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"Dunkirk Movie" Topic

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Rallynow Supporting Member of TMP20 Jul 2017 7:56 p.m. PST

Just got back from seeing the movie in IMAX 2D. It was good, not great, but good. Performances were top notch. Air to air action is the best part of the movie. That probably soaked up most of the budget.

We are told in the movie, that there are 400,00 men on the beach but the shots of the beach showed more like 300 to 600. Needed more extras or CGI.

CGI would have come in handy when viewing all the civilian boats. Seemed to me to be about 20 to 30 boats in the movie. I always pictured that beach with a lot of abandon equipment but you hardly saw any.

You never saw any Germans until the very end when you see a blurry picture of a couple of Germans. You do see some French. One scene of a French sand bagged machine gun position and a few trying to board a Royal Navy ship.

That was when I heard my favorite line. Spoken by a RN Petty Officer to a group of French Soldiers trying to board a RN ship. Something like,

"These are our ships, you chaps have your own ships."

Had to be there.

Prince Alberts Revenge20 Jul 2017 8:25 p.m. PST

Haven't looked forward to a movie like this one in a long time. Seeing it on Monday night. The previews looked amazing. Nolan said it's not a war movie so much as a suspense thriller about escape. I also read that Nolan's ticking watch can be heard in the background of all the musical scores. Can't wait.

Rallynow Supporting Member of TMP20 Jul 2017 9:26 p.m. PST

If your claustrophobic, then you may not want to see it. There are multiple escape the ship scenes. With three or four going on at once. The film jumps between them and the air combat. I think the air action is the best part of the movie.

donkey120 Jul 2017 9:50 p.m. PST

Seeing it tomorrow. Looking forward to it but agree the trailers so far seem to focus a lot on the aircraft.

One thing that intrigues me from the trailers – did the germans really torpedo a hospital ship? I wouldn't have thought they would but it seems a strange and potentially antagonising storyline to just make up.



4D Jones21 Jul 2017 12:02 a.m. PST

Is it coincidental that this film and the one about Churchill are released at a time when Britain is withdrawing from Europe?

donkey121 Jul 2017 12:27 a.m. PST

I read a couple of short books (two volumes) which were a collection of accounts from German Soldiers fighting at D-Day.

The stories were generally conveyed confusion but there was a common recurring theme, the reason why they were continuing to fight.

It was to protect a unified Europe against the communists and their capitalist supporters the USA. They were generally confused why Britain had sided with USA and Russia because surely that they should be part of a strong and unified Europe. They truly believed that they were defending the French people helping them remain part of a Unified Europe and that in general the French nation welcomed their help and despised the threat from the Russia, the USA and the British.

Deleted by Moderator



Khusrau21 Jul 2017 12:41 a.m. PST

Can we keep Deleted by Moderator national stereotyping out of this please chaps?

There were a lot of French soldiers lost their lives defending the Dunkirk perimeter, quite contrary to what the propaganda and mythology would have you believe.

Pan Marek Supporting Member of TMP21 Jul 2017 3:47 a.m. PST

Khusrau- Thank you.

Saw the film last night. It did emphasize suspense, and for that reason, I was on the edge of my seat through most of it.
An effectively different take on doing a war film. And perhaps most suited to Dunkirk because, in the end, the big question was: How many can we get off the beach before the Germans break through?

As for numbers of men or boats, I felt the movie was emphasizing different set pieces rather than "huge overview".

Legion 421 Jul 2017 5:31 a.m. PST

Looks like a great movie.

There were a lot of French soldiers lost their lives defending the Dunkirk perimeter, quite contrary to what the propaganda and mythology would have you believe.
And some Belgium too, IIRC, I read that some Belgium troops were evacuated also …

As we all know. The Allies had to have "detachments left in contact" to allow some of the others to escape "to fight another day". A bad order to give, I'd think . But the "ruthless" reality of the situation was clear and the choice was pragmatic. And not one made easily, I'm sure.

The Allies did what they could and in turn had to do. But at that time of the war. They appeared to be "outclassed", etc., so to speak. By the more effective & efficient forces of the German nation. However, many lessons were learn, but at a high cost, sadly.

I don't think it is "proper", etc. to berate, etc., what the Allied troops did in this situation and even throughout that campaign. In many cases a number of heroic actions, etc., occurred …

Hopefully this film with be worthy of all their sacrifices. And may of the public who don't know what "Dunkirk" was. Will see the heroism and sacrifice that happened in this important part of WWII history.

And as always, may they all RIP …

Paul B21 Jul 2017 5:53 a.m. PST

I thought about 100,000 French troops were evacuated, so that comment about our ships you mention gives a rather false impression.

WillieB Supporting Member of TMP21 Jul 2017 6:11 a.m. PST

And some Belgium too, IIRC, I read that some Belgium troops were evacuated also …

As we all know. The Allies had to have "detachments left in contact" to allow some of the others to escape "to fight another day". A bad order to give, I'd think . But the "ruthless" reality of the situation was clear and the choice was pragmatic. And not one made easily, I'm sure.

My father was made a prisoner of war on May 27th, near Ghent. His battery was completely out of ammunition on May 27th, but they were still shelling German positions the day before. He made it to England in October or November 1940 where he met my mother.

21eRegt21 Jul 2017 7:31 a.m. PST

A significant number of French were evacuated to form the basis of the Free French forces. Some Belgians was well, though their nation had surrendered before. It does down-play the 40,000 casualties the French took defending the perimeter. A brief flash at the beginning of the film hardly does them justice. I think the film also lacked a historic retrospective. It would have been nice to know at the end just how successful the evacuation had been. A passing comment from Branagh is easily missed. Worth the price of admission, but less than I had hoped.

goragrad21 Jul 2017 8:27 a.m. PST

A quick look at Wiki notes that about 190K British troops were evacuated from Dunkirk along with about 140K French, Belgian, and Dutch.

It also notes that the day after the RN had declared that the evacuation was over with all British troops evacuated, that Churchill insisted they go back for the French and that 26K were evacuated that following day with the operation ceasing with the fall of the town leaving 30-40K to be captured.

A bit sad that the film then apparently leaves the impression that it was British only.

On the other hand a major percentage of the French who were evacuated did return to France after the country officially surrendered (as could be expected), leading to some umbrage from Britons who had seen the RN and RAF take casualties in their evacuation.

Jcfrog Supporting Member of TMP21 Jul 2017 9:27 a.m. PST

Out of the maybe 150000 French evacuated from Dunquerque and elsewhere, a mere 3000 joined the free French. So much for the famous impact of DecGaule at least till the allies were seen as winning.

Yes they fight well to cover the process.

Eager to see that film.

Pizzagrenadier21 Jul 2017 10:54 a.m. PST

It is my understanding that many of the French evacuated were returned to France to continue the fight, only to end up captured at the end. A significant portion of the casualties the French took were after Dunkirk, with the fighting continuing until June 25.

JARROVIAN Supporting Member of TMP21 Jul 2017 10:58 a.m. PST

Most of the French evacuated at Dunkirk, a considerable number, were returned to Western France at the express instructions of the French government, just in time for them to surrender when France capitulated. Nothing to do with De Gaulle at this stage, he was just a bit player then.

Deleted by Moderator

14Bore21 Jul 2017 11:49 a.m. PST

I want to see it but this weekend might be out, hopefully next weekend

Cornelius Supporting Member of TMP21 Jul 2017 12:25 p.m. PST

With respect JARROVIAN does not speak for all British by a long way.

Doctor X21 Jul 2017 1:01 p.m. PST

Worth the price of admission, but less than I had hoped.

+1 to this.

In the film the beaches appear almost empty. Hardly any gear anywhere and just some blokes standing around. Looked more like a boring beach vacation with no sun instead of a chaotic free for all to get off the beaches.

The French are almost totally ignored in the film.

I did like the way they tied the three parts of the story together in the end.

Raynman Supporting Member of TMP21 Jul 2017 1:37 p.m. PST

I am going tonight with friends. I am looking forward to seeing it.

Khusrau21 Jul 2017 2:30 p.m. PST

I would have liked to see some mention of the cynical sacrifice of French troops and the Highland Division (St Valery). Politicians like Churchill don't look good as the truth is revealed.

Frontline Tim Inactive Member21 Jul 2017 2:39 p.m. PST

I want to see this, however from what I've read here it will not be a classic as the John Mills Dunkirk is.

JARROVIAN Supporting Member of TMP21 Jul 2017 3:44 p.m. PST

Like I said, my comments were 'my' belief, and I appreciate others position. Deleted by Moderator

I agree that Jon Mills 'Dunkirk', or even the depiction in 'Mrs Miniver' will be a hard act to follow.

Anyone wanting a good read about Dunkirk, and the events leading up to it, I would recommend Hugh Sebag-Montefiori's book:

custosarmorum Supporting Member of TMP21 Jul 2017 4:22 p.m. PST

I believe there were also about 20,000 Poles who were also evacuated.

Looking forward to seeing the movie next week!

GROSSMAN Supporting Member of TMP21 Jul 2017 7:04 p.m. PST

Disappointing movie, very disjointed, too much jumping around in the story lines.

Bertie Supporting Member of TMP21 Jul 2017 7:51 p.m. PST

Here's a review that I sent to my chums after seeing "Dunkirk" on Thursday:


"Ladies and Gents,

Joy of joys! In four days I have seen a great movie about Dunkirk, and a great movie about a movie about Dunkirk.

Christopher Nolan's much touted epic, (it was getting prime-time advertising on Taiwanese TV last week,) was well worth the wait. It is cleverly told in three interlocking stories covering five days, one day, and one hour respectively. Consequently you get to see the same action from several different viewpoints: so pay attention there in the back.

"Dunkirk" really has two leading stars: Kenneth Branagh's face and Hans Zimmer's score. The former saves reams of dialogue and tons of histrionics, and when the latter starts "sampling" Elgar at the end of the movie it is sublime. Mark Rylance does a reprise of his "Bridge of Spies" persona: a man of few words who is not going to panic… ever. Each of the three plots has "a man's got to do what a man's got to do" moment, but they are each so understated that the heroism just washes over you, rather than being poured down your throat.

The only reason not to see this movie right away is if you have a boat trip or beach holiday planned, in which case seeing it first could cost you a fortune in cancellation fees.

Meanwhile on the Home Front back in Blighty six months later, "Their Finest" is a really, really good movie: makes you laugh, makes you cry – that kind of deal. Great directing, fine "period" photography, an un-clichéd script, sparkling dialogue, good music, (I sent off for the soundtrack album just for one song,) and, hopefully, a best supporting actor for Bill Nighy if there is any justice, (although, in fairness, every actor in the movie is spot on.) Three strong women characters give as good as they get so it is a bit like a literate "Wonderwoman."

You don't have to love "Mrs Miniver," or like the way they've chosen a Dunkirk hero called Johnny who actually looks like John Mills to love "Their Finest", but if you do it only adds to the pleasure.

When I wrote about the King Arthur flick I did mention that unless you enjoy Guy Ritchie's gor blimey geezers style with no restraints you might not like that movie. The only people who won't like these two movies are Heinkel 111 pilots and totally unreconstructed misogynists.

Book your place in the queue on the mole or in the tube station now.


P.S. Yes, I know it was a French T47 class destroyer, Ton Class and MCS class minesweepers, an awful lot of ammunition for your eight .303 Brownings, and that it is a long way to and from Weymouth; but you know what? I didn't really care. "


Most of the comments on this page about the French evacuations are misplaced, based on the one line that is mentioned in the very first post. The last scene on the mole shows the British Army leaving whilst the Royal Navy remains to get the French off.

I too love "Mrs Miniver" and the John Mills "Dunkirk" but Nolan's masterpiece is neither propaganda nor nostalgia as the two earlier flicks were. There is no flag waving and a paucity of "Hollywood" heroics. The British private soldiers are far from heroic, they are human,(they have to eat, drink, and take a dump,) young, (unlike Mills in his "Dunkirk" or Hanks in "Saving Private Ryan"), confused, frightened and just want to get home…. and don't really care if some other British soldiers don't make it as long as they do. There are plenty of scenes where, what the Brits would call, this "I'm alright Jack" mentality comes to the fore.

As to the three time lines this is made crystal clear at the very beginning and makes great sense to pull the whole drama together. If you must have one linear plot line then Christopher Nolan is not the director for you: "Inception" or "Interstellar" anybody?

Go see this film, on the biggest screen with the best sound you can. It might not be to everyone's taste but it is a great piece of film making and a good piece of history.


Rallynow Supporting Member of TMP21 Jul 2017 10:17 p.m. PST

"These are our ships, you chaps have your own ships."

I picked out this line because it seemed to me to be a little humorous. Not Anti-French, I know that thousands of French Soldiers were rescued by the Royal Navy.

It just sounded so quintessential British. We have our ships, you have your ships. There's a good lad, now move along, move along. I did not hear a hint of malice in what that sailor said. I think he was being sincere.

I am not even sure how many if any French ships were there. I wasn't trying to make any political point. Didn't even occur to me.

Rallynow Supporting Member of TMP21 Jul 2017 10:28 p.m. PST

I still do not think this was a great movie. But a good one. It was on the cusp of greatness. It just needed something else to put it over.

Needed to be more believable. Many more soldiers on the beach. Many more of the little boats. Some signs of pressure from the German ground units. Abandon equipment on the beach. Which was a huge problem because there was nothing yet to replace it all.

Maybe artillery landing or showing the French holding off the Germans as they close in. More aircraft, even though that was my favorite part of the movie. More to back up the wonderful performances.

Sometimes more is more.

Arteis0221 Jul 2017 10:58 p.m. PST

… and sometimes less is more. What I loved about this movie (having just got home from it half-an-hour ago, and still reeling from the emotional impact) is that it doesn't try to be an epic that jams in everything. Everything in this movie is at a scale that seems human, rather than CGI grandness that often appears so false.

It is just intersecting personal tales told basically from three viewpoints as soldiers, sailors, or airmen. These three narratives are very cleverly story-lined so that they all eventually come together, even though they are of different durations.

A brilliant movie, in my view!

Marc33594 Supporting Member of TMP22 Jul 2017 5:34 a.m. PST

Nolan, in an interview, stated he wanted to minimize the special effects. Unfortunately they could find no period UK Destroyers still operational anywhere. He mentions that they did find the French Destroyer, which had been built a few years after the war and was larger than a UK Destroyer at Dunkirk, but he believed, with a little help, it would look the part and be better than more special effects. He also counted on the fact not many would notice the difference.

wargamer622 Jul 2017 6:19 a.m. PST

From the trailer it didn't look as realistic as the beach scenes in Atonement.

Legion 422 Jul 2017 9:17 a.m. PST

My father was made a prisoner of war on May 27th, near Ghent. His battery was completely out of ammunition on May 27th, but they were still shelling German positions the day before. He made it to England in October or November 1940 where he met my mother.
God Bless Him … and if possible wish Him and your Mom – All the best.

mollinary22 Jul 2017 11:18 a.m. PST

I went yesterday, and thoroughly enjoyed it. I am not sure what a 'great' film is, but this was gripping, visceral, film making. Zimmer's score added hugely to the atmosphere, until it descended into slightly mawkish sentimentality with the Elgar references towards the conclusion of the film. The multiple story lines and timeframes were cleverly done, and neatly interweaved. But you could watch it without being aware of the complexities of the concept and still enjoy it. Ultimately I was more moved than I expected, and lots of the others in the cinema seemed to be moved as well. Definitely worth seeing.


doug redshirt22 Jul 2017 12:08 p.m. PST

Favorite part was toward the end. In the middle of the movie you see a squad of Royal Engineers building a make shift pier on the back of a line of trucks extending into the sea at low tide. At the time the Army commander on the beach looks skeptical of the whole thing, other then being busy work for the men.

At the end of the movie when the tide has come in you see all those little boats lining up on the little make shift pier and loading the troops on board. The Engineer officer is standing there with a satisfied little smile on his face watching this. Made my entire day. Leave it to the engineers to solve the problems of the world.

number4 Inactive Member22 Jul 2017 12:53 p.m. PST

As it happens we just got in from the theater ourselves, and I agree with the OP 100%. Personally I think it was very well done and accurate historically – a few minor errors but not many. Good efforts on mocking up the naval vessels to look more or less in period, and at least there was no contrived 'love interest' just to employ a female lead.

The continuity sucked on ice however and all that jumping from one scene back to another made it hard to watch. The incidental soundtrack "noises" got to be annoying as well. The opening scene was eerily similar to N. Ireland and that should ring a few bells with anyone who served there.

It was thrilling to start with but when you keep jumping back to the same scene two or three times it becomes tedious. And it insults the intelligence to feature an airplane with 40 minutes flying time run critically low on gas still in the air two hours later at the end of the movie. That said, the ending while somewhat implausible was a really good piece of movie theater. Overall, we enjoyed it, but it could have been better with a little cgi and a decent director

Personal logo elsyrsyn Supporting Member of TMP22 Jul 2017 6:52 p.m. PST

Just got home from seeing it and absolutely loved it.

Once I clued in to the way Nolan manipulates time, it made a lot more sense (the title cards at the beginning should have lit the light bulb for me: the plot line on the beach takes place over the course of a week, that on the sea over a day, that in the air in a single hour, with all three intersecting at the climax). I have a few pedantic authenticity quibbles, but nothing that detracted from an intense, and intensely enjoyable, experience.

A word of warning in addition to the one above about claustrophobia: if you're prone to motion sickness, do not see it on an Imax screen. One of our party ended up listening to the majority of the film with her eyes shut due to nausea.


Achtung Goomba23 Jul 2017 2:35 a.m. PST

Saw it last night and have nothing but high praise for it. Best modern war film I've seen, and I can understand the exclusion of much of the French. There is an acknowledgement of their presence and efforts, albeit brief and it never talks down their contribution. After all, we know they were there and it's already broke the mold for big budget Hollywood war films, being about a defeat and not focussing on American actions. By the by, even that gets a shout out in a written extract of Churchill's speech near the end. And the end of the day it's a film about the personal experiences of a handful of British participants in the dark days of Dunkirk and it does very well to portray the 'miracle' without being overbearing and tacky.

As a proud Brit, the Elgar soundtrack and the shots of the Spitfire were the high point of the film, true beauty grin

On accuracy, I read Hugh Sebag-Montefiore's 'Dunkirk' as a primer, fully expecting to sit there tutting at how wrong it was. What I noticed were number of anecdotes that I'd read were slipped in either in the charactisations or action and dialogue. It looked to me like they'd done a bit of research and it was genuinely moving to realise the real events that inspired the movie.

Sorry, that's a lot of gushing but for me it was a tremendous film. It's just another opinion which as we all know are like poopholes so take it as you like. We can gripe about minor inaccuracies or omissions which are undoubtably there, but I don't think we'll see such an authentic and understated war film for a while. Deserves to stand with the classics in time!



Legion 423 Jul 2017 4:36 a.m. PST

CNN's movie guy says it's doing great at the box office. So that is something for a historical movie.

I remember going to see "Gods & Generals" @ 10 years ago(?) with a friend or two. About the ACW. There were about a dozen or so people in the theater.

So maybe some people are getting interested in history ? Maybe ?

wardog23 Jul 2017 10:45 a.m. PST

hope to see next week due to work commitments ,just seen trailers and tv interviews so far (interviewers commenting how hard it must have been for the actors )

dantheman Supporting Member of TMP23 Jul 2017 12:34 p.m. PST

Took my boys to it. Worth seeing. My youngest is not a war movie fan but admitted he liked it. The theatre was full and everyone clapped at the end. One of my friends who went earlier thought it wierd that a bunch of teenage girls next to him were there to see it..war stories are for old men like us.

My opinion, it was well done despite the confusing editing of multiple story lines. It captured the audience and for that reason is a must see. A pleasant departure from some of the cinema drivel we see today. A story actually worth telling.

number4 Inactive Member23 Jul 2017 6:49 p.m. PST

that on the sea over a day, that in the air in a single hour,

Except that it doesn't. The Spitfires overfly the small boat early in the movie just after it leaves Weymouth. We are informed they have fuel for 40 minutes flight time across the channel, midway through the voyage, they top to pick up one of the pilots who has been shot down, and another is later said to be down to the last few gallons. Yet he shows up three days later over Dunkirk. (For the uninitiated, Weymouth is 120 nautical miles from Dunkirk)

If time travel is your bag, this is a great movie.

LostPict Supporting Member of TMP24 Jul 2017 5:46 a.m. PST

I thought it was a great movie that really captured the lonely feelings that emerge in war. I recall far less harrowing experiences when the big green machine sent me to Iraq. When I first stepped onto that tarmac in Baghdad into a sea of soldiers struggling with their kit, the lights, noise, distant explosions, tracer fire, etc. completely isolate you from your buddies (who may be standing right next to you). I thought the movie marvelously captured the dispossessed feelings, the fear, the courage, etc. It also did a good job of portraying how distant, faceless, and threatening the enemy can be.

As to the beach scenes, they looked right based on this picture:

It is definitely not a rollicking war buddy, war caper, war is evil, war is glorious sort of film. Instead it is all about surviving when all hope is lost, preserving despite the odds, and understanding that war strips away the thin veneer of civilization to expose what is pure in us for good or bad.

donlowry24 Jul 2017 7:48 a.m. PST

What's an Elgar?

LostPict Supporting Member of TMP24 Jul 2017 9:44 a.m. PST

I was curious about that also. Apparently Sir Edward William Elgar, 1st Baronet is well known for this:

youtube music link

wiki bio link

mollinary24 Jul 2017 10:35 a.m. PST

Nimrod, part of his 'Enigma Variations', one of his most famous pieces, is used quite heavily in the final fifteen minutes or so of the film, to tug at the emotions.


Steve Wilcox24 Jul 2017 11:09 a.m. PST

One of my friends who went earlier thought it wierd that a bunch of teenage girls next to him were there to see it..war stories are for old men like us.
I would suspect they were there to see Harry Styles and the type of movie was incidental! :)

Prince Alberts Revenge25 Jul 2017 7:33 a.m. PST

Saw it last night, have to say I was incredibly impressed. It's not a war movie in my opinion, but more of a suspenseful escape thriller. The use of the musical score, sound effects and the ticking clock all add to the feeling of terror. The sounds are often loud and unnerving, Stuka sirens, explosions, gunfire make you want to curl into your seat and cover your ears (similar to the helpless soldiers on the beach). The enemy, save for German aircraft, are hardly ever seen which adds to the terror of unknown. Tom Hardy's performance as Farrior, a Spitfire pilot, is amazing. His face is almost always covered but he does a terrific job of acting with his eyes, limited facial expressions and very few words. The time jumps didn't throw me off course in watching the movie.

Personal logo miniMo Supporting Member of TMP25 Jul 2017 9:04 a.m. PST

Good review from a veteran who was there:

Xintao Supporting Member of TMP26 Jul 2017 11:08 a.m. PST

Dang, listening to Sir Edward William Elgar while reading about Dunkirk and the Veteran Ken Sturdy, got some dust in my eyes.

Saw the movie this week. I'll agree with most above, it's good, maybe great, but a must see. I liked the isolation that came across, like LostPict talked about. I really felt that in the movie.

I also just watched the 1958 Dunkirk. Really good. It's available on Amazon for $2.99 USD rental.

Cheers, Xin/Jeff

Bozkashi Jones26 Jul 2017 1:19 p.m. PST

Can't wait to see it, my grandfather was one of the last off. A section of his handwritten account is in the IWM and was quoted in Dunkirk: Pillar of Fire (as 'J.O.Jones, unit unknown' – he was in the RHA).

For those who have seen it, I am going with my dad (son of the above) and father-in-law. As it's a 12A (advisory) rating and I've read the BBFC summary I am considering taking my lad (10 years old). Could anyone give an opinion on whether I should steer clear?



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