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Rescue Dawn (2006) Poster

(2006)

Goofs

Continuity 

Dengler's Squadron was VA-145, the squadron painted on the side of his crashed Skyraider plainly says VA-25.
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Anachronisms 

At the beginning (set in 1966), the pilots are making fun of a survival film. However, the survival film was made in 1967 according to the documentary "Little Dieter Needs to Fly".
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A Pelican case is visible during the first briefing. Pelican cases were not introduced until 1976.
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When flying the Skyraider, Dieter Dengler (Christian Bale) is wearing a SPH-4 Helicopter pilot helmet that is missing it's visor assembly. In addition to missing a major portion of the helmet, this helmet was not in use during the time period of the film (it wasn't seen until the 1970s), and was not used by the pilots of fixed wing aircraft.
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Dengler has a navy blue passport; U.S. passports of the time were green. Near the end, a nurse removes clear tape from the IV in his hand; clear medical tape was not in use at the time.
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The helicopter shown in the ready room survival film is far too new for the mid 1960s.
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In the supply scene, the supply sailors are wearing modern blue utility shirts that were not in use until the 1990s.
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The blue truck taking Dengler from the village in the beginning is clearly a contemporary model, not a 1960-era model.
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In the supply room scene, the sailors are shown with name tapes, and "U.S. NAVY" tapes on their dungaree uniform shirts. The US Navy did not use these until 1992. During the Viet Nam Era, Sailors either stenciled or hand printed their last name above their left breast pocket.
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In the supply scene, before setting out for the mission, the U.S. passport Dieter shows is not only the wrong color (blue rather than green), but is also the smaller size in use today rather than the larger size in use at the time.
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The aircraft carrier presented in the opening sequence is supposedly the USS Ranger, however Dengler's plane takes off from an entirely different vessel.
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Character error 

Shortly after being shot down, Dengler is seen randomly flashing his signal mirror in order to attract attention. The proper way to use such a mirror is to sight the rescue aircraft through the transparent circle in the center of the mirror, which then automatically aims the reflected light right at the aircraft.
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Continuity 

At the end of the scene in which Dieter is given the choice of signing the document condemning America, his glass of water magically gets refilled as he is taken away, and then goes back to its original level.
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The type of aircraft changed in the crash scene: Dieter Dengler's aircraft was an AD-1 Skyraider. The tail section of the crashed aircraft in the rice paddy is most likely that of a North American AT-6 which has rounded vertical and horizontal tail profiles. The Skyraider has squared off tail profiles.
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At several points during the film, Dengler can be seen wearing a wedding band, but he is not married because he and several other characters throughout the film make reference to his fiancé.
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When Dieter enters the camp there is a discussion where he mentions that he was just engaged the day before being shot down. Later in the film there are several instances where a gold wedding band is on his left hand.
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Crew or equipment visible 

At 1:19:35 , when Dieter steals the rifles from the hut and approaches the other prisoners before their attack on the kitchen, a crew member (wearing a cap) can be seen moving from the right of the screen to the left with a camera or some other equipment.
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When Dieter is dragged behind the water buffalo shortly after his capture, you can see the tracks of the car dragging Christian Bale in the sand.
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Errors in geography 

During the night time jungle scenes, calls of the Fowler's Toad (Bufo fowleri) are clearly heard. These toads are only found in North America.
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Factual errors 

Camouflage BDU's was not the uniform during the Vietnam War. Instead, soldiers wore green uniforms.
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Although a UH-60 Blackhawk is depicted on the poster, these aircraft were not built until after the Vietnam War.
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After the attack aircraft was hit, the instruments on the panel indicate a rate of descent far in excess of what was being depicted in the rest of the frame.
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Twice in the film Dengler is referred to as Flight Lieutenant Dengler. There is no such rank in the U.S. Navy, nor in the U.S. military. That's an RAF rank. Dengler was a Lieutenant Junior Grade, commonly called at LT JG (Lieutenant Jay Gee).
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Helmet worn by Dengler as he flies his Skyraider is not the proper type. What's worn in the film was used by helicopter crews. Fixed wing tactical crews wore slightly narrower helmets (no bulges at the ears) which were typically white and had a tinted visor.
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The Narrator states that the aircraft is making an approach to the carrier Ranger, a Forestal class carrier. The carrier shown is a modified Essex class carrier commonly referred to as a 27C.
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When the Skyraider crashes, the view from the tail forward shows the tail surfaces of something more like a Republic P-47 than a Douglas Skyraider. A Skyraider empennage is squared off, not rounded like a Republic or Curtiss craft.
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The man in the white shirt who captures Dengler speaks Thai (Issan dialect) instead of Laosian
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Incorrectly regarded as goofs 

During his captivity, Dieter is shown wearing his gold wedding band - it is generally regard as something no American pilot would do. However, on the DVD Walter Herzog explains a deleted scene where Dieter's ring is almost stolen. When the guards are transporting Dengler to prison they stop at a village. A man there threatens to kill Dieter unless he gives him his ring-a gift from his fiancée. When they leave the village Dieter tells the guards his ring was stolen and they return to the village. The guards cut off the villager's ring finger and return Dieter's ring to him. This is a factual event that haunted Dengler the rest of his life.
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When Dengler is rescued, he only lowers one prong on the jungle penetrator rescue seat instead of the two prongs as taught in survival training. This is explained in Dengler's book because he was "woozy and distant".
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Revealing mistakes 

During Dieter's shoot-down scene, when the camera cuts to the flight instruments inside his plane, the altimeter is shown winding down rapidly from 57,000 feet yet he's just above the ground. Also note, the 10,000-foot indicator fails to move at all AND the rate of climb indicator shows a slight climb.
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Spoilers 

The goof items below may give away important plot points.

Anachronisms 

The rescue helicopter that lands at the base is a UH-1N, a variant that did not see service until 1970.
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Anachronisms 

The protagonist's funny and "inspiring" words at the close of the film sound like a Zen or Confucian quote picked up in captivity but, a) they were spoken first by an American (Alice Roosevelt Longworth, the daughter of Theodore Roosevelt), and, b) Alice didn't say those words until 1974, 8 years after Dengler was rescued.
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Continuity 

The rescue helicopter that picks up Dengler from the jungle is a Bell UH-1D; before landing at the base, it turns into a UH-1N with a different camouflage pattern.
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Continuity 

When Dieter is finally rescued and in the helicopter, a camera angle from outside of the helicopter shows him holding a Butterfinger. However, the next camera angle from inside of the helicopter shows one of the soldiers handing the Butterfinger to Dieter, who looks at it as if it were his first time seeing it.
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Factual errors 

In the air to ground attack, the plane's 2.5" rockets are shown to be dropped like bombs; rockets are fired, not dropped. Even if the rockets in this instance were bombs, it would be rare for them to be dropped all at once.
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See also

Trivia | Crazy Credits | Quotes | Alternate Versions | Connections | Soundtracks

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