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.
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)
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)
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: 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: 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...
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.
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.
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