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.
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.
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.
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.
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 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.
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.
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.
When the instructor of the training flight realizes she is with the Japanese fighter planes, she looks around to see she is surrounded all around by them. When she speaks to the trainee pilot that she is taking control of the plane, there is a Japanese plane immediately to her left, so close you can see the Japanese pilots' faces. However when we see her taking evasive action, there are no Japanese planes any where near her plane.
In three consecutive shots of the Nevada making her run for the sea, you see an overhead shot of her steaming alongside the other Battleships in Battleship Row, then she is seen from a dock steaming alongside the dock (you even see a jeep pull up to the edge of the dock) and then back to the overhead shot alongside the other Battleships again.
The USS Oklahoma switches back and forth from being completely upside-down with only her hull above water to being half-capsized, many times in the attack sequence. In fact, the film ends with the Oklahoma only partially capsized, while earlier in the film, she had already completely 'turned turtle' once. Furthermore, real photographs of the Oklahoma after it had capsized show her hull very low in the water with only one propeller partially out of the water, while in the film, the capsized battleship seems to be quite high over the water.
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.
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.
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)
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.
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."
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.
When Adm. Halsey is watching the bombing practice, the number 14 is clearly seen on the bow section of the flight deck of the aircraft carrier he is aboard. Halsey's flagship was the USS Enterprise and its number was 6 but was marked 'ENT' in 1941. Number 14 was the USS Ticonderoga and was not launched until 1944.
Cornelia Fort, the civilian flight instructor who was conducting a lesson when her plane was surrounded by the first wave of Japanese bombers, was only 22 on December 7, 1941. The uncredited actress playing her appears several decades older. (Some unconfirmed sources credit Jeff Donnell with the role, and she would have been in her late 40s at the time of the filming.)
Just before the attack when the officers launch ties up at the dock on Ford Island, the two officers who get off the launch only salute the coxswain while disembarking. In Naval protocol since the launch was flying the ensign (American flag) from its stern, they would have had to salute the ensign after saluting the coxswain, just as if they were departing a ship.
When the USS Arizona is hit by the fateful bomb, her magazine appears to detonate immediately after impact; this is incorrect as the bomb would have first had to penetrate her top deck and go down deeply enough to set off the magazine with its detonation, which in turn means that there would have been a brief delay from initial impact to the explosion.
When the USS Arizona explodes, the explosion is shown to completely cover the ship's top deck, going all the way to the rear of the ship; in reality, the explosion was mostly relegated to the forward portion of the ship. In addition to that, in the 'long shot' of the battleship exploding with the repair ship USS Vestal in the foreground, we see a dark plume of smoke emerge from the ship's funnel as the huge fireball from the main explosion billows; in the now-famous video footage of the ship exploding, the black smoke emerged from the funnel just before the rest of the explosion occurred.
Japanese leaders refer to the timing of the attack and delivery of their ultimatum to the United States as being in accordance with the Geneva Convention. This is related to the treatment of prisoners of war. The Hague Convention of 1899 lays out the process to declare war.
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).
IN the sequence in which the Japanese task force increases speed for the final-run-in to launch, ('From point D proceed to Point E - battle speed'.) the map on which the navigator plots his course is printed in English, with the point designations also printed in Roman letters, not Kanji ('Japanese') as a Japanese navigator would do.
At the beginning of the launch sequence when Admiral Nagumo, Lt, Cmdr. Genda, and some other officers exit the bridge to the platform which allows them to look down on the deck of the Akagi, where deck crew are s[potting the aircraft for launch, the door to the bridge, which is supposed to be made of steel plate, is obviously made of some much lighter material - wood or possibly even foam rubber.