Pearl Harbor
Pearl Harbor mistake picture

Continuity mistake: When one of the pilots of the "pride of the pacific" crew is painting a woman on the side of his airplane, he is brushing it on with his right hand, but in the following closeup, he is now brushing it on with his left, then back to his right in the wider shot. (00:33:50)


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.

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.

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. (01:46:30)

Continuity mistake: In the scene in the bar before Rafe and Danny fight, Rafe is accepting a shirt off of some guy's back. The guy hands the shirt to Rafe, in that scene, Rafe's shirt is still buttoned and on him when he accepts the shirt. The camera switches to Danny, and then a couple of seconds later, back to Rafe who is already putting the shirt on. There is no way Rafe could have taken his own shirt off and already be putting the "hula" shirt on in that short of time.


Visible crew/equipment: In the scene where Rafe and Evelyn are on the platform against the hull of the Queen Mary, just after it falls into the water and they are trying to balance themselves, if you look closely at the small boat they came in at that moment, for a brief second, you can see the silouette of the head and shoulders of a crewman pop up and duck back down either in or behind the boat.

Continuity mistake: In the scene where President Roosevelt is sitting at the table talking to the joint chiefs etc., the camera pans around the table and as it passes General Marshall, it shows what appears to be a Vietnam service ribbon in the cluster on his chest.

Continuity mistake: When Rafe is going in for medical tests and to thank Evelyn her for not taking his wings away, when Rafe starts acting a little strange Evelyn asks "This isn't your chart?" When it cuts to Rafe he is holding onto the IV just underneath the IV bags, but in the following shot his hand is much further down the pole. (00:15:40)


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.

Other mistake: When the battleship Okalahoma rolls over, it appears to be rolling exactly about a non-moving longitudinal axis, like a broiler chicken on a barbecue spit. In reality, the ship should be sinking down while it rolls over, since after all it is taking on water.

Continuity mistake: In the scene where Danny takes Evelyn flying to see the sunset, you can see that several times the sun changes position, i.e. in one scene the sun would be half way set, then in the next scene it would be way above the horizon.

Visible crew/equipment: In the scene where Rafe returns from England, Evie is busy with something. Camera slowly zooms out from Evie and moves right to show Rafe's reflection on the window. Look carefully. You can clearly see the red light of the camera reflecting back, not from the window that reflects Rafe, but the mirror on Evelyn's right. (01:09:15)

Continuity mistake: When Rafe is drinking with his friends in the club and Danny is there, Red says, "Maybe we should leave you two alone," then Rafe proceeds to say, "No, no, we're celebrating here." Rafe reaches out to stop Red with his right hand on his chest, but in the following shot it is Rafe's left hand on Red's chest. (01:15:30)


Continuity mistake: In the first overhead view of Dolittle's carrier the front plane has its tail just about at the level of the carrier tower. In a later shot there are 2 planes in front of the tower, and when Dolittle takes off, his plane - as the first - is positioned behind the tower.

Jacob La Cour

Pearl Harbor mistake picture

Continuity mistake: Just after the shot of Evelyn sitting on the rocks, it cuts to Rafe in England. The first shot we see that the pint of lager on the bench is half empty, but it refills itself in the next shot. (00:36:15)


Other mistake: In the scene where the USS Oklahoma is going down sideways, there is water pouring down the deck. This should not happen considering that the ship is sinking the other way and the water wouldn't be bursting out of the cracks in the dock.

Continuity mistake: The bomb that hits the hospital produces a really big hole in the wall. A car is thrown through the air. But there are some people standing on the stairs two or three meters away and they keep standing there. Some minutes later Rafe and Danny are thrown to the ground by a detonation about ten meters away.

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.

Continuity mistake: This mistake takes place in the scene where Rafe is in the train, trying to get Evelyn's attention. When he first notices her outside the window, the camera pans and zooms on him. For a brief second, you see a young woman wearing a red hat is sitting next to him. After Rafe fails to get Evelyn's attention, he looks at the person sitting next to him. The young woman is now an old man with a gray hat on. You can also spot the same lady in the train station when Rafe is with Danny. She seems to be buying her ticket.

Revealing mistake: During the scene in which the Japanese are planning the attack, one shot has several of the Japanese Officers looking at aerial photographs of the harbor. These pictures appear to be attached to some sort of poster board and on the back of one of them is the "Recycled Paper" emblem (the three arrows bent back on each other). Visible on the DVD.

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

More quotes from Pearl Harbor

Trivia: Despite the numerous historical errors and gaffs in the movie, the only historical "fact" the filmmakers managed to do research on (and admit to supposedly) is that they consulted bottle collectors on what types of bottles to use during the battle scenes to administer blood.

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Chosen answer: Probably in Washington. He rejoined active duty in 1940, was assigned to consult with industry re aircraft manufacture; also a trip to England on special mission to evaluate other countries' air power. He requested a return to flying status but was refused. He then was asked to assess feasablity of a air attack on Japan from carrier based planes, and when he asked to lead the mission his request was accepted.

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