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USS Indianapolis: Men of Courage (2016) Poster

Goofs

Anachronisms 

The U.S. Navy was segregated until 1947. Black and white sailors would not have been allowed to sit together in the courtroom. They were also not allowed to fraternize.
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The ballroom in San Francisco was in near darkness like a modern club. At the time, dance floors were very well lit because the band members needed to read sheet music, and the athletic dance styles demanded that dancers be able to see one another for safety.
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The sailors see an underwater colored picture of a great white shark in a magazine. The first underwater color picture was taken in the 1920s, but it could only capture objects that weren't moving. Portable underwater cameras were invented in the late 1950s.
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When the ship is returning to Hawaii, music is played through the loudspeakers, including those on deck. As the ship did not have an escort and was trying to be as stealthy as possible, this never would have been allowed.
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When the ship is in port before departure, a fighter flies towards the camera at a distance of perhaps 100 feet from the ship and some 20 above the water. This never would have happened, as the plane would be easily identifiable at that distance, the pilot would face immediate courts martial, and he would face severe punishment. At that point in the war, he would have been stripped of his wings.
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At one point McWhorter (Tom Sizemore) tells his crew mates that the shark that would pose the greatest danger would be the great white. This shark rarely strays more than 100 miles from a coastline and, other than Hawaii and Tiananmen island. There would have been no great whites where the ship went down.
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The can of SPAM Captain McVay (Cage) opens on the raft after the sinking is a modern "pop top" can not the WWII type that opens with a key that came attached to the can.
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Towards the end of the movie, a sailor comes home and finds his mother working on an International Harvester Farmall 140 tractor. This type began production in 1958, and the movie tractor is a later generation model from the 1960s or early 1970s. The correct equivalent tractor in the 1940s would be an International Harvester Farmall A.
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Factual errors 

The USS Indianapolis (CA-35), a Portland class heavy cruiser, is portrayed by the USS Alabama, (BB-60), a South Dakota class battleship. No attempt is made to make the Alabama look anything like Indianapolis, a completely different type of ship.
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In the film, sailors who survived the USS Indianapolis attack were attacked by great white sharks. In real life, most of the sharks were white tip and tiger sharks.
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During the opening Kamikaze attack, Captain McVey stands on the bridge and tells the guns to fire over and over again. In real life, he would give the "Open Fire" order, and the Fire Director for each gun or battery of guns would direct the fire. The Captain and all men not deep within the ship during combat would wear helmets and life jackets until the action was over.
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The phonetic alphabet was Able, Baker at this time. Alfa,Bravo, etc was implemented in 1956.
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A sailor would never salute uncovered (without a hat).
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Putting aside the (already observed) fact that there aren't any great white sharks in the area where the ship went down, the sharks that would have been present (oceanic white tips, tigers) would not have stuck around as the ship sunk. Sharks are very cautious by nature, and highly sensitive. The noise, commotion and electrical signals would most definitely have frightened them away. There wouldn't have been one right next to McVay as he hit the water. They would have waited until things had calmed down, and then begun investigating.
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Commander Hashimoto's testimony at Captain McVey's court martial was not a surprise to the press or the JAG. According to discovery procedure, the prosecutor had to disclose his witness list to the defense. Hashimoto was deposed by the prosecution and defense in pre-trial. The press had published that Hashimoto would be testifying at the court martial, and the public was aware. The day of testimony, Hashimoto's picture appeared on the front pages of newspapers. Hashimoto also testified through a Navy interpreter. As a citizen and officer of Japan, he took the United States oath and the Japanese civil oath, and he could have been prosecuted for perjury in both jurisdictions.
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In the movie, the Indianapolis splits in half while it sinks. According to Captain McVay's after action report, the ship sank by the head, then developed a 30 degree list to starboard, which rapidly increased to 90 degrees before it finally capsized and sank out of sight.
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Captain (later Rear Admiral) McVay ended his life in his front yard, not inside his home.
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As the ship sinks the four screws (propellers) are all rotating in the same direction. The screws on the port side would rotate in the opposite direction from those on the starboard.
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When at the mansion discussing the proposal, before the flight, one of the sailors says "you miss 100% of the shots you don't take." That is a Wayne Gretzky quote from 1983, not prior to WWII.
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In the opening scene, the Japanese Kamikaze aircraft are early war Mitsubishi A6M2 Zero fighters, in a paint scheme and markings that had been phased out by mid-1942. By 1945, there would have been very few A6M2 versions still flying, and certainly not in squadron strength as depicted in the film. Later versions, such as the A6M5, which looked quite different to the earlier version, and painted in late war green camouflage, would have been more authentic.
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In the movie, the ocean water is green/brown. In reality, the ocean water in the South Pacific is clear and blue.
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Miscellaneous 

After torpedo attack as the 2 sailors are making their way out, one grabs the dog to open the door and burns his hands severely, yet there was no fire on the other side of the door.
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Shortly after the ship has been torpedoed, a magazine with a shark on the cover has the title 'NATUTAL GEOGRAPHY'.
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Immediately after the order has been given to abandon ship, a magazine with a shark on the cover has the title 'NATUTAL GEOGRAPHY'.
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Incorrectly regarded as goofs 

When the first scene of men manning the USS Independence, the camera shot from below looking-up to the bow of the ship, one can see a jet plane contrail in the sky. No jet contrails in 1945.

Airplanes with propellers also create contrails; it is a common misconception that they do not. Furthermore, many aircraft capable of flying high enough to leave contrails were operated by U.S. forces in the Pacific in 1945.
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Revealing mistakes 

After doing the water landing, Lt. Adrian Marks looks through his binoculars at the USS Indianapolis crew. After he puts down the binoculars the reflection off his sunglasses are condominiums from Orange Beach, Alabama where this scene was filmed. He was facing the beaches of Orange Beach, AL.
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Several times throughout the film, the 45 caliber decks guns (the largest guns on ship) are shown with brass barrel caps plugging the holes. These caps were later added to the USS Alabama display, where the movie was filmed, but these caps would not have been in use during wartime on the USS Indianapolis.
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When the Captain addresses his new crew, and subsequently takes a crew photo on deck, at the bottom right of the screen, modern cargo cranes from the Mobile cargo terminal (APM) are visible for a brief moment.
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See also

Trivia | Crazy Credits | Quotes | Alternate Versions | Connections | Soundtracks

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