The Berlin Reserve are called out twice to contain the district as per the orders of "Operation Valkyrie". In all the shots, they are wearing full combat field kit. As garrisoned troops, they would only take their ammunition pouches, bayonet, and gas mask. They would also wear steel helmets, though officers could wear their field caps.
(at around 1h 18 mins) On the banner with the inscription "Führer befiehl, wir folgen dir", the font used is a Gothic type. This is extremely improbable, given that Hitler had banned all Gothic types in 1941 while openly stating that they were of Jewish origin.
Henning von Tresckow was not promoted to Major General (Generalmajor) until June 1st, 1944 - until then, he held the rank of colonel. However, Kenneth Branagh is wearing a Major General's uniform throughout the movie.
Mertz von Quirnheim's spectacles are British NHS brown mottle code 614 post introduction of the NHS in 1947. Olbricht's are code 524 in Flesh/skin tone. They went out of production in 1983. The numbers refer to eye shape-bridge type-side type.
Colonel Claus Schenk Graf von Stauffenberg is wearing a WWI campaign ribbon on his dress uniform seen in one or two scenes. Stauffenberg was too young to be in WWI, and Germany did not use campaign ribbons in WWII.
(at around 35 mins) When Claus Schenk Graf von Stauffenberg is speaking with his fellows, he looks at the portrait of Adolf Hitler hanging on the wall and says "At the end of this the portrait will be unhung, and a man will be hung." The grammatically correct past tense of "hang" (as a method of execution) is "hanged".
When Adolf Hitler is flying into Smolensk, his plane has D-2600 and a black stripe painted on the wing. However, in the shot of the final approach to the runway (view from behind), the plane is devoid of these markings. They return once the plane is on the ground.
After Claus Schenk Graf von Stauffenberg shaves on the morning of the final assassination attempt and cuts himself, some blood drips on his shirt. As he gets into a car in the next scene, the blood is not there, but reappears when he arrives at the Wolf's lair.
(at around 15 mins) When Colonel Claus Schenk Graf von Stauffenberg is in hospital after being wounded in Africa we see him giving wounded soldiers medals. On one soldier we see the indentation from the medal (in previous takes) before it has been placed on the lapel.
(at around 37 mins) Claus Schenk Graf von Stauffenberg and his adjunct are shown being driven on their way to have the new version of Walküre signed by Adolf Hitler. There is a panoramic view of the exterior of the Berghof (Hitler's private residence). It is shown situated on the extreme top of a hill with large mountains (the Alps) a kilometer away in the distance, but nothing directly behind it. In reality, the Berghof was built onto the side of a hill and not on the top. In any period photograph of the Berghof you will clearly see the hill continues to ascend behind the building and there was a thick forest of trees behind it as well (covering the hill well above the height of the Berghof's roof). In the film no trees are shown behind the main building and it is shown to basically stand on its own, on the top of a hill.
(at around 6 mins) As Adolf Hitler and party arrive by air to Smolensk in Russia, in March 1943, the camera pans upon a vast green forest with not a trace of snow. March in this part of Russia is a quagmire of melting snow, ice and mud.
In the film Otto Remer arrives to arrest Goebbels unannounced. Goebbels places a cyanide capsule in his mouth and hands Remer the phone hoping he will speak to Hitler to confirm Hitler is still alive. One assumes that Goebbels intends to bite the capsule should Remer decide to arrest Goebbels. This is not what occurred. Remer issued the orders to secure Berlin as per the implemention of Operation Valkyrie but realised that something was wrong. Remer immediately telephoned Goebbels and discussed the matter with him. He was then invited to visit Goebbels whereupon Goebbels arranged telephone contact with the Wolfs Lair and Remer was allowed to confirm that Hitler was still alive.
(at around 1h 8 mins) The table leg where Colonel Claus Schenk Graf Von Stauffenberg places the bomb was a "stout" (block) leg not a peg leg as shown in the scene. This was the critical difference in saving Hitler's life, because Colonel Brandt, trying to get a better view of the map, moved the briefcase to the other side of the stout block, away from Hitler. The blast thus blew away from Hitler, and ironically toward Brandt, who died from it.
On the day of the attempt at Rastenburg, Claus Schenk Graf von Stauffenberg managed to get through Security Zone II with his briefcase containing the explosives without problems. He knew however that on entering the inner Security Zone I, all personnel except Adolf Hitler's inner circle were thoroughly searched, as a precaution against assassination attempts. In order to avoid it von Stauffenberg arranged so that he entered the Zone with Field Marshal Wilhelm Keitel - an officer in Keitel's company would not be searched.
Friedrich Olbricht is one star short. While he is correctly addressed as "General", and his official correspondence also names him as a General of The Infantry (General der Infanterie), Bill Nighy's uniform is that of a Lieutenant General (Generalleutnant), sporting the shoulder cords for General Officers with only one star.
(at around 17 mins) When Claus Schenk Graf von Stauffenberg is recruited in the church, the camera pans up to show the bombed-out ceiling. Nuns and priests removed the stained glass windows from churches and buried them outside cities before the Allied forces began bombing Germany. If the ceiling was bombed out, the stained glass windows shouldn't be there.
The aerial forest photos shot near and around the 'Wolf's Lair' obviously shows 'tree farms' (trees are all planted in a row). In 1944 there might have been Christmas tree farms but there were no 'logging' tree farms.
Hitler was extremely far-sighted and needed to wear spectacles in order to read unless the letters of the text were very large. Yet, Hitler is often shown not wearing them when reading or examining maps and paperwork. When he is seen reviewing the updated Operation Valkyrie plans presented by von Stauffenberg, he is not wearing his spectacles. But during the first briefing at the Wolf's Lair, he is shown wearing them. But at the second briefing, the one during which the bomb explodes, he is not wearing them even though he is reviewing a map.
The scene at the Berlin Tempelhof Airport shows a Junkers 52 transport outside on the ramp, and a Messerschmitt 109 inside the hangar. The Messerschmitt appears to be a Spanish-built CASA, with an upright V British Merlin V-12 engine. Real Messerschmits had an inverted V Daimler-Benz engine. Very few airworthy examples of the Me-109 remain. The CASA type shown, which was flown at the 2008 Duxford Airshow, is fitted with a British Merlin engine.
Close shots of David Bamber's eyes are seen only sparingly but it is apparent that the eye color is inaccurate. Adolf Hitler's eyes were known to be a penetrating blue and said by some to even be bordering on violet-blue.
The pencil detonators are improperly armed throughout the movie.
While the arming procedure does call for crushing the cap to release the acid, the detonator is equipped with a safety device that must be removed after the device is armed for it to function. The safety device is not shown at any time.
It can be argued that the conspirators opted to remove this device beforehand, however this is unlikely, given the risk. The pencil detonators, while state of the art at the time, were commonly known to release the striker immediately after arming, which would instantly detonate the explosive if the safety device was not present. The conspirators would have known this.
Henning von Tresckow delivers the Cointreau bomb to Colonel Brandt at the aircraft, and later retrieves it from HQ in Berlin. According to 'Offiziere Gegen Hitler', Tresckow's deputy, Fabian von Schlabrendorff, did both in real life.
(at around 1h 40 mins) In the ensuing gunfight at the Bendlerblock (Headquarters of the Army) Claus Schenk Graf von Stauffenberg was actually wearing his white summer uniform jacket, not the Wehrmacht (Army) uniform as shown in the movie.
The Afrika Korps General is wearing the Knight's Cross on the wrong neck ribbon of black/silver-gray. It should be red-orange, white, black. The other neck ribbon is not fitting for this decoration. Shortly after in the film, General Olbricht is seen wearing the proper ribbon. Also the General's collar devices are too big so that the center bullion device is far too small and out-of proportion.
When Claus Schenk Graf von Stauffenberg is being driven through the forest to his first meeting with Adolf Hitler, the date and time appear several times, and the time is around noon. However, the shadows are far longer than they should be for that time of day.
The first two sequences are out of historical sequence. The attempt by Henning Von Treskow to blow up Hitler's plane as it flew from Smolensk to Rastenburg took place March 13, 1943. The P-40 fighter-bomber attack which crippled Claus Schenk Graf von Stauffenberg was delivered by the American 33rd Fighter Group on April 7, 1943.
The opening scenes show Hitler arrive in a Junkers-52 airplane. However his personal "Füherflugzeug" (eg. leaders plane) was a modified version of the Focke-Wulf-200. This plane has four engines and a higher range compared to the Junkers shown in the movie.
(at around 4 mins) The P-40's that attack the Germans in the beginning of the movie have the Flying Tiger teeth painted on them. The Flying Tigers were based in China during WWII. However, shark mouth was often used on the P-40 by other units, such as 112 squadron RAF - not just by the Flying Tigers; P-40's in the movie in fact clearly have the correct British camouflage for North Africa.
In a number of scenes, Colonel Claus Schenk Graf von Stauffenberg is seen wearing crimson stripes on his trouser legs, which are mistakenly believed to be red stripes worn only by German Generals; however, crimson stripes were worn by all German General Staff officers below the rank of General.
(at around 41 mins) In one shot, when Claus Schenk Graf von Stauffenberg is showing Adolf Hitler the updated Valkyrie plan, he looks down with both eyes. His left eye is glass, but prosthetic eyes are fitted against the muscles, so they can move.
Colonel Claus Schenk Graf von Stauffenberg and his wife Countess Nina Von Stauffenberg have very dark hair, yet their children have blond hair. The gene for blond hair is generally recessive, so if both parents are carriers, each child has a 25% chance of having blond hair. Additionally, some of the real Stauffenberg children had blond hair.
(at around 40 mins) As Adolf Hitler crosses the room to receive the new Valkyrie plan from Stauffenberg the upper part of his shadow advances faster than he does. This must be caused by an artificial light source outside the window, rather than what otherwise appears to be sunlight.
(at around 52 mins) Colonel Claus Schenk Graf von Stauffenberg travels to and from secret meetings with Adolf Hitler in a Mercedes-Benz convertible. If you look closely at the front chrome grill, you can clearly see shiny outlines of various emblems that were removed prior to filming. The emblems are placed on Mercedes-Benz cars by their owners to indicate milestones in mileage, etc. They would never have been on a Nazi car.
(at around 4 mins) The P-40s that attack the Germans in the beginning of the movie do not have any rockets or bombs and neither do any of them fire their machine guns that caused the first explosion that killed the general and blew Claus Schenk Graf von Stauffenberg off his feet. There just seemed to be an explosion when the fighters came up behind the Germans and nothing caused it.
Shortly after the bombing attempt against Adolf Hitler, Colonel Claus Schenk Graf von Stauffenberg is standing in an office at the Ministry and the camera pulls out to reveal both hands intact, including all his fingers. He is supposed to have lost one of his hands and 2 fingers off his other hand.
(at around 1h 45 mins) Ludwig Beck did not succeed in killing himself as is shown in the film. His first shot grazed his temple. Fromm gave him time to "collect himself" before he tried again. His second attempt also failed, so another officer ended up finishing him off.
Just before Claus Schenk Graf von Stauffenberg is shot, Lieutenant Werner von Haeften jumps in front to shield him from the bullets and dies instead. While the powerful Karabiner 98 Kurz rifle, that the execution squad is using, can easily fire a bullet straight through the body of von Haeften, with more than enough momentum to kill von Stauffenberg, this scene is a true depiction of the event.
(at around 1h 45 mins) The officer in charge of the firing squad never gives the order to fire when Lt. Haeften is shot. This is because a single man in the firing squad fires without the order being given, which is quite obviously shown in the film by the surprised look on the officer's face and following tremble in his voice.
It seems odd that with at least 3 men being shot before Claus Schenk Graf von Stauffenberg and Haeften that there is not a single drop of blood on the ground. Even as Haeften is being carried off there is not even a small patch where he should have bleed out after being shot with 6-10 rifles. This is especially evident as Stauffenberg is being shot when the camera moves to an aerial view of the execution grounds. However, a realistic portrayal could have caused the movie to receive a stronger rating.