The History Behind The Movie ‘Dunkirk’

Dunkirk: The History Behind the Motion Picture’ not only fills in the historical gaps of Christopher Nolan’s epic movie, it helps explain what makes the British so British.

This week, theaters across the world will show Dunkirk, a motion picture about one of the most unlikely and incredible series of events in the history of modern warfare. Although well-known in Britain, many in the United States and elsewhere will learn about the remarkable nine-day-long retreat and evacuation for the first time.

I rarely “go” to the movies, I may for this.

  • Drunk_by_Noon

    If it isn’t on the Plex server I’m not watching it, but like the Cat Man, I just might make an exception in this case.
    I literally cannot remember the last time I went to a movie theatre to see a major release motion picture.
    I saw the movie “300” in the theatre.
    Maybe I saw one or two after that, but I can’t really be sure.

    • I think we saw Team America, nothin since.

      • David Murrell

        The movie Team America — with the team going after left-wing Hollywood actors– is hilarious!

    • Brett_McS

      American Sniper was great on the big screen.

    • Clink9

      We saw Dunkirk yesterday and I thought it was a great movie.

      My wife felt like she could climb into a Spitfire and fly it now!

    • andycanuck

      Just 300 and Master and Commander for me over the past X years.

  • The Deplorable Rosenmops

    We learned this poem is school–it was in an 8th grade BC reader.


    (A Ballad of Dunkirk.) by Sara Carsley

    On many a lazy river, in many a sparkling bay,

    The little boats of Britain were dancing, fresh and gay;

    The little boats of Britain, by busy wharf and town,

    A cheerful, battered company, were trading up and down.

    A voice of terror through the land ran like a deadly frost:

    “King Leopold has left the field, our men are trapped and lost.

    No battle-ship can reach the shore, through shallows loud with

    Then who will go to Dunkirk town, to bring our armies home?”

    From bustling wharf and lonely bay, from river-side and coast.

    On eager feet came hurrying a strange and motley host,

    Young lads and grandsires, rich and poor, they breathed one
    frantic prayer;

    “0 send us with our little boats to save our armies there!”

    Never did such a motley host put out upon the tide:

    The jaunty little pleasure-boats in gaudy, painted pride,

    The grimy tugs and fishing-smacks, the tarry hulks of trade,

    With paddle, oar, and tattered sail, went forth on their Crusade.

    And on that horror-haunted coast, through roaring bomb and

    Our armies watched around them close the fiery fangs of hell,

    Yet backward, backward to Dunkirk they grimly battled on,

    And the brave hearts beat higher still, when hope itself was

    And there beneath the bursting skies, amid the mad uproar,

    The little boats of Britain were waiting by the shore;

    While from the heavens, dark with death, a flaming torrent fell,

    The little boats undaunted lay beside the wharves of hell.

    Day after day, night after night, they hurried to and fro;

    The screaming planes were loud above, the snarling seas below.

    And haggard men fought hard with sleep, and when their strength
    was gone,

    Still the brave spirit held them up, and drove them on and on.

    And many a grimy little tramp, and skiff of painted pride

    Went down in thunder to a grave beneath the bloody tide,

    But from the horror-haunted coast, across the snarling foam,

    The little boats of Britain brought our men in safety home.

    Full many a noble vessel sails the shining seas of fame.

    And bears, to ages yet to be, an unforgotten name:

    The ships that won Trafalgar’s fight, that broke the Armada’s
    pride, —

    And the little boats of Britain shall go sailing by their side!

    • Brett_McS

      Great stuff, Rosenmops!

    • Wonderful! Of course that poem would be considered the height of evil nowadays.

    • laja kurc

      Very moving and beautiful. Unfortunately it was not part of the curriculum in Ontario, not that I can remember.

  • Brett_McS

    According to those who know, it’s one of those films that benefit greatly from being watched on the big screen. I’m going to see it tomorrow, while the concrete is drying on my little project.

  • Dear old Blighty, my Almer Mater, could certainly do with a Churchill now.

  • ontario john

    After spending decades in the military, the last thing I wanted to do was see a war movie. However we went yesterday to see it, and I was glad I did. Its worth seeing and a welcome change from the standard comic book trash Hollywood puts out.

  • Blind Druid

    I haven’t seen it yet. But now the French (the cheese eating surrender monkeys) are bawling, Because they’re not in it. BWWaaahaha!