Pearl Harbor

Corrected entry: In the scene where Ben Affleck and other U.S. pilots are running around Pearl Harbor during the attack, trying to dodge bombs and shoot at planes, he is carrying a civilian Thompson submachine gun. His tommy gun has a round "drum" clip, but the military specification M1A1 Thompson was not built to fit a drum clip.

Correction: The military, at that time, did not have the newer version of the thompson sub machine gun. You can see in pictures of early Pacific battles and North africa battles that U.S. soldiers used the civilian model thompson sub machine gun. I believe it was around mid to late 1942 that they redesigned it.

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 a 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.

Correction: When the bomb is released, it drops straight down relative to the aircraft. This has nothing to do with dive bombing.

The bomb that blew apart the Arizona was historically a bomb from a dive-bomber and they dropped down vertically. So there is nothing wrong with the angle of the bomb. That the bomber doesn't dive is a different matter.


That may be true, but the aircraft that dropped it in the film was not diving. Dive bombers release the bomb from an almost vertical dive then pull out of the dive. The bomb continues towards the target.

I mentioned that. I say that's a different problem.


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: 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: 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: 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: 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: 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: 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.

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

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: 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.

Continuity mistake: In the scene where Rafe is fighting for Britain his plane gets hit. As it goes down into the water, it is day. Later when they show him swimming out of the plane and to the surface, it is night. (00:41:30 - 01:10:10)

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

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