Dunkirk

Dunkirk (2017)

23 mistakes

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.

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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.

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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.

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freedom2006
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Suggested correction: The Stukas are dropping SD-2 canister bombs, a particularly nasty anti-personnel weapon. Upon release from the aircraft the bomb divided into the bomblets you see here.

First known use was bombing of England, no evidence they were used at Dunkirk. Also, the SD-2 was smaller and produced numerous small explosions. The ones we see in Dunkirk are larger and much bigger than anything the little SD-2 could ever produce - so the original criticism sticks.

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.

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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.

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   Video

Deliberate mistake: The me-109 have painted yellow fronts, this wasn't done by the Germans until after Dunkirk. Christopher Nolan has admitted doing this deliberately so the audience could tell the difference between the spitfire and the me-109 during the combat scenes.

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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.

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andyK

Factual error: In the scene towards the start of the film in Weymouth harbour, you can see the huge building which is Weymouth Pavilion, which was built in 1954, after the original 1909 building burnt down.

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freedom2006

Deliberate mistake: No soldiers in this film were smoking cigarettes - unbelievable for 1940.

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Mickety1949

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.

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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?

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

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Demmedelusive

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.

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Victor Meldrew

Deliberate mistake: Christopher Nolan admits he used a French destroyer instead of a British destroyer, for practical purposes (most people won't notice).

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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.

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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).

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Anthorin

Factual error: One of the dams in or around Dunkirk has a foundation made of tetrapods. These concrete structures were developed in the 50s, according to wikipedia (https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Tetrapod_ (structure)).

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Other mistake: When the pilot of the Spitfire 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.

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Factual error: Oriented strand board (OSB), also known as sterling board, sterling OSB, aspenite, and smartply in British English, was not invented until 1963. The French warehouse floor was covered with it. See blood spot close up.

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Factual error: Velux windows were invented in German occupied Denmark in 1941. When burying a soldier on the beach, you can see them installed into French houses in 1940.

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Matthew Haynes
Dunkirk mistake picture

Continuity mistake: As the lone Spitfire trails and attacks the German bomber, he hits the right engine, which starts smoking but the trail quickly fades. He then hits the left, which smokes a lot. We then see the same attack from below, and from this angle the both engines are smoking equally badly.

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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.

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Factual error: Colonel Winnant wears a regimental cap badge. In fact, full colonels (as he is) and brigadiers have a different cap badge (a lion standing on a crown). It's not entirely beyond the realms of possibility that he would choose to continue to wear his old cap badge, but it would be very unusual (and completely against regulations).

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Necrothesp

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Quotes

Commander Bolton: You can practically see it from here.
Colonel Winnant: What?
Commander Bolton: Home.

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Trivia

In reality, Adolf Hitler ordered his commanders and troops to stand down and allow Allied forces to escape at Dunkirk. The German General von Blumentritt is quoted as saying "He (Hitler) then astonished us by speaking with admiration of the British Empire, of the necessity for its existence, and of the civilisation that Britain had brought into the world...He said that all he wanted from Britain was that she should acknowledge Germany's position on the Continent." But the exact reason for the order remains unknown.

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