10 Huge Historical Inaccuracies In Chris Nolan's Dunkirk

Christopher Nolan's outstanding Second World War thriller isn't safe from the rivet-counters.

DUNKIRK Inaccuracies
Warner Bros.

Dunkirk is a belter of a film. It looks like a war movie but it's built and directed like a mercilessly taut thriller that just gets more intense as the Stukas and U-boats close in. It's going to win a stack of baubles come awards season, and deserve them.

But if there's anything the Internet loves to do, it's pick holes in something beautiful. That goes doubly for when a film covers a subject that has a legion of experts (real and self-appointed) ready to show off their encyclopedic knowledge. There aren't many subjects that prompt such a flaw-finding frenzy as the Second World War, and legions of sharp-eyed buzzkills have duly descended on Dunkirk to pick out the errors.

Many of the inaccuracies are errors of omission, including those forced by Nolan's budgetary and time restrictions and desire to avoid the brain-rattling thunder of Saving Private Ryan's beachfront carnage or the brassy explosionfests of Pearl Harbour. Some on the other hand are just old-fashioned anachronisms.

None of them can detract from what Dunkirk is - a cracking film, though-provoking and intense, with an impact its mistakes can't lessen.

10. No Tin Hats For Officers

DUNKIRK Inaccuracies
Warner Bros.

The officers seen on-screen in Dunkirk, such as the permanently nerve-wracked Captain Winnant, cut fine figures in their peaked caps. It helps them stand out from the regular mass of troops, so they can be more easily identified by both fellow soldiers, and the audience.

You know who else would find the distinction really useful, too? Enemy snipers. Of which the Germans had a whole bunch during the Battle for Dunkirk.

Other war movies have this right - it's a minor plot point in Saving Private Ryan, for instance, when an inexperienced soldier is warned against saluting Tom Hanks' officer because it makes him a target for the enemy.

One anecdote about Captain Bill Tennant, a Naval officer who helped organise the evacuation, tells about how he made the letters 'SNO' ('Senior Naval Officer') from cigarette foil and stuck them to his tin hat precisely so his fellow troops knew who he was without Herr Jerry picking him off from a distance.

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Ben Counter is a fantasy and science fiction writer, gaming enthusiast, wrestling fan and miniature painting guru. He was raised on Warhammer, Star Wars and 1980s cartoons that, in retrospect, were't that good. Whoever you are, he is nerdier than you.