"We shall never surrender."
Set in during the Battle of France in World War II, Allied soldiers from Britain, Belgium and France undertake Operation Dynamo, the miraculous evacuation of the Allied soldiers from the beaches and harbour of Dunkirk between 26 May and 4 June 1940 while surrounded by the German army.
In 1940, during the Battle of France, hundreds of thousands of Allied soldiers have retreated to Dunkirk awaiting evacuation. Tommy, a young British private, and the sole survivor of a German ambush, arrives at the beach, and meets Gibson, who is burying a body and Alex. After a hospital ship is sunk by a German dive-bomber attack, the three leave on a destroyer, but it is torpedoed by a U-boat. Gibson saves Tommy and Alex from the sinking ship, and they are brought ashore by a rowing boat. On the mole, Royal Navy Commander Bolton and Colonel Winnant discuss the situation; British Prime Minister Winston Churchill has committed to evacuating 30,000 soldiers, and with only a single, vulnerable mole available for embarking on deep-draft ships, the Royal Navy requisitions civilian vessels that can get to the beach.
In Weymouth, a civilian sailor named Dawson and his son Peter set out on his boat Moonstone rather than let the Navy commandeer her. Impulsively, their teenage hand George joins them, hoping to do something noteworthy. At sea, they rescue a shivering shell-shocked soldier from a wrecked ship. When he realises that Dawson is sailing for Dunkirk, the soldier demands that they turn back and tries to wrest control of the boat; in the struggle, George falls and suffers a head injury that renders him blind. Elsewhere, three Spitfire aircraft cross the English Channel, heading towards Dunkirk, tasked with defending the evacuation of British and French troops from Dunkirk against attacks by the German Luftwaffe. After their leader is shot down, pilot Farrier assumes command with a shattered fuel gauge. They save a minesweeper from a German bomber, but the other Spitfire is hit and ditches. Its pilot, Collins, is rescued by Moonstone.
Tommy, Alex and Gibson join some soldiers from a Highlanders regiment and hide inside a fishing trawler that lies beached in the intertidal zone outside of the Allied perimeter, waiting for the rising tide to refloat it. German troops shoot at the boat, and water enters through the bullet holes. Alex, hoping to lighten the boat, accuses Gibson, who has been silent throughout, of being a German spy and demands that he leaves. Gibson reveals he is French; he stole the identity of the dead soldier he buried, hoping to be evacuated with the British. The group then abandon the fishing boat when it begins to sink, but Gibson is entangled in a chain and drowns. Alex and Tommy swim towards a nearby destroyer, but it is hit by bombs from a bomber. Moonstone manoeuvres to take on those in the water, including Alex and Tommy. Peter discovers that George is dead; when asked by the shell-shocked soldier, he lies that George is fine. Farrier shoots down the bomber, which crashes and ignites the oil slick from the sinking destroyer.
Farrier reaches Dunkirk, before his fuel runs out. Gliding over the beach, he shoots down an approaching dive-bomber diving towards the mole, saving ships and troops. Farrier flies over the beach, boosting morale as he receives cheers from the troops below. He cranks his landing gear down and lands beyond the Allied perimeter. He sets fire to his plane and is taken prisoner by the Germans. On the mole, Commander Bolton watches the last British soldiers leave. He notes that nearly 300,000 have been evacuated, ten times more than Churchill had hoped for. He remains to oversee the evacuation of the French.
Arriving back in Weymouth, Dawson is congratulated for having saved so many men. The shell-shocked soldier sees George's body being carried away. Peter goes to the local newspaper; a front-page article later commends George as a hero. Tommy and Alex board a train, and receive a hero's welcome when the train arrives in Woking.
Director Christopher Nolan wrote the screenplay. He decided to make the film as a triptych, told from three perspectives: the air (planes), the land (on the beach) and the sea (the evacuation by the navy).
Critical Response Edit
Dunkirk received both critical and public acclaim at its release. Many highlighted the skills of Christopher Nolan to create three different timelines. The movie was nominated for 8 Oscars and won 3 for Film Editing, Sound Editing and Sound Mixing at the 90th Academy Awards. The nominations included one for Nolan in Best Achievement in Directing, the first of his career.
- Fionn Whitehead as Tommy
- Tom Glynn-Carney as Peter
- Jack Lowden as Collins
- Harry Styles as Alex
- Aneurin Barnard as Gibson
- James D'Arcy as Colonel Winnant
- Barry Keoghan as George
- Kenneth Branagh as Commander Bolton
- Cillian Murphy as Shivering Soldier
- Mark Rylance as Mr Dawson
- Tom Hardy as Farrier
Uncredited Cast Edit
- Michael Caine as Fortis Leader (Voice)
Trailers & ClipsEdit