When Col. Bratton and Lt. Cmdr. Kramer walk into the Navy cryptography workroom, the Marine sentry at the door is wearing "modified blues" - a khaki shirt and tie with the USMC dress-blue uniform's red-striped blue trousers. The Marine Corps didn't adopt this uniform until after World War II.
When the Ward fires it's number one mount, a gun control radar
antenna mounted right above the gun can plainly be seen. Which is not surprising since the ship used for the Ward is a World War II destroyer escort which has no resemblance whatsoever to the USS Ward.
Early in the attack, one deck officer is shown wearing a "Caravelle" wristwatch with the imprint "Waterproof" on the dial face. Bulova's web site indicates that the Caravelle line of watches was introduced in 1962, some 21 years after the attack.
In the shot of the B-17s being towed, the plane has the Cheyenne tail turret. This wasn't introduced until the G-model, which didn't enter service until 1943. At the time of the attack, the E-model was just beginning to enter service.
When the U.S. Capitol is shown the morning of December 7, 1941 wooded braces were in place for reconstructing the columns of the entrance. This did not take place until 1969, about the time the movie was filmed.
When all the Japanese planes launch from their carriers on the morning of the attack, there is a shot from a plane looking down at one of the carriers. The carrier is obviously a US Essex-class carrier with an angled landing deck modification. The angled landing deck didn't begin to appear on carriers until the mid 1950s.
When the movie moves to Nazi Germany for the Japanese signing of the Tripartite Pact, the SS guard outside the Reichschancellery is shouldering a Mauser with a late war barrel band. As materials and time became scarce in Germany, they had a cheap stamped barrel band instead of the early pressed (H-type) one.
When Ambassador Kichisaburo Nomura is speaking with Secretary Cordell Hull, 'Shogo Shimada''s voice is dubbed by Paul Frees. However, when Hull invites Nomura to sit down, you can hear Shimada speak with his own voice and then the dubbing resumes.
Shortly before the attack commences an officer tells Isoroku Yamamoto, "The Emperor wishes to follow the Geneva Convention, a declaration of war will be delivered at 1 pm, 30 minutes before the attack". The Geneva Convention deals solely with the treatment of PoW's and non-combatants, not the rules of war, a common misconception. He meant the Hague Convention III (1907) which does. Japan ratified but did not sign the Geneva Convention. They did sign the Hague Convention. Senior Japanese officers would be well aware of this.
In the beginning of the film when Col. Rufus S. Bratton (E.G. Marshall)
and Lt. Cmdr. Alwin D. Kramer (Wesley Addy) walk by a soldier just before entering the room, the soldier says to Bratton "good morning general" when you can see clearly he is a full colonel.
Prior to the launch, a hachimaki is presented to the commander of a Japanese Torpedo Bomber. The commander ties the headband over his goggles. Later, still prior to the launch, the hachimaki is now seen beneath his goggles.
When the Ward attacks the Japanese minisub near the entrance to Pearl harbor, the minisub's depth is inconsistent between shots. We see it alternately with its entire sail out of the water, then with just the periscope visible.
Late in the attack, the USS Nevada is shown trying to make a run for the sea and we can see her steam past the USS Arizona. However, in an earlier scene, the USS Arizona had previously been hit, suffered a catastrophic explosion, and was burning. The USS Arizona is now shown to be intact and with no flames.
When the Japanese planes are launching from their carrier on the morning of the attack, as the 3rd or 4th plane launches against the morning twilight, the head and camera of a cameraman can be seen silhouetted at the bottom of the screen.
The full-scale replica of USS Nevada seen throughout movie has too many 14-inch guns. USS Nevada and USS Oklahoma had 10 14-inch guns (2 3-gun turrets and 2 2-gun turrets, with one of each type turret fore and aft). The full-scale Nevada has 12 14-inch guns as found on later USS Arizona and USS Pennsylvania. The miniature models of Nevada and Oklahoma used in the Battleship Row sequences have the correct number and layout of 14-inch guns.
Admiral Isoroku Yamamoto's famous statement regarding Japan's chances in a war America was; "I can run wild for six months... after that, I have no expectation of success." The movie incorrectly shows him saying; "If we must, we can raise havoc with them for a year... after that, I can guarantee nothing."
None of the attacking Japanese aircraft or the American aircraft on the ground have any identification numbers or letters on their tails or fuselages. In actual fact, every plane involved had such markings. Each American Army aircraft in the film (P-40's, B-17's, etc) should have had, as a minimum, its serial number stenciled on the vertical tail.
There is a door marked "Absolutely no admittance" to a room that contains highly classified decoding equipment. The door even contains a mail slot to pass documents through the door without revealing the room's contents. Several officers go into and out of the room. The door never seems to be locked and the room is unguarded. At one point an officer leaves the door to the room open for several seconds with his back to the room.
Doris 'Dorie' Miller was almost 50 when she portrayed "Cornelia," the civilian flight instructor who was conducting a lesson when her plane was surrounded by the first wave of Japanese bombers. The real Cornelia Fort was only 22 on that fateful morning.
When the Japanese aircraft are taking off from the carriers to bomb Pearl Harbor, several of the aircraft that would have carried a crew of two or three (representing Nakajima B5N torpedo bombers and Aichi D3A dive bombers) are seen with a pilot and without the other crewmembers (gunner, radio operator, etc)
On the USS Ward, her commanding officer is wearing the gold oak leaf insignia of a lieutenant commander. Her actual commanding officer, W. W. Outerbridge, was only a lieutenant, one grade below what is shown, on the day of the attack. This was reinforced by captain Earle's comment that the skipper was "just a green kid."
When the American flag is being raised just before the attack, the bugler blows the correct call. However, anyone who raises flags in the military knows that the flag must reach the top of the pole before the bugler finishes. In this scene the flag reaches the top after the bugler has stopped, and the band has started the Stars Spangled Banner. Flags are raised very quickly and lowered slowly.
The film shows Cornelia Fort engaged in flight training in a Stearman "Yellow Peril" biplane. While her presence in the formation of attacking planes is accurate, she was flying in an Interstate Cadet monoplane that more resembled a Piper Cub.
A Japanese officer is drilling his men by showing them cards of ship outlines while they shout out the name of the ship. He flashes up a card of an aircraft carrier and one of the men shouts out "Enterprise!" to which the officer says "You idiot! That's your own flagship." In fact, the Japanese flagship was not an aircraft carrier, but the battleship Nagato.
Rufus Bratton is credited in the closing credits as "Lt. Col. Bratton" despite the fact that Bratton was a Colonel at the time of Pearl Harbor and seen wearing the insignia of a full Colonel throughout the film.
The real Admiral Isoroku Yamamoto lost two fingers from his left hand; this happened in battle in 1905. Look closely and you can see both fingers, which the actor is bending to hide from the camera (not always successfully).