DunkirkDVD - 2017
From the critics
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What happened at Dunkirk in May 1940 must rank as the greatest maritime evacuation in history.
A race against time to save the Allied army trapped in France that is as much defined by its audacity as it is by its miraculous nature.
The greatest escape?
Told from the perspective of the decision makers and the soldiers on the ground, this series follows the dramatic events from the 25th May 1940, to the early hours of 4th June. As British and French troops were forced back into an ever-decreasing pocket of land by the relentless onslaught of the Germans, the British Navy launched a momentous effort to save them at short notice and with very slender means.
3 x 60 minutes:
A rear-guard action is put in place to hold the Germans back, allowing the bulk of the army to make its way to Dunkirk. Operation Dynamo swings into action, masterminded by the cool and efficient Admiral Ramsay. Meanwhile in London, Churchill fends off a drive by Lord Halifax to sue for peace. As the drama begins to escalate, three soldiers, Wilf, Clive and Titch, man a signals truck on what will become the front line of the German attack.
The reality of the war hits home back in England as the fisherman of Leighton-Sea have their boats requisitioned by the navy. Many volunteer to go with their vessels. Churchill, much to the dismay of the organisers of Operation Dynamo, promises the French to save their army as well. As the rescue mission gets under way properly, the Leigh fisherman, their boats packed with soldiers, start for home. Not all will make it though.
This episode details the last desperate efforts to get away and tells the stories of those who were left behind. One of those who stay behind is Dr Newman. He struggles to get the remaining wounded away as the Germans bear down on Dunkirk. Only a few hundred men are left to face the Germans as the finally enter the town. But some 325,000 men have been saved.
...gripping, inspiring and nerve-shredding stuff, especially when you realise just how close the British Expeditionary Force came to destruction - and possibly betrayal from certain sections of the Cabinet - in May 1940. The chaos, terror and uncertainty among the surrounded troops was particularly well evoked, while no major British undertaking could possibly occur without good old-fashioned incompetence putting in an appearance. --Stage
...as gripping as Saving Private Ryan or Band Of Brothers ... everyone who has actually seen it has been profoundly moved and found it a fitting tribute to the British veterans ... much of it is shocking, not least the scene when British soldiers who wish to retreat are shot by their own side ... We can never truly understand what it was like to be there but dramas such as Dunkirk help. --Daily Mirror (Tony Parsons)
Convincingly creating three hours of carnage, desperation, heroism and chaos with a budget of 2m and a team of 30 extras, Holmes and his television crew bring home the terrible jeopardy felt by both the soldiers and the army command ... Filmed in a verité style, Dunkirk is an immersive viewing experience and Holmes limits the view to that of the men on the ground. The dialogue is blurry, chatty and unimportant, but the internal thoughts of the characters are genuine, having been culled from the testimonies of the old soldiers ... powerful drama documentary. --Sunday Times (Helen Stewart)
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