It features Harry Styles in his first acting role, playing a soldier named Alex.
The film's title refers to the evacuation of Allied soldiers from the Dunkirk beaches of France during World War II. Despite casualties, the evacuation was considered a success, with 198,000 British troops saved. For more information see 'Dunkirk Evacuation'.
The Warner Bros feature film began principal photography on May 23, 2016, in Dunkirk, France, before moving to Urk, Netherlands, then Weymouth and Swanage in the United Kingdom. Filming concluded in Los Angeles on September 2, 2016.
Dunkirk is filmed on IMAX 65mm and 65mm large format film stock by cinematographer Hoyte van Hoytema.
Speculation of Harry Styles moving into acting began in 2014, but nothing was confirmed. News of Harry landing an acting role in Dunkirk surfaced on March 11, 2016 and quickly made worldwide headlines. Deadline Hollywood reported "It is not believed to be a leading role, though all plot and cast details are being kept closely guarded as is often the way with a Nolan project. Styles’ potential involvement comes after an extensive casting process conducted by Nolan, his co-producer and partner Emma Thomas and Warner Bros. He is believed to have impressed the filmmakers with his readings for the part." While no official confirmation was ever issued, several reliable Hollywood film publications reported the news. Harry was first spotted on set for a costume fitting on May 15, 2016, two months after his role was announced. He was first spotted with director Christopher Nolan in photos released on May 24, 2016.
Talking exclusively to The Mirror on May 28, casting director John Papsidera stated "Harry was absolutely right for the role. As an actor he is unknown, but his readings made him an obvious choice. We thought he was fresh and interesting and he won the role. It wasn’t because he’s a well known pop star – if anything that was more of a detriment, because it could bring the wrong message and we don’t want people pulled out of the film because of who they are. Our aim was to have people who are fresh and don’t bring a lot of prior work with them, so the audience will be really immersed in the film and not struggling with recognisable famous personalities. So Harry really had to overcome hurdles to get past that. He fought hard for it and his work was impressive and that’s what attracted us to him. I don’t think he studied acting professionally and yet he won the role against some very well known actors. He read for me, then us collectively in London. He did half a dozen readings, coming back and forth and it was no easy task for him. This is a young man who passionately wanted this film and we looked at a lot of actors, certainly in the hundreds, some of them very well-known and many who had been to prestigious acting schools. It is absolutely his own talent, ambition and hard work that has got him a part in a Christopher Nolan movie."
Harry spoke about the role in April 2017, stating: "It was one of the best experiences of my life. It was amazing. It was a real challenge. I think the movie’s gonna be great. I think he’s amazing. It was pretty amazing to be involved in the whole project. I’m a massive fan of his movies in general. I really loved being the new guy, to be honest. I loved kinda being so far out from my comfort zone. It felt really good to kinda have no idea what I was doing for a little bit."
He also described his character, stating: "I play a soldier called Alex. he and [Fionn Whitehead's character] Tommy, stick together through most of the film. These guys are given a gun and some boots and thrown into this dangerous situation and they have no idea what they're doing or how they're going to get out alive. Our part of the film is just straight survival story."
Harry embarked on a publicity campaign with the main cast throughout July 2017, and attended red carpet premieres in London, Dunkirk and New York.
As of 25 July 2017, Dunkirk grossed $64.3 million in the United States and Canada and $56.9 million in other territories for a worldwide total of $121.2 million.
Dunkirk made $19.8 million on opening day, including $5.5 million from previews. It went on to debut to $50.5 million, finishing first at the box office and marked the third largest opening for a World War II film (behind Captain America: The First Avenger and Pearl Harbor), as well as the fourth largest opening of Nolan's career.
Outside North America, the film opened in France on 19 July 2017, and made $2.2 million on its first day. It was released in seven markets the following day, earning an additional $6.3 million. On 21 July, the film was released in forty-six more countries and grossed $12.7 million from over ten thousand theatres, with $3.7 million from the United Kingdom. It ended up with an international debut of $55.4 million, including $4.9 million in France, $12.4 million in the U.K. and $10.3 million in Korea.
The film won the 2018 Academy Awards for Best Sound Editing, Best Sound Mixing, and Best Film Editing. It also won Best Editing at the 23rd Critics' Choice Awards and Best Sound at the British Academy Film Awards.
- Harry Styles
- Tom Hardy
- Cillian Murphy
- Mark Rylance
- Kenneth Branagh
- James D'Arcy
- Aneurin Barnard
- Fionn Whitehead
- Tom Glynn-Carney
- Jack Lowden
- Barry Keoghan
- Bobby Lockwood