Pearl Harbor
Upvote valid corrections to help move entries into the corrections section.

Suggested correction: The eye chart in this shot does not move, the angle of the camera shifts over by a few feet. This can be verified if you look at the edge of the beige medicine cabinet. In the top picture, you can not see the back plate. You also can not see the left side of it as well. In the second picture, from a few feet over, now both are visible.

TimHunt

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.

Allister Cooper, 2011

Other mistake: Rafe is afraid of getting his wings removed because he has dyslexia (that his teachers couldn't make sense of) and that he has had "some schooling." To be a Lieutenant as Rafe is in the movie he would need a bachelor's degree. Also this mixing up letters didn't appear on all the letters he wrote to Evelyn. Or hindered his ability to read Evelyn's letters.

Upvote valid corrections to help move entries into the corrections section.

Suggested correction: For his education he got help from Danny and during his time in England he could have gotten help from any of the pilots, both to write and read. He is smart enough the get a bachelor's.

lionhead

What utter nonsense. Rafe is so severely dyslexic that he cannot read a basic eye chart. No amount of "help" would get him through flight training school or university.

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.

Bronzewing

Upvote valid corrections to help move entries into the corrections section.

Suggested correction: While the RAF did not operate squadrons with mixed aircraft, different squadrons operating different aircraft did share the same air fields. So if the Hurricane mentioned has different squadron markings to the Spitfires then it can be seen as correct, if they are the same then it is wrong.

Whilst the planes on the ground are obviously hurricanes, those in the air are Spits both with RAF markings.

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

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.

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: 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

Continuity mistake: When the Japanese are attacking Pearl Harbor and we see Danny and Rafe driving toward an airfield, there is a photographer in the backseat who says his line. In this shot he is not holding onto his hat, but in the following shot he is.. (01:27:00)

The-Immortal

Pearl Harbor mistake picture

Continuity mistake: When Rafe goes to thank Evelyn, Evelyn at one point goes up to his ear and whispers, but her position at his ear keeps changing from really close to a bit further away between shots. (00:14:55)

The-Immortal

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.

Visible crew/equipment: When the young Danny and Rafe are in the real aeroplane, in one shot before it comes to a stop you can see the shadow of a camera and cameraman. (00:02:40)

The-Immortal

Visible crew/equipment: During the scene where Danny and Rafe are being chased at low level by several Zero fighters, there is one camera shot where we can see past a P-40's tail at the Japanese attackers. The nearest Zero appears to have a strange object attached to the top of its fuselage, just in front of the tail. Presumably, this object is a remote-controlled camera which was used by the film-makers for the aerial combat scenes.

Continuity mistake: In the scene where the Red head boy is proposing to the nurse, 2 men walk by together, one wearing a light coloured shirt with some scattered pattern on it, and the other wearing a plain white shirt. Then they walk by again a few seconds later.

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.

Visible crew/equipment: Ben Affleck's character takes his fiance to the beach in his car. When they are both standing in front of the vehicle, the film crew can be seen in the reflection in the car's bumper.

Revealing mistake: When Betty's body is being placed amongst those killed outside the hospital, the dead guy lying on the left side breathes at the wrong time (you can see his neck and head move slightly). (02:01:55)

Continuity mistake: When Rafe meets Evelyn outside the hospital with a bottle of wine, he accidentally hits his nose with the cork and lays his head on Evelyn's lap. Her right hand is holding some ice, but her left hand is nowhere to be seen, but in the following shot her left hand has appeared on Rafe's chin and cheek. (00:17:40)

The-Immortal

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.

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.

More trivia for Pearl Harbor

Question: The IMDb lists a cameo by Matt Damon during the attack sequence. Can someone point out exactly where he appears?

Answer: He is in the scene where the smaller air-base is being attacked by the japanese. You have to look really closely but he is the driver of one of the jeeps right before the japanese bomb drops (the one that seems to be a dud and then explodes). Also, Matt seems to be one of the gunners on one of the first ships at Pearl Harbor to return fire (this is not verified but in slo-mo, one of the gunners seems to be him).

More questions & answers from Pearl Harbor

Join the mailing list

Separate from membership, this is to get updates about mistakes in recent releases. Addresses are not passed on to any third party, and are used solely for direct communication from this site. You can unsubscribe at any time.

Check out the mistake & trivia books, on Kindle and in paperback.