Factual error: In the scene where Admiral Kimmel is inspecting the crew of the battleship an aide comes up with a message to send some ships to the Atlantic. Admiral Kimmel starts complaining about the orders. No Admiral would ever do this especially in front of enlisted men. In fact he was placed in charge of the Pacific fleet when his predecessor complained about moving the fleet from San Diego to Pearl Harbor.
Factual error: In the scene where the nurses walk among the flag-draped coffins after the attack, the nurses are in stylish civilian outfits. Those nurses are all Naval personnel, and once war was declared they were ordered to be in uniform at all times, except when in the privacy of their quarters.
Factual error: For some reason, Danny believes Rafe's story that he's been officially assigned to an RAF Eagle Squadron for "combat training." While almost 7,000 Americans did volunteer to fly for England before Pearl Harbor, these were either as civilians or Americans who joined the Royal Canadian Air Force. It was against the law for any citizen to fight for a belligerent power while America was neutral, so Rafe's superiors couldn't have ordered him to fight for Britain, and Danny would have known that.
Factual error: The nurses are wearing far too much make up when on duty: bright red lipstick, eyeliner, mascara and blusher expertly applied. Military medical nurses are allowed subtle skin tone make up and surgical nurses none at all. It's always been that way, right back to the 1890s when the British Army first hired nurses.
Factual error: Towards the end of the Special Edition DVD there are shots of various ships being blown up. One of these ships is a 1960's British Leander Class frigate being used as a missile target. It's painted a very light grey and has cross markings all along the ship's side.
Factual error: When they show the whole fleet sailing, there is clearly a nuclear submarine out front. It is easily distinguished by its teardrop shaped hull.
Factual error: The P-40s depicted in the movie were later models that were not around during Pearl Harbor. The ones used in filming were probably either P-40Ks, P-40Ms, or P-40Ns instead of the historically correct P-40Bs or P-40Cs that were around at the time of the attack. This is noticeable because the planes in the movie have three guns mounted on each wing while a correct P-40 would have two mounted on each wing and two on the engine cowling.
Factual error: When Eveleyn and Rafe are going to the Queen Mary, you can see to the left the modern buildings for the actual New York. (00:24:25)
Factual error: In the beginning of the film, there are scenes at "Mitchell Field" on Long Island, New York. The actual spelling is "Mitchel Field." (00:04:50)
Factual error: When the MPs drive on to the golf course to alert the commander of the attack, the Jeep they're driving is a Korean War era M-38. (01:24:00)
Factual error: 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. Rafe is not mildly dyslexic. His dyslexia is so severe that he cannot even read an ordinary eye chart.
Factual error: In the control tower scene after the stunt flying, look closely in the background and you will see the shapes of E-2 Hawkeyes. The E-2 wasn't in service until the early 60's.
Factual error: We see the Queen Mary, but where is her "war" paint? Queen Mary, along with nearly all liners and civil/commercial vessels, were painted an oceangoing grey for camouflage, but the Queen we see in Pearl Harbor shows in her black and red colors... the Queen is an English vessel and England had been at war two years. She should have been grey by this time.
Factual error: There is an old mahogany speedboat in the movie. The movie is set in 1941, the speedboat is a 1955-1958 Chris Craft Capri.
Factual error: Dorie Miller was not carrying an elegant tray of coffee service when the attack began. He was carrying laundry. (01:30:00)
Factual error: There is no way that anyone in Hawaii could have listened to the radio chatter among Doolittle's raiders. First, because the planes were flying separately on different routes, not as a group, and were observing radio silence, so there was nothing to hear. But mainly, because the radios used for inter-plane communication are low-power short-range units. Long-range communication was carried out by each plane's radio operator, using Morse code. Long-range voice communication by radio was not possible back then. (02:31:10)