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.
Revealing mistake: Other users have commented on the placement of the island on the Japanese carriers. If you watch the launch scene very carefully (as one squadron of planes flies over another of the carriers), the carrier is a modern, angled deck carrier, but the planes are all lined up backwards. As the shot moves over the ship, you can plainly see the bow of the carrier (with the protrusions for the catapult water brakes, and Japanese planes lined up on the bow, facing the stern). As the shot progresses down the ship, you will see the angled deck amidships, with the island where it belongs, and the planes taking off over the stern.
Revealing mistake: When the dead nurse's body (Betty I think her name is) is being placed on the pile of dead people, she blinks and twitches her face as the person carrying her puts her down.
Other mistake: When the first torpedo hits the American ship (killing the two guys hanging on the side) Danny and Rafe jump up from the car. Their cue to do so is somebody (possibly the Director) shouting 'Boom.', which is still audible on the finished film soundtrack. (01:24:25)
Continuity mistake: In the scene where Roosevelt is delivering the "Day of Infamy" speech to Congress watch the microphone placement. The MBC microphone likes to move around from left to right.
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.
Continuity mistake: During the attack on Pearl Harbor just after the big explosion we see a captain on the bridge of his ship looking at the attack. The Japanese fire upon the bridge killing many. The captain ducks and goes to the corner, and we see him grab hold of the corner and then release his right hand to his side, but in the following shot his hand is still on the corner. (01:26:35)The-Immortal
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. (Slow-mo may be required.) (01:15:30)The-Immortal
Continuity mistake: In the club, Danny and Rafe and their friends are having a drink after Rafe came back from the dead, and Rafe punches Danny for going out with Evelyn. In the first shot Red goes up to Danny and he is over Danny's right shoulder, but in the following shot Red is now over Danny's left shoulder. (01:16:30)The-Immortal
Continuity mistake: During the attack on the smaller airfield where Rafe and Danny are, the photographer who dove in the back of the car gets shot, falls and drops the camera. When it lands it's filming his face, and there is something on the ground right in front of his face, but in the following shot nothing is there. (01:45:05)The-Immortal
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)
Continuity mistake: As the Japanese attack begins, fighter aircraft strafe pedestrians (and everything else) near the harbour. The reporter with the hand-held movie camera is killed twice. Watch as he is blown into the air and then miraculously restored to health, only to be blown away yet again, this time with the camera in front of his face. (01:44:30)
Continuity mistake: In the scene where Goose is in the bunker with everyone else, he says "Planes. Should we fire?" When he says this, we see him staring down the site of a 50 cal. In the next shot, we see the gun, but no Goose. And we know it's the same gun, because Red was by it both shots. Yet when we see the gun in the very next shot he is holding it again. He had no time to move away and back to the weapon again.
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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