Dunkirk Study Guide

Widely considered one of the greatest war films of all time, Dunkirk is a 2017 movie directed, co-produced, and written by Christopher Nolan. Nolan's tenth film, Dunkirk takes a highly specific perspective on a definitive moment in British military history. It grossed over $500 million worldwide.

Dunkirk centers around the historical Dunkirk evacuation during World War II, in which thousands of Allied soldiers were evacuated from the northern shores of France in May through June 1940 after they had become surrounded by German soldiers. In this high-stakes operation, soldiers had to resort to desperate means to escape in whatever way possible. Nolan's film looks at the evacuation through three perspectives. The first, entitled "The Mole," follows Tommy, who attempts to escape. The second, "The Sea," centers around a man named Dawson, a civilian who brings his boat to the war zone to rescue soldiers. In the third part, "The Air," we see Dunkirk from the perspective of a group of airplane pilots.

Dunkirk received critical acclaim for its engrossing narrative, gripping tale of wartime morality, and its innovative storytelling elements. It became the highest grossing WWII film of all time, and was nominated for eight Academy Awards, winning Best Sound Editing, Best Sound Mixing, and Best Film Editing.