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Rescue Dawn (2006) Poster

(2006)

Goofs

Anachronisms 

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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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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A Pelican case is visible during the first briefing. Pelican cases were not introduced until 1976.
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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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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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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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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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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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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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When Dieter is captured by the Pathet Lao, the leader is wearing woodland camouflage pattern Battle Dress Uniform pants, which were not issued until 1981.
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The SKS rifles carried by the Pathet Lao have had their bayonets removed, something not seen in a wartime rifle. However, many SKSs imported to the United States had the bayonets removed in order to make them legal for sale in California.
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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 

Dengler's Squadron was VA-145, the squadron painted on the side of his crashed Skyraider plainly says VA-25.
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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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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 aircraft Dieter took off in is not the plane he crashed in. As noted before, the tail section is not that of a Douglas design, but a mix of North American (AT-6) and something from Curtiss (the rounded elevators), and the rudder is fabric, as evidenced by the deformation wrinkles.
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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 

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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Although a UH-60 Blackhawk is depicted on the poster, these aircraft were not built until after the Vietnam War.
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Camouflage BDU's was not the uniform during the Vietnam War. Instead, soldiers wore green uniforms.
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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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The man in the white shirt who captures Dengler speaks Thai (Issan dialect) instead of Laosian
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In the movie, the left wing was shot. In fact, it was the right wing that was hit and caused the crash.
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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.
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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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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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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