7:55 AM is not that terribly early, for any day of the week. I grew up in the 70's, and on a Saturday, it was not unusual for me to be outside playing well before 8 AM. Unless you were there to take a census on who was up, and who was sleeping, you can't assume people slept late as is more common today. For one, church attendance was a higher percentage then compared to now, and it's likely a lot of people would have been getting ready for church. Also, in military families, rising early is common practice, and a habit one gets into when even loosely associated with the military.

Corrected entry: When the attack force is spotted on radar, the officer who decides it is a flight of B-17s is addressed as "Lieutenant". However, he is wearing an Army uniform, thus the two silver bars on his epaulets would denote the rank of Captain (O-3). (01:20:25)

Correction: Which is nothing more than a character mistake. A recruit who hasn't been in the army for a long time, usually having a lieutenant as a superior, not having paid attention or the Captain just got promoted and the guy isn't used to it yet.

Ronnie Bischof

Corrected entry: Crashing into the English Channel at full speed, like Rafe did when he was shot down by the Messerschmitt, and then surviving the crash, is physically impossible. In the movie the airplane "dives" into the water, while in real life, it would just disintegrate against the surface of the water and the pilot would, most probably, be catapulted out of his seatbelts and then through his canopy into the water (And needless to add: he would definitely not survive).

Correction: You cannot say that, we have no indication about speed of the aircraft, exact angle of impact or any other detail that is necessary to tell how the airframe would respond to the water. And whether he would survive or not you can't tell either, two examples to show you what a body can bare: three fighter pilots who were shot down in WWII survived a free fall from over 5000m as they landed in a wood and there was a yugoslavian stewardess who fell out of an aircraft after a bombing at flightlevel 300 (10 km) and she survived the fall!

Ronnie Bischof

Corrected entry: When the bombing starts, someone asks Danny "What the hell is going on out there?" and Danny replies. "I think World War II just started." World War I was called The Great War until the 1950s, so there is no way Danny would know anything about the possibility of a sequel.

Correction: World War: first attested 1909 as a speculation, probably a translation of German "Weltkrieg". Applied to the first one soon after it began in 1914. "World War I" coined 1939, replacing "Great War" as the most common name for it; "First World War" first attested 1947. "World War II" so-called since 1939; "Second World War" is from 1942.


Corrected entry: While training for the Tokyo raid, Dolittle is the first to get his B-25 to take off in the allotted distance. In the shot that shows his plane lifting off as he crosses the line on the runway, the flag in the background shows he is taking off with the wind. Airplanes always take off INTO the wind whenever possible, especially when trying to keep the takeoff roll short.

Correction: It's correct that you try to start into the wind whenever possible, however we can't say that they didn't try to take off with the wind anyway, plus there could be wind changes. I personally had that when I once landed at an airfield, strong winds from the left however suddenly a wind from the right caught me offhand and nearly turned my plane over. No mistake in that scene.

Ronnie Bischof

Corrected entry: At the start of the attack on Pearl Harbor there are large explosions and noise which makes Danny and Rafe wake up suddenly, but why are there a shot of sailors fishing like nothing's going on around them? (01:25:15)


Correction: They are not woken up by the explosions, they are woken up by the airplanes flying so near them. They even comment on "practicing this early on a Sunday" - practice does not involve blowing things up.

Corrected entry: In the middle of the film during the attack on Pearl Harbor, some of the Japanese are attacking the smaller airfields. We see Danny, Rafe and a few other pilots speeding away in a car. Various shots in this scene we see that the road goes from grass and dirt to concrete between shots. (01:36:45)


Correction: Many possible reasons for this. The route from one airfield to the other probably isn't "concrete" all the way. So the different "road" type just suggests that the other airfield isn't easy to get to. Or more simply, they were trying to escape/avoid being shot at. Therefore they got off the road so that they're not easy targets on the road.


Corrected entry: When Danny and Evelyn are in a cafe and Danny is telling Evelyn what Rafe and Danny did as kids, the position of Evelyn's hands keeps changing. (00:51:30)


Correction: That's probably becuase she keeps moving them. If it's between shots it should be stated, along with some more specific info.

Pearl Harbor mistake picture

Visible crew/equipment: After Evelyn tells Rafe that she is pregnant, she walks away and leaves him standing by the gas pumps. The camera zooms out and a boom mic comes into view in the upper right hand corner. (02:17:25)

Low Cow
More mistakes in Pearl Harbor

Rafe: Ma'am, I'm never gonna be an English teacher, but I know why I'm here, to be a pilot, and you don't dogfight with manuals, you don't fly with gauges, I mean it's all about feeling and speed and lettin' that plane become like it's apart of your body, and that manual says that a guy who's a slow reader can't be a good pilot... That file says I'm the *best* pilot in this room... Ma'am, please... Don't take my wings.

More quotes from Pearl Harbor

Trivia: When the Japanese are heading towards Pearl Harbor, there is a shot of a pilot waving to kids playing baseball. This is a true story - the pilot was trying to wave them away before the attack started. (01:26:35)

More trivia for Pearl Harbor

Join the mailing list

Separate from membership, this is to get updates about mistakes in recent releases. Addresses are not passed on to any third party, and are used solely for direct communication from this site. You can unsubscribe at any time.