'Dunkirk': Everything you need to know before the WW2 thriller is released

Declan Marks Thursday 06 April 2017

Christopher Nolan has become one of the most valued directors in Hollywood in recent years with a handful of successful films under his belt. The Londoner has directed films such as 'The Dark Knight', 'Inception' and 'Interstellar', however his latest project delves into unknown territory. It is, of course, the highly anticipated 2017 film based on the Second World War which goes by the name of 'Dunkirk'.


This summer Nolan will attempt to tackle the tricky war movie genre by telling the story of the mass evacuation of British soldiers from the port of Dunkirk during the Second World War. The film has all the makings to be a success and compete with the likes of past war films such as Saving Private Ryan.

For now, all we can do is wait. So, to whet your appetite for its arrival this coming July, we have got all the information you need to know ranging from the release date, who will be appearing in the film, the location of filming and the story behind the plot.

1 Release date


'Dunkirk' is set to be released on 21st July 2017. Nolan once again works with Warner Bros., the studio in charge of distributing the film.

2 Production team


As well as directing and writing the script, Nolan will also be a producer alongside his wife Emma Thomas, among others. As he has done before in a number of Nolan's films, composer Hans Zimmer has teamed up with the director once again to score the film. Director of photography has been given to Hoyte Van Hoytema, who also worked with Nolan in 'Interstellar'.

3 Cast


The cast for 'Dunkirk' includes a handful of well known British and a number of actors that have appeared in Christopher Nolan films before. These include the likes of Tom Hardy, Mark Rylance, Cillian Murphy, Kenneth Branagh and James D'Arcy. As the film is based on a military operation, the female presence in the film is fairly low. However, director Nolan gave a part to his cousin, Miranda Nolan, who we have also seen in his previous films 'Inception' and 'The Dark Knight Rises'. In 'Dunkirk', she will appear as a nurse.

4 The Harry Styles film


If there is a name that is capable of attracting media attention for the film it would be that of Harry Styles. The war thriller will be the acting debut for the ex One Direction member. If you search for news about the film on the internet, a large amount of results will include pictures and articles about Styles. In fact, the majority of pictures taken on set include him in them as he is attracting a lot of media attention for the film set to be released in the summer of 2017.

5 First time for everything


As we know, Christopher Nolan has directed films with number of different genres. Psychological thrillers, action films, superhero films. However, 'Dunkirk' will be a step into the unknown for the director as it will be his first wartime based film. If that isn't enough, then this will be Nolan's first film that is based on real life events.

6 Background to the plot


The script, which was written entirely by Nolan, is inspired by Operation Dynamo, also known as the Miracle of Dunkirk, which was the near impossible evacuation of more than 300,000 allied soldiers from the beaches and harbour of Dunkirk, in France. The evacuation occurred between 27th May and 4th June 1940.

The brief synopsis that was released by Warner Bros. reads like this: 'Dunkirk' opens as hundreds of thousands of British and Allied troops are surrounded by enemy forces. Trapped on the beach with their backs to the sea they face an impossible situation as the enemy closes in.

7 Filming


The filming has taken place in France, including real locations where the evacuation took place all those years ago. The Mayor of Dunkirk announced at the end of 2015 that a famous director was coming to the area to film a wartime epic, and that was that.

8 As real as possible


A big effort is required to recreate real life scenes such as that of the evacuation scenes that we will see in the film. Of course, the film will be supported by special effects, however Nolan has insisted on making the film as realistic as possible.

In photos from throughout filming, real warships have been seen. Whether they are being used as a reference point to add on special digital effects or not remains to be seen, as it would not be the first time the director has used little tricks of the trade to make create a convincing finished product. The man in charge of all the visual effects is Andrew Jackson, who is known for his work on 'Mad Max: Fury Road'.

There have also been rumours circulating that Nolan and Warner Bros. bought a vintage WWII plane with the value of around $5 million which he plans to crash in the film. This has not been confirmed by the studio, however.



In order to create an incredible visual experience for the viewers, director Nolan will use 65mm and IMAX film for 'Dunkirk'. This is a personal favourite style used by the director, and he has been credited for his use of 65mm presentation by well known directors such as Paul Thomas Anderson and Quentin Tarantino. One thing is for sure, is that Nolans new production will be visually impressive for everyone who watches it.

10 Whipper-snappers


Although we probably imagine the likes of Tom Hardy and Kenneth Branagh would play major parts in the film, the plot generally centers around the younger generation. A number of young British actors have been chosen to appear in the film. These include the likes of Fionn Whitehead (pictured above) who will be one of the main characters in the film. He will be accompanied by Welsh actor Aneurin Barnard, Jack Lowden and of course Harry Styles.

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