Dunkirk (2017)

34 mistakes

New this month Factual error: When the Spitfire ditches in the Channel, it floats for a while. Most unlikely. The Merlin engine weighed over three quarters of a ton and would have dragged the aircraft down almost immediately.


New this month Other mistake: When the leader of the Spitfire flight is shown ditching into the water, his engine is windmilling at high RPM as he impacts the water. This would have resulted in all of the prop blade tips being bent backwards; however, as it shows him trying to escape the sinking airplane, the prop blades are perfectly straight.

New this month Continuity mistake: When the two British soldiers are exchanging a bottle of wine, it's full in one shot but when given to the other soldier it's suddenly less so.

New this month Factual error: A Spitfire would not be able to land on a beach with its undercarriage down. Also, the Dunkirk beach lights are completely wrong - modern. In original photos they are black and of their time.

New this month Factual error: In the scene at the beginning of the movie where two characters met in the dunes we see some white villas with seventies/eighties roof windows (Velux type).

New this month Other mistake: At one point they pan in on Harry Stiles after being wet and the water dripping from his head is white, due to the product in his hair.

Factual error: When the returned soldiers are on the train at the end of the film, it's an open plan post-war British Rail Mark I type, which where built from around 1950. Also the blue upholstery on the seats looks to be the corporate blue introduced by British Rail in the 1960s, used by the preserved railway owning the stock, and not what would have featured in Southern Railway carriages of the time. The carriages also have horizontally-sliding windows, which are far more contemporary than wartime trains, which had windows with a much larger vertical opening, held in place by a leather strap.

Other mistake: In the scene at the end where Farrier gazes upon his burning Spitfire on the beach, the propeller appears to be supported at the end of a simple rod. In fact the propeller would have been attached to a rather solid engine. There's also no internal structure - the entire spitfire was reduced to ashes which was impossible as this was a metal aircraft. Unlike the Wellington, Mosquito or Hurricane which were partly timber and canvas.


Factual error: In the silent overfly of the plane that ran out of fuel in the background you see a lot of modern architecture that is definitely not from the 1940s.

Factual error: In several scenes, but notably very near the end, the background shows numerous container handling cranes, which weren't invented until the mid sixties.

Victor Meldrew

Factual error: No soldiers in this film were smoking cigarettes - unbelievable for 1940.


Factual error: Not until the very end of the 10-day evacuation were the French (or British for that matter) defending the very beaches themselves, and yet the movie opens with the French roadblock doing just that.

Factual error: Near the start of the film in the harbour when the camera pans around to the left looking out to sea, you can see the back of the modern Weymouth Lifeboat 17-32 moored up in the background.

Factual error: The sea often changes state from shot to shot. One minute we've got a reasonable Force 4 blowing and some surf, the next it's 'sea like a mirror' and then there's everything between.

Continuity mistake: When the Stukas are shown bombing the beach, they drop a single bomb, but from beach level, you see sticks of bombs landing.


Factual error: There are a number of scenes of the buildings along the coast where TV aerials are visible.


Visible crew/equipment: When the 2 actors are carrying the injured soldier to the ship, when crossing the sand, the camera tracks are visible behind them.


Factual error: When the boat returns to England they state the cliffs are Dorset. There were 3 evacuation routes from Dunkirk - all to Kent. It would be nonsense to sail from Dunkirk to Dorset as you have to almost pass Dover on the way! (never mind the fact the boat would probably not have made it without refuelling).


Other mistake: In a scene where the commanding marine officer stands on the mole in a close-up shot, black smoke is rising from sky out of nowhere. Looks like the FX guys forgot to delete the particle effect after deciding to not show a boat with its exhausts in the background.

Character mistake: The story arc set on the Mole covers one week. The Highlanders attempt to refloat the beached trawler on the last day of that week. One of them confidently states that the tides are three-hourly. (The audience know this isn't true because we've seen a similar conversation between the Admiral and the Colonel.) At least some - if not all - of those Tommies have been on the beach all week. Have none of them have noticed that the tides are six-hourly?