Pearl Harbor

Factual error: The scene of Doolittle speaking to the men who have volunteered for what would become the Tokyo Raid is filmed in a hanger. Historically this took place in the crowded Air Ops office at Eglin.

Factual error: In the scene where Rafe and Danny are kids fooling around in their father's cropduster the plane is a PT-17 Stearman or similar model. This plane was not in regular military usage until after 1934 and did not find its way into civilian hands until after WWII.

Factual error: In the scene where Petty Officer Dorie Miller is boxing, a sailor betting on the fight holds a wad of dollar bills where the top one shows the overprinting HAWAII. The HAWAII overprint notes were not introduced until July of 1942, when the U.S. government replaced all currency on the islands with overprinted notes just in case the islands were invaded by Japan. If they had been overrun by Japan, the notes would then have been declared illegal. (00:43:20)

Factual error: When you see the carrier from above, you can see that the planes take up more than half the deck space. If there were 420 feet of space to take off, that would mean that the carrier was at least 840 feet long. They were at most around 650-700 feet.

Jacob La Cour

Factual error: All of Jimmy Doolittle's "raiders" had leather flight jackets prepared especially for their mission to bomb Tokyo. On the back of the jackets was a message written in large Chinese characters that explained who they were so the Chinese (if the crew were lucky enough to reach unoccupied China which was the original plan) would not kill them. I also believe there were large U.S. flags and Chinese flags (the old Republic of China style) painted or sewn on the back of these jackets as well. This important costume detail was omitted in the movie.

Factual error: In the scene where the Japanese aircraft are launching for the attack on Pearl, an officer on one of the carriers holds a white flag in his right hand just as the planes are about to take off. Look carefully; the wind is blowing from the stern of the ship towards the bow (as evidenced by the position of the aircraft in the background). The flag should be moving in the opposite direction, as the carrier would be turned into the wind and moving forward at top speed to launch aircraft.

Factual error: As the Japanese fleet steams toward its launch point, there is a close up of the nose of a B5N1 Kate torpedo bomber with its distinctive two-bladed propeller. Trouble is, the Kates used against Pearl Harbor were B5N2's, with a two row radial and 3-bladed prop.

goofyfoot
Upvote valid corrections to help move entries into the corrections section.

Suggested correction: The B5N1 also used a three-bladed prop. The two-bladed prop aircraft in the movie is a Kate replica (a modified AT-6 Texan). All Kates used at Pearl Harbor were B5N2's.

I think the point is that the B5N2 also came with 2 bladed propellers. Whether or not they were used during the attack on pearl harbor is something for a real expert to say.

lionhead

Factual error: In the UK scenes on the RAF base there is an air raid. A hand cranked siren is used to sound the alarm, which is correct, but the siren is cranked continuously giving a constant sound. This is the "all clear" not an "air raid" warning. The air raid warning was a variable sound created by cranking hard for 5 turns then slackening off for 5 turns.If you want to hear the correct sounds, try these linksAir Raid Warning: http://www.bbc.co.uk/schoolradio/history/worldwar2audioclipslibrary_clip02.shtmlAll clear:http://www.bbc.co.uk/schoolradio/history/worldwar2audioclipslibrary_clip20.shtml.

Factual error: Early in the film, a close-up of Rafe in his Army Air Corps uniform shows his wings. The wings are not Army Air Corps, but the "shield and stripes" of the US Air Force, which did not exist at that time. Additionally, when a priest is giving last rites to the dying, he says, "In the name of the Father, the Son and the Holy Spirit." But before the Second Vatican Council, it was "Holy Ghost."

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: When the raiders are just over their targets, the pilots of the flights order bombs away and the bombs immediately drop. The problem with this is it's the bombardiers job to decide when to drop the bombs on the target. If the pilot dropped the bombs, you wouldn't need the bombardier or the bomb sight.

terry s

Factual error: In January, 1942, US National insignia deleted the red ball in the center of the star. The Doolittle raiders are depicted with the old insignia, and while this was accurate on the fuselage and wing bottom, official US Navy photographs show that at least some of the B-25's had the newer insignia on the top left wing.

goofyfoot

Factual error: As with the film Tora! Tora! Tora!, in Pearl Harbor we see that two American fighter planes took off to fight the Japanese. In reality, a total of six American flights actually took off to repel the invaders.

Allister Cooper, 2011

Factual error: In the shot where they show the pictures the Japanese spies took, you can see the helicopter pads on the ships. Also, during the attack, helicopter pads are visible on some ships. The helicopter was not used until the Korean War, and they didn't have helicopter pads on ships until more recently.

Factual error: While the hospital did sustain some damage during the actual battle at Pearl Harbor, the Japanese forces did not deliberately target or fire upon it. Hospitals are usually avoided in battles as the people within are not in any condition to fight back and it would just be consuming ammunition that would be needed for attacking more practical targets such as enemy aircraft, assault vehicles, weapon repositories, and such.

jayo

Factual error: The USS Hornet, a Yorktown-class aircraft carrier launched in 1940, is played by a much more modern Kitty Hawk-class carrier. The B-25s also take off from a steel deck instead of a historically accurate wooden deck.

Factual error: During the Air raid scramble of the RAF squadron, one pilot behind the RAF mechanic can be seen to be boarding a Hawker Hurricane, not a Spitfire. As far as I am aware, Hurricanes and Spitfires were never operated in mixed units. Squadrons had one or the other.

Bronzewing

Factual error: As the RAF aircrew are running for their aircraft during the scramble sequence, one of the Spitfires can be seen showing a serial of 'AR4474' briefly. This is incorrect not only for a wartime Spitfire, but is completely out of sequence for any UK military aircraft. All four flying Spitfires used during filming had similar inaccurate serials. (00:38:20)

Gary Stedman

Factual error: During the attack on Pearl Harbor Danny and Rafe take off from an airfield and then fly to defend battleship row. As they fly over the harbor there are several Newport Class LSTs shown at anchor. This type of ship did not exist until 1966.

Steven1952

Factual error: When Ben Affleck is about to ditch his B-25 in China, and yells that the #1 engine is out, the port engine is shown spinning to a stop, with the propeller already feathered. A perfectly functioning engine would not have its propeller feathered; the pilot would feather it only after the engine stopped, to reduce drag.

Steve Beckle
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

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