- Award Snub: The film was striving for a Best Picture nomination at the Academy Awards, but did not due to its mixed critical reception. Angelina Jolie also tried to make sure the acting performances of Jack O'Connell and Miyavi got nominations too, but neither did as well.
- Critical Dissonance: The film scored a 51% on the Tomatometer and a 59% on Metacritic. However, the Audience Score on Rotten Tomatoes clocks in at 70%, and the audience reviews on Metacritic are overwhelmingly positive. Most critic reviews praised the actors, especially Jack O'Connell, but were all too aware of the fact that it was heavy-handed Oscar Bait and strongly criticized Angelina Jolie for taking too long to tell the story, focusing on the Oscar potential rather than the film, and drawing too many parallels between Zamperini and Jesus Christ.
- Dawson Casting: Watanabe and Zamperini were only one year apart in age, with Watanabe being one year younger. Miyavi was thirty-three when he was cast in the role, and is eleven years older than Jack O'Connell.
- Foe Yay: Watanabe surely wants to leave Louie shellshocked but those manners of approaching him seem to have very inner intentions.
- Then again, Watanabe seems to be only one or two steps removed from being a serial killer, and Zamperini is clearly creeped out. This portrayal is apparently Truth in Television, as not only POWs but fellow Japanese guards noted that Watanabe seemed to get a sexual thrill out of beating prisoners.
- Funny Moments: While floating at sea, Louie, Mack, and Phil are starving and come across a seagull. Of course, they kill the seagull and start eating it. Smash Cut to them start vomiting. While it does sound disgusting on its own, its execution certainly brings a laugh.
- Iron Woobie: Zamperini. The title says it all.
- Jerkass Woobie: Turns out when Zamperini visited the abandoned quarters of his torturer, he learns Watanabe is one due to being a "Well Done, Son!" Guy and The Unfavorite in his family for being the only son to not get a military rank promotion which was why he takes his anger out on him and his fellow comrades.
- Moral Event Horizon: Watanabe's cruel torturing of his prisoners was out of being a personal Jerkass Woobie as noted above, but after the war, he refused to be forgiven by or even meet Zamperini, insisting that he was just doing his duty by "treating them as enemies of Japan." Those of the religious persuasion can tell you that refusing to absolve yourself of such sins doesn't tide over well for you in the afterlife.
- Special Effect Failure: At times the sharks are obviously computer generated.
YMMV / Unbroken