Factual error: During the battle at the Marshalls-Gilberts, the movie shows mountainous terrain. The real Marshalls and Gilberts are atolls with very little terrain.

Movie Medic

Factual error: At the end of the movie, a Willys is shown with an inscription on the back: "Left hand drive vehicle." The scene takes place in Midway or Pearl Harbour. This inscription on the vehicle was only for the US forces in England beginning in 1944.

Factual error: The film shows Mitsubishi A6M Zeros at the Marshall-Gilbert raids. Imperial Japanese Navy Air Service units stationed in that area (Chitose Air Group and Yokohama Air Group) operated the older Mitsubishi A5M fighters.

Movie Medic

Factual error: The Doolittle Raiders flew B-25B planes. In the movie it shows the B-25J with a tail gunner.

Factual error: The Doolittle Raid occurred on 18 April, 1942. They were forced to launch early when they encountered Japanese picket vessels. In the movie, they show the Hornet and Enterprise rendezvous, the encounter with the Japanese picket vessels and the launching all occur on the same day. In actuality the Hornet and Enterprise rendezvoused approximately 10 days prior to the encounter with the picket vessels and the launch.

Factual error: Norden bombsights were removed from the Doolittle B-25's for fear they would fall into Japanese hands. Yet they are shown in the movie.

Factual error: Only four B-26 bombers attacked the Japanese fleet, not the dozen shown in the movie.

Factual error: Rear Admiral Raymond Spruance is the tactical commander during the Battle of Midway in the film when in reality it was Vice Admiral Frank Fletcher who was in charge.

Movie Medic

Upvote valid corrections to help move entries into the corrections section.

Suggested correction: While true it's not a mistake, as the movie deliberately focuses on Spruance because of his greater role in the actual battle. Spruance was on scene approximately 36 hours before Fletcher. He had two carriers to Fletcher's one. After Yorktown was torpedoed, Fletcher evacuated to a nearby cruiser. When Spruance asked if Fletcher had additional orders, Fletcher replied "will conform to your movements", effectively turning command over to Spruance.

They didn't 'focus' on Spruance. They deleted Fletcher.

Semantics. If Fletcher is deleted, the only USN Task Force Commander left for the movie to focus on is Spruance.

Factual error: When the destroyer IJN Arashi breaks off its depth charge attack on the USS Nautilus, the Nautilus comes to periscope depth for a look. The view through the periscope shows the Arashi as being equipped with a Pagoda style mast. The Arashi was equipped with a bipod mast. Pagoda style masts were only on the Japanese battleships.

Factual error: In the movie, when the land based bombers from Midway first attack, a Japanese lookout reports enemy planes approaching from "nine o-clock." This would be from the port side of the Japanese fleet. In the actual battle, the first wave of Midway based aircraft approached from various angles between "one o-clock" to "three o-clock", the starboard side of the Japanese fleet. Furthermore, in the movie, the scene showing the Midway bombers approaching the Japanese fleet show them approaching from the starboard side of the fleet. The long distance aerial shot show clear skies on the port side of the Japanese fleet. During the actual battle, the first carrier based aircraft to arrive, the torpedo bombers, which arrived later, did approach the Japanese fleet from the port side. It's possible the scene reporting the attack from "nine o-clock" for the arrival of the Midway aircraft is an editing error and was intended to announce the detection of the approaching carrier based torpedo bombers.

Factual error: The TBD Devastator bombers at one point are shown armed with both torpedoes and bombs. While the Devastator could be armed with either torpedoes or bombs, it could not carry both at the same time. Furthermore the bombs are shown being fitted under the Devastator's wings, the Devastator had no hard-points under the wings in reality.

Factual error: When we see the scene at Coral Sea, with the carrier Lexington sinking in the background. The filmmakers showed a Yorktown-class carrier sinking instead of the very different Lexington-class.


Upvote valid corrections to help move entries into the corrections section.

Suggested correction: This not true, the Yorktown class had a much different island than the Lexington class and you can see it's a Lexington class shown from the starboard side, at an angle, with 2 separate towers (funnel and bridge) instead of 1 like on the Yorktown.


There are 3 Yorktown class carriers in the scene whereas the Lexington and Yorktown were the only American carriers to participate in the battle. Also, the sinking carrier is a Yorktown Class Carrier. The island is not split between the funnel and control tower, the hanger is an open style hanger and the bow is open under the flight deck. The Lexington had a closed hanger and a closed bow.

The USS Enterprise under Halsey arrived after the battle for assistance. That's why you see 3 carriers. You see the ship sink at an angle so you can't tell if the funnel and control tower are split. I do agree about the open bow though. There are some differences, but both ships looked very similar.


Factual error: Captain Bernard Rawlings, the British naval attaché in Tokyo at the beginning of the film, wears no medal ribbons. In fact, as depicted in photographs, Rawlings would have had several ribbons by that stage, including First World War service ribbons and the OBE he was awarded in 1920.


Factual error: The scene shows May 29,1942 as the date for the Admiral Nimitz medal ceremony on the flight deck of the USS Enterprise in port Pearl Harbor. That medal ceremony actually took place in Pearl Harbor onboard USS Enterprise on May 27, 1942. USS Enterprise and USS Hornet departed Pearl Harbor headed for Midway on May 28, 1942. (01:11:37)

Factual error: They show several scenes of Pearl Harbor after the attack where there is no indication that anyone is observing blackout regulations when in reality the whole island was under blackout conditions afterwards.

Factual error: During the funeral scene for the men killed at Pearl Harbor, specifically the LT from the Arizona, it shows the white wooden crosses marking the graves in a disorganized pattern. All graves are arranged so that when looking at the crosses or head stones they all form a straight line in every direction.

Factual error: During the battle at the Marshalls-Gilberts, the movie shows mountainous terrain. The real Marshalls and Gilberts are atolls with very little terrain.

Movie Medic

More mistakes in Midway

Question: At the end it shows Dick Best coming off the Enterprise with the rank of Lt. Commander when he started the battle with the rank of Lieutenant. Did he get a promotion during the battle?

More questions & answers from Midway

Join the mailing list

Separate from membership, this is to get updates about mistakes in recent releases. Addresses are not passed on to any third party, and are used solely for direct communication from this site. You can unsubscribe at any time.

Check out the mistake & trivia books, on Kindle and in paperback.