Factual error: The East German police cars bear the name folkspolizei. The correct spelling is volkspolizei (People's Police).
Factual error: At the beginning of the film, as Rudolf Abel is trying to evade the FBI, he gets on the subway. It's 1957 but the subway train he's in is a model that wasn't produced until 1964.
Factual error: When the exchange is made in Berlin it is bitter winter with snow on the ground. But Donovan returns to New York (the TV newsmen is reporting that Powers has been returned "earlier this morning") so it is within hours, and yet the leaves on the trees in NY are green, the grass is green, people are in shirtsleeves. Berlin and NY share the same seasons.
Factual error: The US Supreme Court shown in this movie is not located in Washington, DC. There are no tall skyscrapers located to the side of the real building as shown here, nor are there bollards as shown. This looks like the exterior of the NYC Courthouse, not the US Supreme Court. (00:54:10)
Factual error: When Abel is arrested by the FBI there is a modern VFR flight chart posted on the wall.
Factual error: When the U2 pilots are in Pakistan and get to see the plane they will be flying, they open the hanger doors and in the background there is either an F-5 or T-38 aircraft taxiing out on the tarmac. The Air force did not take delivery of these aircraft until 1961. The U2 shoot down over the Soviet Union took place in May of 1960.
Factual error: The arrest of the Russian spy occurs in June of 1957, however in the street scene prior to the arrest a 1958 Chevrolet is easily spotted. A 1959 Plymouth is also visible in the first 1957 scene.