Factual error: Why is Hilts not wearing a uniform? A serving officer captured behind enemy lines in civilian clothing risked being shot as a spy. If a prisoner's uniform was too worn or damaged to wear, it was routine for the German authorities to replace it - a P.O.W. in civilian clothes is an obvious escape risk. He is wearing a pair of tan chinos, a cut off sloppy Joe sweatshirt, both ridiculously anachronistic - Sixties hipster fashions - and nowhere even close to a World War 2 uniform. He is also wearing Army Type III Service boots - something that would never have been issued to a fighter pilot.
Factual error: The strong current of the river the main character falls into carries him to a considerable waterfall. There is not, nor has there ever been, a river of that kind in Flanders' Fields, let alone a waterfall. Anyone who has any insight into the geography of the region will tell you it is flat as can be. The largest body of water, the Yzer, gently meanders and flows into the Channel, even during really rainy times.
Factual error: During the war games they have Jefferson pose as a major in order to facilitate the commandeering of the ambulance and the jeep. Regardless of their personal feelings in the matter the ambulance crew and the driver and troops in the jeep would be perfectly aware that no black man would ever be promoted to a position of authority in an otherwise all white command. We may find it repugnant today but the US Army was rigidly segregated during World War 2 - and it stayed that way until 1948. Jefferson may have been inducted into a special unit like the Dirty Dozen but considering that the future of the entire mission is riding on their success at the games, throwing it all away like that makes no sense at all.
Factual error: When the bombs are being taken down the lane, in the background where the lane meets the road a white mini can be seen passing the entrance.
Factual error: Listening to a radio broadcast, live, since no other indication is given, Joe Louis is completing the 12th round of a fight. This is December 6, 1941. Joe's last fight of 1941 occurred in September, his next fight was January 1942. (00:00:10)
Factual error: Frank, Archie, and Snowy are all rural boys from Western Australia but they all play Australian Rules football expertly. In 1915, Australian Rules was almost unknown outside of Melbourne, in New South Wales, the other side of Australia. In a time before television or film, they wouldn't even know what the ball looked like. The game only started to spread outside Victoria in the 1980s, and there is no way that three people from Western Australia would know how to play the game in 1915, let alone with such skill.
Factual error: Doug Masters and his friend Reggie would be grounded on the spot and have their pilot's licences suspended (and in all likelihood cancelled) after buzzing the motorcyclist. Their flying is grossly unsafe. They would be visible for miles flying well below a safe altitude, but even if they were not seen their radio traffic and radar tracking would tell the authorities everything they needed to know.
Factual error: In one scene they are playing on an Xbox 360, but the Xbox 360 did not come out until 2005, and the game being played, Gears of War, wasn't released until 2006. The movie takes place in 2004.
Factual error: During the final battle, Gordo the tank driver calls out, "Panzerfaust, four o'clock!", as he looks through his periscope. He could not have seen any targets at four o'clock, as the driver's periscope could barely rotate towards the eleven and one o'clock positions, close to the left and right front corners of the tank's hull. The four o'clock position would be near the right rear of the tank.
Factual error: In the scene where Admiral Kimmel is inspecting the crew of the battleship an aide comes up with a message to send some ships to the Atlantic. Admiral Kimmel starts complaining about the orders. No Admiral would ever do this especially in front of enlisted men. In fact he was placed in charge of the Pacific fleet when his predecessor complained about moving the fleet from San Diego to Pearl Harbor.
Factual error: When a group of soldiers goes to Maximus' villa to burn it and kill his family, his son points them, saying in Italian "Mamma! I soldati!" ("Mom, the soldiers!") and then "Papà!" ("Daddy!"). This is because the young actor (Giorgio Cantarini) is Italian and they didn't translate, for some reason. As a result, he's speaking Italian in a movie in English, where people are supposed to speak Latin, in a province where Italian was never ever spoken. (00:43:07)
Factual error: Miller rigs his booby trap by attaching the wires from the bomb to a pole down which a metal runner slides, so that when the runner touches the wires it completes the circuit and detonates the bomb. The trouble is, the pole is made of steel, and steel is very conductive indeed. Miller attaches the exposed end of the wire to the pole without any insulation or gap. The circuit will actually be completed when Miller attaches the battery, and he and his booby trap will be blown sky high.
Factual error: The German fighters depicted in the film are Messerchmitt Bf 109 G-6s, and every single one of them is using the Rüstsatz VI gun pod, that is, 2 extra 20mm Mg 151 cannons. The Luftwaffe only equipped their Bf 109s with the gun pods when they were going to intercept bombers. In this movie, even on the fighter vs fighter missions, they have these gun pods, which is inaccurate, because the gun pods dramatically reduced the turning performance of the Bf 109s.
Factual error: During the plane ride into France, the Paratroopers are holding/carrying their weapons by their sides. In reality, their weapons (M1 Garands, B.A.R.s, etc.) would be carried in special "bags" strapped to their parachute harness. This not only protected their weapons, but also secured them to their person.
Factual error: Most of the parachutes are PX type. These came out in the 1960s. They only used X type during the war - only a few of those are seen in the film. (00:07:00)
Factual error: The final scene of the movie has Col. Kirby and the little Vietnamese boy supposedly on the beach at Da Nang, Vietnam. Kirby is saying, "The future of 'nam is you, kid", and the camera pans out to the sea and the sun is going down. The sun's sinking in the east...
Factual error: After the soldiers' initial disembarkment they are shown crouching in groups near the shore and later running towards the bunkers. Unlike the movie shows, anything even as simple as crouching behind the tank traps, let alone actually standing up and running, was impossible at Dog Green Sector and indeed for anyone when pinned down by a machine gun from a high far-away position. In the real-life landing at Dog Green within 7-10 minutes all the officers of the landing company were dead and the survivors inert. They could do nothing except throw away all their equipment and slowly crawl up the beach, shielded from bullets by the incoming tide and dead bodies. 1 hour 40 minutes after landing twelve (known) survivors made it to the base of the cliffs. Only 2 had enough strength left to go on and fight with another group. (The second wave, apart from one boat which was almost entirely killed, opted to land elsewhere when they saw the fate of the first wave.) In this way the movie rather poorly represents what it meant to make a properly opposed landing on D-Day - although whether this is justified or not is another matter. (00:07:00 - 00:07:40)
Factual error: In the last battle scene when you see shots of the German destroyer through the periscope the last one shot before it's blown up is really bad angling. The ship is far away but in the scope it's very close and the periscope (in order to get that camera angle) is 100 ft in the air.