Historical Inaccuracies: Michael Bay’s ‘Pearl Harbor’ (2001)

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Trivial Diversions

Historical Inaccuracies: Michael Bay’s ‘Pearl Harbor’ (2001)

Historical Inaccuracies: Michael Bay’s ‘Pearl Harbor’ (2001)

Full disclosure: When this movie came out and I was 11 years old, I thought it was great and Josh Hartnett was just so dreamy! However, this movie does not hold up and its historical flubs are just too much to overlook.

  • In an opening scene, a crop dusting plane is shown flying over cotton fields in 1923 but the U.S. Department of Agriculture didn’t issue these dusters until 1926.
  • Ben Affleck’s character joins the Eagle Squadron, but US airmen were traditionally forbade to join.
  • Affleck’s Spitfire has “RF” as an insignia. This was the insignia for the No. 303 Polish Fighter Squadron.
  • Japanese Zero fighters were painted light gray/white, not green as in the movie.
  • Marlboro Lights can be spotted on a sailor, this brand was not introduced until 1972.
  • AC Units can be seen in White House windows but were not added until 1952.
  • Admiral Kimmel was not on a golf course when the bombing started and was not notified that the Japanese embassy staff was leaving Washington D.C. before the attacks.
  • The Japanese never deliberately attacked medical staff at the hospital on base.
  • There were no attacks on American airfields by Japanese torpedo bombers.
  • There is no record of FDR struggling to get out of his wheelchair to prove impossible things can happen.

still-pearl-harbor-movie

Related topics Ben Affleck, Historical inaccuracies, Josh Hartnett, Michael Bay, Pearl Harbor
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