Great Images From Great Movies #17: “Dunkirk”


Truly great movies can leave indelible marks. It may be through an emotional connection to the story. It may be through a remarkable performance or a signature scene. But it can also be through the brilliant imagery a film can carve into your mind. That’s what this feature is all about – highlighting great images from great movies. Today we look at Christopher Nolan’s exhilarating World War II thriller “Dunkirk”.



(All images courtesy of Warner Bros.)

So what are your thoughts on “Dunkirk”? Which of these great images stick with you the most? Please share your favorites in the comments section below.

23 thoughts on “Great Images From Great Movies #17: “Dunkirk”

  1. Haven’t seen the movie yet, but that first reflects the fog of war in the physical sense better than anything I’ve seen. That one sticks with me and brings back memories.

  2. My husband and I just gave that movie a second watch recently. Man, I forgot how good it is! The jumbled timeline made a bit more sense with the second viewing, and it packed a bigger punch since we have now been to Dunkirk and stood at the mole. A great film with truly amazing cinematography, which makes it hard to pick a favorite image. I’d say the scene underwater with the ship getting torpedoed gets my heart rate going the most though.

    • It’s soooo good. I’m completely with you – a second viewing brings out so many details and Nolan’s convergence of the timelines is pure brilliance. Some have called this movie “cold”, but it gets to me every time. I think it packs quite an emotional punch.

      • Definitely! The only story I think I’m still not quite sure on is Cillian Murphy’s (and dang he always does so good in his movies). Is the boat they pick him up on a different boat than the big ship that is torpedoed??

      • We see him at night using a lifeboat to shuttle people back to shore and to other boats. The implicate is he boarded a ship and it was sunk leaving him shellshocked and sitting on the hull as the only survivor. I say that because I’m pretty sure he makes mention of a “torpedo” to Mark Rylance.

      • He does say that to Rylance – So I think I got confused on the initial watch and thought he was on board the same ship as the main guy. But he must be in a separate boat/ship that gets sunk later and offscreen right? Since we see him shuttling survivors from the big ship and seeming pretty well in command of himself?

      • Yep. That’s the way I’ve always interpreted it. And clearly it was traumatic. The difference in his demeanor during the night scene and the morning when Rylance picks him up is dramatic.

  3. What a phenomenal movie, especially when it comes to the images. So many are seared into my brain — particularly that last one of Hardy. I like how you found an image of Barry Keoghan’s character, his facial expression as they pass the naval ship. I remember the other side of the perspective, the shot of all those men on board and their long faces but I don’t remember just how disturbed young George looked as they pass that boat in that moment. That really kind of drives home the fear of uncertainty. What has he just gotten himself into?

    • YES! That scene with Keoghan is powerful – a small detail on the surface but loaded with humanity. The last image has always been a favorite of mine. It leaves you full of respect at such heroism. But it also leaves you with a lump in your throat. What happened to him? Was he ever seen again? Did he ever make it ‘HOME’?

  4. A true masterpiece in cinema and certainly one of the finest big screen experiences I had in watching a film. I only saw it in a standard screening but the way it was presented made it feel much more special in my opinion. It remained the best film of that year for me as Nolan just delivered. I want him to do more smaller films like this. Maybe do a comedy or…. INCEPTION 2: ELECTRIC BOOGALOO!!!!. I seriously would like to see a sequel and make it more bonkers.

    • YES! It was my favorite movie of 2017 too. It was an incredible big screen experience. I remember so many things about it, but especially the sound. Our theater had an amazing surround-sound quality that just added to the immersion. I’ll never forget the sound of the German plane diving towards the beach or the rattle of the cockpit as Hardy engages the other fighter. So many things to love about Dunkirk.

  5. All powerful in their own way. The part where the small boat was taking them across sticks out in my mind. Weird to think that the war was so close.

  6. Not a still photo, but he had a nice shot of a plane gliding over the beach after the engine had stopped, I think I recall the propeller just barely turning over. Of your shots, I like Branagh removing his hat.

    • YES, YES, YES! I know the exact moment you’re talking about. I did find a still shot of that plane sequence but it just didn’t do the scene justice. The plane is gliding over the beach after saving those soldiers. As you said the propellers have all but stopped. Absolutely stunning.

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