Pearl Harbor

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.

Corrected entry: When the crew land in China, Alec Baldwin says something supposedly in Chinese and says it means, "I am an American." First of all there is Cantonese and Mandarin, and what he said was definetly not in Cantonese and it doesn't sound like Mandarin.

Shermie Au

Correction: I'm told by my Chinese friend (who speaks Cantonese and knows some Mandarin as well) that it is the correct Mandarin, and is pronounced ok considering it's probably the only Chinese Alec Baldwin knows.


Corrected entry: In the scene where the Navy hospital is shown, outside the hospital, a bomb is dropped on a vehicle, but the bomb seems to disappear behind the truck instead of detonating on initial impact.

Correction: The bomb falls just behind the vehicle and explodes when it hits the ground, but still causes the truck to explode due to it's proximity to the impact.


Corrected entry: In one or two scenes before Rafe got his injection from the nurse (Evelyn) at the hospital (just after the eye-test) he exchanged his medical status with another guy. That's why he gets the wrong injection is what they want us to believe, but Evelyn never even looked at his medical report. That report is still lying in front of Rafe on a movable desk and hasn't been touched.

Correction: She assumes he is in the right place, and only realises that he's had the shot already once she reads the file. He brought it along IN CASE she checked, but in the end didn't really need it.


Corrected entry: You'll notice Rafe couldn't get his hatch open when shot down in Britain but later when he explains how he survived, while under water the hatch seemed to open right up for him.

Correction: A little bit of luck that helped him escape with his life. After all, he did make a 'deal with God'.


Corrected entry: When Rafe, Danny and the rest of the guys get to the smaller airfield and they are taking cover as some Japanese planes fly past. It can be seen that a few have torpedoes hanging underneath the plane, but someone comments that the planes don't have any ordnance on them, and that they must be heading back.

Correction: This seems like a huge error, but in fact the torpedoes they were carrying wouldn't have been any use for attacking the airfield, so the comment must refer to the standard bombs that the aircraft also carried, and had run out of. In that case, they are 'heading back' to Battleship Row.


Corrected entry: In the scene where Captain Doolittle is congratulating Danny and Rafe on getting into the air and shooting down planes during the attack, he says that they shot down 7 planes. During the scene, they shoot down at least 8, 2 each through fire, and then 4 when they 'play chicken'.

Correction: If you watch the "chicken" shot carefully, you will see that two japanese Zeros hit each other head on, and the another plane flies into the wreckage. This adds up to three to be added to the four that the boys shot down through fire, totaling seven.

Corrected entry: Since there was more than one pilot who died at the position of the crash-landing of Danny and Rafe's bombers, why did they take only Danny's coffin back?

Correction: There are many explanations for this: Maybe there wasn't enough room - it is a small plane, the plane only took back the people who landed in China, maybe the other coffins are brought out of the plane after the scene goes back to Evelyn.

Corrected entry: In the scene with Danny and Evelyn on the beach, Evelyn is wearing a two-piece bikini swimsuit. The "bikini" had not been invented yet. It was officially invented by engineer Louis Reard in 1946, named after the Pacific Atolls where A-Bombs were tested.

Correction: What Evelyn is wearing is a two piece bathing suit, which was available in the 1940's. The "bikini" bathing suit is more the tiny style that became popular in the years after the 1946 and is now generally accepted to mean any two piece bathing suit. has a photo circa 1941 showing two ladies wearing the 2 piece suits.

Corrected entry: After the Japanese attack, a ship has turned upside down and you see them on the upturned hull trying to cut holes in it to rescue the trapped sailors. In this scene you see hands poking through small holes in the hull and the compartment filling with water. This section of the upturned hull is above the natural water level. So how can it fill with water and drown the men. The water would have to rise above its own natural level.

Correction: I believe it is physically possible for those men to have drowned, since I read that this particular scene is historically accurate. The explanation is that there was an air pocket created by the hull being above water level, allowing the men to breathe. When they drilled holes, it equalized the air pressure by allowing the air inside to escape, causing a vaccuum effect which drew the water level up over the men's heads and drowning them.

Corrected entry: As Cuba Gooding, Jr. fires the anti-aircraft cannon at the passing Japanese planes, you can clearly see the ammunition feed tray at the bottom right of the picture, full of crimp-ended (ie. blank) ammunition. No wonder he's not hitting anything.

Correction: It might not be a historical error. I have read that some AA-gunners at the time of the first Japanese attack - 0740 local time - had nothing but blank ammo to fire, but nobody seemed to notice. Or maybe they didn't care: they probably fired the ammo they had beforehand - just to do something. I have also read that much of the live ammo in the contingency stores had no fuses - or that these did not function, so that in many places the ground was littered with unexploded flak shells. The mistakes were corrected, and as the second wave attacked at 0850 many planes were heavily damaged, which was the reason there never was a third attack but the Imperial Navy steamed away to safety instead.

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: 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: 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: 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: 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: 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.

How can USAF give "tacit" approval to US citizens (US citizens not members of the US armed forces) serving in the RAF, seeing as that none of the eight US citizens who, officially, took part in the BoB had, at the time, nothing to do with or no attachment to said USAF, at all? In fact three were in service with the Armee del Air prior to the their participation in the battle the others join as civilians or as members of the RCAF. The only thing that was done to allow US citizens who joined the Battle, as a member of the RAF, was that they were allowed to do so as US citizens, without the threat of having their citizenship of the USA removed.

No, they're for the right movie. As the entry says, Ben Affleck goes to the UK in 1940 to fight in the Battle of Britain. The debate is whether the movie got the circumstances under which he could do so right or not. The movie "Battle of Britain" was made in 1969, before Ben Affleck was even born.

Corrected entry: Military pilots are trained to fly a particular type of aircraft: fighter, bomber, transport, etc. In other words, a fighter pilot could not just get into a multi-engine bomber and take it on a combat mission. Doolittle's crews were all volunteers, but they were also all bomber men, selected from the 17th Bombardment Group.

Correction: Rafe and Danny are fictional characters. In the film, Doolittle knows they are great pilots, so selects them. They DO undergo a few months of training, rather than just hopping in and flying off, and Doolittle even mentions that they are going to learn to "fly them like fighters" anyway.


Corrected entry: American Eagle Squadron pilots were volunteers, not USAAF pilots 'on exchange' with the RAF.

Correction: The character Rafe is fictional, and the writers wanted him to experience a few different aspects of war. Also, it's made clear that he DID volunteer, so though he isn't a civilian pilot, it's marginally accurate.


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

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: 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

Chosen answer: Probably in Washington. He rejoined active duty in 1940, was assigned to consult with industry re aircraft manufacture; also a trip to England on special mission to evaluate other countries' air power. He requested a return to flying status but was refused. He then was asked to assess feasablity of a air attack on Japan from carrier based planes, and when he asked to lead the mission his request was accepted.

More questions & answers from Pearl Harbor

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