Pearl Harbor

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.


Corrected entry: When Danny and Evelyn are in the Black Cat Diner, a Volkswagen bus goes by. Volkswagen was started by Hitler and not introduced to the US until much later. (00:55:10)

Correction: The vehicle that drives by has a driver in front, and four rows behind that (with two sailors sitting in the rear). No VW bus ever built was that large. The vehicle is more likely some sort of transit bus.

Corrected entry: Evelyn is six months pregnant or so when the Doolittle Raid happens, but she hasn't gained an ounce.

Correction: I am a gynaecologist, and though this condition is uncommon it is entirely possible. I have treated women who were six months pregnant and didn't even know!

Corrected entry: The B-25 had no way to accept more fuel from inside the plane.

Correction: A 60 gallon leak proof tank was installed in place of the lower turret which had an accessible filler neck. Ten five gallon cans of gasoline were carried in the rear compartment where the radio operator usually sat.

Corrected entry: Betty tells Evelyn she "enlisted" in the Navy. Nurses are officers; they do not enlist, they are commissioned. (Yes, the distinction is an important one.)

Correction: She can still enlist and be an officer by going through OCS(officer commissioning school).

Corrected entry: The film lasted the same length of time as the actual attack.

Correction: Attack began at 7:55am. Second wave at 8:55am. Attack is over at 10am. "The Japanese aircrews achieved complete surprise when they hit American ships and military installations on Oahu shortly before 8:00 a.m. When the attack ended shortly before 10:00 a.m., less than two hours after it began.Click here for more information. Movie is 183 minutes (3 hours 3 minutes).


Corrected entry: Danny's father is a crop duster in 1923. The problem with that being that cropdusting didn't come about until after World War II.

Correction: Crop dusting started in August 1921, when a World War I plane was used to "dust" a field to get rid of Catalpa sphinx moths. This started crop dusting, and many people got into crop dusting, including Delta Airlines who started Delta Dusters, in the 1920s. Click for Source

Corrected entry: Major Jackson brings Evelyn to the typing pool so she can be present when the raid goes down. He tells her the raid will happen in an hour or two. Yet in subsequent scenes we learn that Dolittle had to advance his launch by TWELVE hours. There is NO WAY Major Jackson could have known to have Evelyn there.

Correction: in the context of the movie, Once word had reached Pearl that the planes had taken off from the ships, those assigned to monitor the raid could be called in early. There would be time between take-off and bombing when the appropriate people could be called in, and as such Major Jackson could have called Evelyn in.

Corrected entry: When the scene goes to Japan with the Admiral talking, just before, you see the Japanese flag. This is an old flag, but after the attack on Tokyo, as the planes land in China, you can see that the flag on the ground is the modern Japanese flag.

Correction: The "modern" Japanese flag has been in use since 1870 (excepting for some change in dimensions). both flags are correctly used. The one with the "rays" was a battle flag and not the flag representing the country.

Correction: That is not Bruce Willis, but a young extra who has a striking resemblence to Bruce.

Corrected entry: When Evelyn first enters Pearl Harbor, there is a tall building that clearly says, "Est. 1953." Obviously this is a little ahead of the times.

Correction: I've scoured the film for this building, and it really doesn't appear to exist. Unless someone can find proof (i.e. a screenshot or timecode), it's got to be marked as invalid.


Corrected entry: Please note that Japanese aircraft carriers had their "island" superstructures on the port (left) side of the flight deck. In the movie, the "island" is on the starboard (right)side. Of course, the USS Lexington was used for both the Japanese and American carriers, and it's no doubt difficult to move the superstructure.

Correction: Of the 6 Japanese carriers that took part in the attack on Pearl Harbour only 2 had their islands on the port side. Those were also the only 2 carriers ever made like that because it was discovered that pilots tended to veer left in case of an emergency and that led to accidents. It is conceivable that the shot in question was meant to represent one of the other 4 carriers that were in the Japanese fleet.

Corrected entry: When Rafe and team-mates are at the second airfield, the Japanese planes have not attacked yet. But as the Americans make a run for the hangars, two of the P-40 fighters are in flames already.

Correction: The Japanese planes flew over them as they drove to the airfield, and obviously got there first.

Corrected entry: When Ben Affleck tells Josh Hartnet he knows an airport 10 minutes away while the Japanese were bombing the one they were at, they were on Ford Island. At the time there was no bridge and the only way off was a half hour ferry ride, if the ferry was on the side you needed it on. The airport they went to was on the mainland of Oahu.

Correction: As the attack begins, the men are shown in a car watching the attack on Ford Island across the harbor. They spent the night in the car on the main island.

Corrected entry: The name of the Hawaiian town "Haleiwa" is mispronounced each time the town's name is mentioned in the movie. It should be prounounced like "hall-le-eve-uh" and not "hall-lee-eva."

Correction: I was stationed in Hawaii for three years and the military personnel there were always mispronouncing local names. This may be a mistake but it's accidentally quite accurate.

Corrected entry: As the Japanese planes roar over the Hawaiian Islands into Pearl Harbor, they fly over boys playing baseball; hardly a reasonable occurance at 8am on a Sunday morning.

Correction: This, in fact, did happen. See the following page Click here. The 15th entry states that this is incorrectly regarded as a goof.

Corrected entry: When Evelyn is woken up to the attack she's wearing her hair hanging loose. At the hospital she's wearing it in two French braids, one on each side of her head. Now this takes at least 10 - 15 minutes to fix and she would most likely need someone to help her. So she just stopped and arranged her hair in a nice hairdo before she went to the hospital?

Correction: It's quite possible she was able to do her own hair. I can do two French braids in about five minutes, and as a nurse, she would want her hair put up in a way that wouldn't get in the way.

Corrected entry: When Danny and Rafe meet Dolittle after Pearl Harbor, they're both promoted to Captains, yet for the remainder of the film they both continue to wear their Lt. bars

Correction: When an officer is promoted, he/she does not necessarily get the new pins/bars noting their new rank right away, nor would they receive their new pay right away. In today's military, sometimes more than a year can pass before the promoted officer will be "pinned" which means getting their new pins/bars in a small ceremony and getting their official pay raise.

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

Admiral Yamamoto: I fear all we have done is to awaken a sleeping giant.

More quotes from Pearl Harbor

Trivia: Despite the numerous historical errors and gaffs in the movie, the only historical "fact" the filmmakers managed to do research on (and admit to supposedly) is that they consulted bottle collectors on what types of bottles to use during the battle scenes to administer blood.

More trivia for Pearl Harbor

Question: The IMDb lists a cameo by Matt Damon during the attack sequence. Can someone point out exactly where he appears?

Answer: He is in the scene where the smaller air-base is being attacked by the japanese. You have to look really closely but he is the driver of one of the jeeps right before the japanese bomb drops (the one that seems to be a dud and then explodes). Also, Matt seems to be one of the gunners on one of the first ships at Pearl Harbor to return fire (this is not verified but in slo-mo, one of the gunners seems to be him).

More questions & answers from 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.

Check out the mistake & trivia books, on Kindle and in paperback.