Heroic Mission

A World War II thriller about the 1940 evacuation of beleaguered British and Allied soldiers from the beaches of Dunkirk, in the face of German advances.

Set during the Second World War, Dunkirk is a 2017 thrilling war film, a relentless, human story of survival set against the backdrop of Operation Dynamo – the 1940 evacuation of Allied soldiers, from the beaches and harbour of Dunkirk, in the north of France, between 26 May and 4 June 1940. Dunkirk portrays the evacuation from three perspectives: land, sea, and air.

The film Dunkirk was written, directed, and produced by Christopher Nolan and depicts the Dunkirk evacuation of World War II. Filming was in the town of Dunkirk, the location of the real evacuation, while the street scenes were shot in nearby Malo-les-Bains. The film is a British-American-French-Dutch co-production, and was distributed by Warner Bros.

In May 26, 1940, Germany advanced into France, trapping Allied troops on the beaches of Dunkirk. Unable to retreat any farther, the Allied soldiers set up defense positions and prayed for deliverance. Prime Minister Winston Churchill ordered an evacuation on May 26, the start of ‘Operation Dynamo’ (code name). Hundreds of fishing boats, pleasure yachts, lifeboats and even the Mersey Ferry ‘Royal Daffodil’ streamed into the Channel to back up the Royal Navy.

Under air and ground cover from British and French forces, troops were methodically and slowly evacuated from the beach. At the end of the heroic mission, on June 4, about 198,000 British and 140,000 French, Dutch and Belgian soldiers were safely evacuated.

The preservation of this fighting force was crucial for the preservation of Great Britain and the eventual outcome of the war; the retreat was the defeat that helped to secure victory.


Directors: Christopher Nolan
Actors: Mark Rylance, Tom Hardym, Harry Styles, Barry Keoghan, Fionn Whitehead
Writers: Christopher Nolan
Producers: Christopher Nolan
Composers: Music: Hans Zimmer
Location: Town of Dunkirk. Street scenes in Malo-les-Bains
Languages: English
Release Date: 21 July 2017

300,000 Allied troops rescued in Dunkirk, 1940.
The film Dunkirk follows three separate narratives over three different time-frames, following Royal Air Force (RAF) pilots over the course of an hour, a small civilian yacht crew over the course of a day, and a group of young British soldiers trapped on the beach over the course of a week, with the time-frames lining up at the climax to tremendous effect.

Overall, the movie is reliable with regard to the Battle and gives the viewer a good overview of Operation Dynamo, but it is not a documentary of what happened in May 1940.

Admiral Sir Bertram Ramsay
Despite masterminding the fleet of 845 boats that brought the British Army back from France, Admiral Sir Bertram Ramsay barely merits a mention in the movie, Dunkirk. Admiral Ramsay, was responsible for the Dunkirk evacuation in 1940, code named Operation Dynamo.

Working from tunnels beneath Dover Castle, Ramsay organised a rescue mission of spectacular complexity: the clearance of minefields, the sabotage of Calais and Boulogne, defence against U-boats, and RAF fighter cover for the evacuation flotilla. For his success in bringing home 338,226 British and allied soldiers from the beaches of Dunkirk, Ramsay personally report on the operation to King George VI and was made a Knight Commander of the Order of the Bath.

Spitfire Pilot, Alan Christopher Deere.
In the Dunkirk movie, the Royal Air Force pilot Farrier (Tom Hardy) engages in aerial battles to help prevent the Luftwaffe from assaulting the men stranded on the beach and sinking the boats in the water. The Dunkirk true story - while the character Farrier is not directly based on an actual person, however, his experience most closely resembles that of Alan Christopher "Al" Deere," a New Zealand Spitfire pilot.

Deere is credited with shooting down 22 German aircraft, and another 10 'probable' kills. During one of his fights he was attacked by five German aircraft before crash landing.

Commander James Campbell Clouston
In the movie, Kenneth Branagh, plays the pier master Commander Bolton, but Dunkirk true story, it was the decisive leadership of Canadian, Commander James Campbell Clouston that was essential in saving the lives of over 200,000 soldiers off the French beach in Dunkirk. At the Canal-de-Lachine National Historic Site in Montreal, is a memorial plaque, in honour of local hero, Commander J. Campbell Clouston.

Sir Winston Churchill
The Dunkirk evacuation inspired one of Winston Churchill’s most dramatic speeches on June 4, when he told the House of Commons, “We shall go on to the end… we shall fight on the seas and oceans, we shall fight with growing confidence and growing strength in the air, we shall defend our Island, whatever the cost may be, we shall fight on the beaches… we shall fight in the hills; we shall never surrender.”

British Troops On A Destroyer At Dover
When Operation Dynamo began late on May 26, British officers charged with organizing the frantic escape estimated that only 45,000 men might be saved. But over the next eight days, nearly 1,000 British ships—both military and civilian—crossed the Channel repeatedly to rescue 338,226 people, while the Royal Air Force fought the Luftwaffe above.

Little Ships
Interestingly, one of the private boats, a 62ft naval pinnace named Sundowner, was skippered by Charles Lightoller, the highest ranking officer to have survived the sinking of the Titanic in 1912. Sundowner, participated in the Dunkirk evacuation as one of the "little ships" as well as a number of commemorations of the event, and is now a museum ship at the Ramsgate Maritime Museum in Southern England.

The Medway Queen,
The Medway Queen was part of the huge fleet of little ships who assisted at the Dunkirk Evacuations in 1940. Medway Queen evacuating 7000 men over seven return trips - shooting down enemy aircraft in the process! In recognition of this huge achievement she honoured with four gallantry awards.

At the end of the war, the Medway Queen, returned to its work as a pleasure boat and even appeared in several movies. Later, a group of history lovers purchased the boat, and worked on various restoration. Today the Medway Queen is docked in Gillingham, near London, by the Medway Queen Preservation Society who states that “In preserving the ship we keep alive memories of past ages and the stories of the people that were involved.'

Dunkirk - 1958 British war film
Dunkirk is a 1958 British war film directed by Leslie Norman that depicts the Dunkirk evacuation of World War II, and starring John Mills, Richard Attenborough, and Bernard Lee. The film is based on the novels 'The Big Pick-Up ' by Elleston Trevor and Dunkirk co-authored by Lt. Col. Ewan Butler and Maj. It is now part of the Vintage Classics collection – is certainly not short on spectacle.

Christopher Nolan toyed with the idea of shooting 'Dunkirk' without a script.

It is Nolan's film since his first. " Though Dunkirk did wind up with a script, it wasn’t a lengthy one.

Actual Dunkirk veterans claim the movie is louder than the actual battle. However, explosion is upfront for the audience to hear, all for the sake of immersion. Nearly everything else was almost exactly as the veteran's remembered.

Harry Styles was cast because of his 'old-fashioned face, the kind of face that makes you believe he could have been alive in that period. (He had to send an audition tape like others)

Michael Caine made a cameo. Caine was the distinctive voice giving orders to the British fighter pilots over the radio.

Tom Hardy is another actor whose expressive eyes made him perfect for the role.

Most of the movie was shot using IMAX cameras.

The movie's 'ticking' score was inspired by Nolan's watch. The “tick, tick, tick” of the score is integral to the feelings of suspense.

The script was written with musical principles in mind - an illusion where there's a continuing ascension of tone. It's a corkscrew effect.

Nolan's own trip across the English Channel in 1990s with his wife, Emma Thomas inspired the movie. It was really, really tough; the channel. It cemented for me an absolute respect for the people in real life who did this extraordinary thing.

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