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In May 1940, German troops advanced across France, trapping Allied soldiers on the beaches of Dunkirk. To save them, the British government — with the help of soldiers throughout their empire, including many Indian soldiers — staged a high-profile rescue mission. But the English Channel, which runs alongside Dunkirk, was too shallow for British Navy ships to cross. In a last-ditch feat of planning, civilians were recruited to join Allied troops in funneling the soldiers back to safety in small boats.
When Christopher Nolan decided to memorialize the rescue mission in his epic Dunkirk, which has been nominated for eight Oscars including best picture, he wanted to cast new actors to play the lead roles. Though Dunkirk's ensemble teems with stars, including Mark Rylance, Kenneth Branagh and Tom Hardy, up-and-coming actor Fionn Whitehead and former One Direction star Harry Styles play the lead roles.
But to make the $100 million war epic, Nolan used a series of innovative shooting, production and sound techniques. Not all of Dunkirk's history, however, is accurate, and not everyone involved with the film understood the significance of its lead actors prior to production. Below are 10 facts you might not know about Dunkirk.
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