Pearl Harbor

Factual error: In every photo or drawing I have seen of the Oklahoma or Arizona, their main guns had no flash suppressors as depicted. The main rifles were sealed with tampions in port, and those would be impossible to fit into the muzzles shown in the movie.

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goofyfoot

Factual error: The B-25's used for the Doolittle raid were "B" models, yet a number of aircraft were shown equipped with 50 caliber guns in cheek blisters, a modification that did not occur until the "H" model came out later in the war.

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goofyfoot

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.

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Factual error: In the first view of Pearl Harbor, just before the nurses are shown in the small transport boat as they arrive at Pearl, you clearly see the Arizona Memorial in the background as the camera pans down from sky to harbour.

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Factual error: When Danny and Evelyn take a joy ride in a P-40, they speak to each other in soft, romantic tones. In reality, they would have had to scream at each other to be heard over the noise of the plane's engine.

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Bruce Trestrail

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.

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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.

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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 crowling.

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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.

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Factual error: Admiral Kimmel is shown on the golf course when he first receives word of a Japanese submarine attack. Although he was planning to golf that morning with Army General Short, he actually received the ominous report at home, and then proceeded to Pearl Harbor.

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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.

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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."

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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.

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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.

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Clarence Daugette

Factual error: One of the intelligence photos taken by the Japanese spies shows a North Carolina class battleship which wasn't in Pearl Harbor at that time.

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Factual error: At the beginning of the film there are some newsreel bits showing the war in Europe giving the background for the historical setting circa 1939-40. In one of these, for about 2-3 seconds you see a M-26 Pershing next to a wall. The M-26 Pershing wasn´t introduced until early 1945 when it entered the war in Europe.

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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.

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Factual error: Dorie Miller was not carrying an elegant tray of coffee service when the attack began. He was carrying laundry.

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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.

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Factual error: When Danny is paying tribute to Rafe after he is shot down, he pours Jack Daniels into a glass in front of Rafe's picture. The bottle of Jack Daniels is a modern bottle with all the awards on it that were not on it in the 1940s.

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Factual error: During the first scene of the adult Rafe and Danny at Mitchell Field on Long Island, there are large hills/mountains visible in the background. There are no large hills or mountains located anywhere in Long Island. (Scenes were filmed elsewhere, including Hawaii, which explains the hills/mountains, but this is a mistake nonetheless, since they are supposed to be at Mitchell Field at Long Island, NY.)

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Factual error: The Zeros in the movie are not the right model for the attack on Pearl Harbor. The ones featured in the film are exact replicas of A6M5 Zeros which can be denoted by looking at the engine exhaust ports. The A6M5 did not come out until later in the war. The correct model should be the A6M2.

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Factual error: Doolittle's B25s were an early version, while in the scene aboard the carrier, they have side gun mountings and four-point fifties in bulges on both sides of the nose. These were implemented in much later B25G versions.

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Factual error: One shot of the "Japanese fleet" at sea clearly shows a nuclear-powered super-carrier, surrounded by guided missile-armed cruisers and destroyers.

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Factual error: The spinning fan on the bomb wasn't the fuse itself - it was meant to arm the fuse, so that the bomb would detonate on impact. It needed to make only several spins to work. The bouncing bomb in the airfield scene should make a big hole, not bounce. It should also suffer some damage, while in the scene even the thin stabilizers are intact.

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Factual error: When the Japanese pilots are taking off the carrier deck, there is an overhead view of the launch. The carrier in the scene has a angled deck. The angle deck carriers didn't come along until after the war was over.

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Factual error: Just before the attack on Pearl Harbor begins you see a scene of some Japanese planes flying in a place called Kualoa Valley. Two boys watch these planes fly by. Here is the error - in order to get to Pearl Harbour they would have to be flying almost the exact opposite direction, these planes were flying out of the valley...back out to sea.

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Factual error: While Rafe is on the beach during the training to take off from an aircraft carrier, and burning some letters, mountains are noticed in the background while he is conversing with Danny. The actual location for this training took place on the historic "Doolittle Ramp" located at Hurlburt Field, Florida, near Eglin Air Force Base. The site is within 100 yards of the beach among numerous trees. There are no mountains (low hills maybe) in Florida .

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Factual error: At the RAF airfield, Spitfires are shown lined up right in front of the ground crew's tents. After almost two years at war, and with Luftwaffe attacks still a regular occurrence, it seems highly unlikely that any RAF squadron would be stupid enough to try and sleep on top of their aircraft, which might be bombed or strafed at any time. In reality the only thing that close to the aircraft would have been the dispersal hut where pilots on readiness that day would wait for a scramble order.

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Bronzewing

Factual error: As Danny and Rafe prepare to depart for Florida to train for the Tokyo raid they board a DC-3 to take them to the mainland, with the nearest point 2,400 miles away. It would have been a wet trip: the DC-3 had a range of 1,600 miles. Military transport to the mainland in early 1942 would be by ship, " Clipper" seaplane or a stripped-down bomber.

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Factual error: At the launch of the Dolittle raiders, the seas were stormy with waves breaking over the carrier's bow, not completely calm, as shown in the movie.

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Factual error: The British squadron Rafe served in had the "RF" radio ID markings. These were assigned to the Polish 303 squadron, so the planes should have additional Polish markings on the engine cowling (apart from standard British ones) plus the squadron logo.

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Factual error: In one scene before the battle starts, a crew member is having his P-40 decorated with noseart. However, before late 1942, noseart wasn't allowed by the USAAF, unless you had a commander who really didn't mind. Lieutenant General Walter Short, who was in charge of the P-40's at Pearl Harbor, wasn't one of those commanders.

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Factual error: In the scene showing the bomb on its way down to destroy the USS Arizona, the bomb is a conventional aerial bomb purpose-built for anti-ship use. Historical records state that the Japanese had no armor piercing bombs ready for the attack, so they modified conventional battleship shells with wooden fins instead.

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Factual error: When Rafe first presents himself at the RAF base, there is a scene with two Spits having the same RF-M squadron designators. Since this was the way individual aircraft were identified, such a thing would never come to pass.

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Factual error: Japanese Naval officers say "We have hit battleship row. Now we must hit the smaller airfields." In actuality, the attack was planned to every detail so that all of their targets were hit simultaneously.

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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.

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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.

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Factual error: Towards the end of the film, when the United States launches an attack on the Japanese ammunition factories, the planes fly over Japan and show shots of geishas to establish the country. Japanese geisha communities were shut down by the Japanese government at the beginning of World War II.

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Factual error: When Rafe's train leaves New York you can see an Amtrak Genesis engine through the window. Amtrak wasn't created until 1971 and the Genesis diesel engines weren't designed until 1992.

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Flight_fan

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.

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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.

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Allister Cooper, 2011

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.

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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.

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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.

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goofyfoot

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.

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Bronzewing

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.

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Steven1952

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."

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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.

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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.

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Steve Beckle

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.

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Factual error: In the RAF squadron scene, the lined up Spitfires are the wrong mark for the period. For early 1941, the correct mark would have been a mark V. The Spitfires are later, as they have six exhaust outlets per side, and several have four-bladed propellers, neither feature being present on mark V Spitfires.

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Bronzewing

Factual error: When Rafe comes to England he gets a damaged Spitfire to counter the Luftwaffe. If you ignore the fact that he should at least make some flying hours in a Spit before going into combat, no one had to fly a shot-up Spit during the Battle of Britain, since Spitfire production could quite well keep up with the war losses. It was lack of fighter pilots that almost caused Britain's defeat.

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burgardus

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Quotes

Admiral Yamamoto: I fear all we have done is to awaken a sleeping giant.

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Mistakes

In every photo or drawing I have seen of the Oklahoma or Arizona, their main guns had no flash suppressors as depicted. The main rifles were sealed with tampions in port, and those would be impossible to fit into the muzzles shown in the movie.

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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 as the pilot was trying to get them away before the attack started.

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