Pearl Harbor

Corrected entry: When he is shot down, Rafe's Spitfire squadron initially engages a bomber formation. In the RAF, Spitfires were never sent after bombers. Because of their higher speed, they were always sent after the escorting fighters. It was the Hurricane squadrons that would be assigned to the bombers.

Correction: Air battles are very fluid affairs. While in practice, Spitfires where launched after German fighters, a sudden course change by the German fighter formation could potentially put them out of practical intercept range for any one formation of Spitfires. As such the airborne Spitfires might be diverted after a nearby bomber formation. Examination of the historical record will show many Spitfire pilots credited with bomber kills during the Battle of Britain.

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: Rafe is shown as being severely dyslexic, not suffering from a mild version of the condition as has been suggested elsewhere. He cannot even read an eye chart. The chances of such a person making it through even basic training, let alone flying school? NIL. Dyslexia wasn't even recognised as a condition in the Forties; he'd be regarded as an uneducated and illiterate rube and would be assigned the lowest standard of military duties.

Correction: If General George Patton, one of America's greatest generals during World War II, a dyslexic, can succeed in the Army during WWII, I'm pretty sure that Rafe could be a pilot. Nelson Rockefeller, Governor of New York and Vice President of the United States, and Winston Churchill, Prime Minister of the United Kingdom during WWII were also dyslexic. Find out more here: Story of Patton, Dyslexia Study, Robert Rauschenberg Other dyslexics include: Albert Einstein, Alexander Graham Bell, Leonardo da Vinci, Thomas Alva Edison, Woodrow Wilson, Michael Hesletine, Henry Ford, Hans Christian Anderson, Harvey Cushing, Pablo Picasso, Walt Disney, Stonewall Jackson, Enrico Caruso, Auguste Rodin, Michael Faraday, George Bush, Pablo Picasso, Danny Glover, Fred Astaire, George Burns, Henry Winkler, Tom Cruise, Richard Branson, Jay Leno, Cher, and Whoopi Goldberg were/are all dyslexics.

Rlvlk

Corrected entry: You can't be dyslexic and become a pilot, no matter how good looking you are or how much you impress the nurse. Apart from the literature which you have to be able to read and understand to pass your ground exams you would be unable to read a map accurately.

Correction: Being dyslexic myself, I can state that it totally depends on the severity of the dyslexia on how well the individual can read maps, literature, etc.

Rlvlk

Corrected entry: What are Navy nurses doing giving physicals to Army pilots? The Army has its own nurses.

Correction: While I was in the Army stationed on an Air Force Base, I saw Air Force doctors and nurses. A military hospital is a MILITARY hospital.

Rlvlk

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).

Serrabowler

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.

Corrected entry: In the scene outside the hospital, when numerous casualties are arriving, Bruce Willis can be seen. This shot has been lifted from Die Hard.

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.

Jez

Corrected entry: The Ben Affleck character is apparently 'transferred' to fly with the British in the Battle of Britain. This was 1940 when the USA was neutral and not at war with anyone. Sending a USAAF (Army Air Force) pilot to fly with the RAF in 1940 would have been a serious breach of neutrality.

Correction: This is incorrect. In most matters the US was neutral in name only and there were ten American pilots flying for the RAF in 1940, with the tacit approval of the USAAF. See Here.

Corrected entry: The scenes of fighter planes chasing each other are fanciful. The planes would never be so low (they look like thay're only ten feet off the ground), much less weaving between hangar buildings and warehouses at 250 mph. That kind of flying is impossible. Other similar shots, showing Japanese fighters flying between the masts of battleships, are equally unrealistic.

Correction: Most of the shots in the Pearl attack scene between P-40's and zeros were filmed live.

Corrected entry: In the scene where there is a camera on the bomb falling on the ship, it is clearly visible that the bomb in falling down vertically. It is well known that when bombs are released from bombers, they have an horizontal speed, which is the same of the bomber. Thus the trajectory is, as every high school student should know, a parabola.

Correction: A *dive bomber* released this bomb. As the name suggests, they dive towards their target before they release the bomb, therefore the bomb falls towards the target vertically.

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.

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 a part 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.

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