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.
Other mistake: When Rafe and Evelyn are on the platform by the side of the Queen Mary, the platform is going up, but the ropes are not moving through the pulleys.
Factual error: Dorie Miller was not carrying an elegant tray of coffee service when the attack began. He was carrying laundry. (01:30:00)
Continuity mistake: On the morning after the love scene with Evelyn and Danny, they are talking and she puts her head on his right shoulder and starts crying. The camera pulls back and she is still crying on his shoulder - but this time on his left shoulder, not his right. (01:05:50)
Other mistake: In the scene where the U.S.S. Oklahoma capsizes, she clearly rolls to the port side. When the bow comes into the air, one can see a hole on the starboard side; obviously from a torpedo. This cannot be. The starboard side was facing the U.S.S. Maryland and thus protected from arial torpedoes. That hole should not be there.
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)
Visible crew/equipment: In the scene where the Japanese planes are taking off, there is a shot where, in the upper left hand corner, you can get a glimpse of the helicopter that the crew used to film aerial shots. (01:23:00)
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.
Continuity mistake: In the scene near the beginning of the movie where Rafe is being reprimanded by Maj. Doolittle for stunt flying, Rafe starts to talk about the various accomplishments that Doolittle has to his credit. The scene shifts to Doolittle and you can see in the background some of the trophies that he won in various air races and endurance tests. One of the trophies has a small model of an F-86 Sabre jet. The scene takes place in early 1941 and the F-86 didn't exist until the 1950's. In fact, jets weren't around until the end of the war and mostly in the hands of the Germans. (00:05:50)
Continuity mistake: As the Doolittle Raiders are taking off from the aircraft carrier there are several sweeping views of the carrier task force as the planes fly off. The decks of the carriers are obviously modern US carriers with the landing portion of the flight deck angled out about 10° from the catapult direction of the flight deck. (02:28:30)
Continuity mistake: Just after Rafe pops himself in the nose with the champagne cork, there is a bit of blood running down his right cheek. It disappears when the camera cuts back to him. (00:18:25)
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.
Continuity mistake: During the scene when Rafe and Danny are in the P-40's shooting down a few of the Japanese planes, they fly through some smoke from the burning ships, their prop wash makes the smoke swirl all around. But, a few minutes before that, when two Zero's fly through some smoke, the smoke doesn't move at all, almost as though the planes were never really there...
Deliberate mistake: In one of the dogfight scenes a Japanese Zero crashes into a tower. It's a quick shot, but you can still see that what crashes is an American P-40 with Japanese markings.
Factual error: The four U.S. Navy ships moored side-by-side shown in the film during the attack are mothballed Spruance Class Guided Missile Destroyers built during the late 1970s. The large boxes near their bows are box launchers for anti-submarine rockets, known as ASROCs.
Deliberate mistake: It's 1941 in a military base and no one is smoking...