Father and child sit together smiling while looking at a smart phone.

Want more recommendations for your family?

Sign up for our weekly newsletter for entertainment inspiration

Parents' Guide to


By Jeffrey Anderson, Common Sense Media Reviewer

age 14+

Intense, challenging story shows the horrors of war.

Movie PG-13 2017 106 minutes
Dunkirk Poster Image

A Lot or a Little?

What you will—and won't—find in this movie.

Community Reviews

age 14+

Based on 56 parent reviews

age 10+

You People Dont Understand This Movie

I have seen many reviews on this movie that are very wrong. For starters the reason there is little dialogue is because there doesn't need to be. The movie feeds on paranoia and tension that it does create very well. Another complaint I saw was that we saw none of the planing behind the operation, but we don't need to. This movie is from the soldiers perspective. To answer another complaint, the soldiers don't need to be saying Nazi and Hitler every 10 seconds because at the moment they could care less about world politics. The reason the Luftwaffe is seemingly faceless is because to the soldiers on the ground they are. And if you say that this movie overuses CGI you have many parts of your brain missing. Nolan made a massive effort to make this all practical effects. The planes were real, the ships were real, the explosions were real. The reason it docent look like 400000 men on the beach is because it's kinda hard to get 400000 people to work on your movie. All those people are real and not a single on of them is fake. The movie does make some bad explanations for things like why they arent getting run down by tanks is because they can kill the Allies with planes. In reality their some of the bravest men in the war (in my opinion) holding the line knowing they would all be executed when the fighting was over. And the town should be a bombed out husk but they shot on the real city of Dunkirk France so they couldn't just wreck the city. My point is, just do some research before you rate these movies. Take some time to learn about the politics than watch this and it will be an amazing movie.
6 people found this helpful.
age 14+

Very loud and very sad

A loud film that intersperses egregious silence with bombastic explosions. The film follows many people and perspectives and does so seamlessly. The replication of the desperation felt by those on the sand and of the officers in charge who maintained order under extreme duress. The individual stories were interesting and captivating but somehow I did not feel that it gelled well together. The performances were strong and the moral quandaries were consistent with the stress of life or death but somehow the vignettes did not congeal well.

Is It Any Good?

Our review:
Parents say (56 ):
Kids say (148 ):

Christopher Nolan's first history movie is bold, visceral, and powerful, with many moving sequences -- though some of his filmmaking choices can be challenging. As with some of Nolan's other movies (especially his great Memento), Dunkirk experiments with time. The story's three sections are told at different rates; the beach sequences take place over one week, the boat sequence takes one day, and the plane sequences take one hour. But unlike in Memento, here, this technique lacks clarity, mainly because Nolan doesn't visually distinguish between many of the aircrafts or ships, nor does he make it easy to tell many of the young soldiers apart.

Dunkirk wants us to follow two of the soldiers in particular, but that becomes increasingly difficult, especially as they get covered in dirt and grime. Many characters also have thick English accents (to a U.S. ear, anyway), and the sound mixing and Hans Zimmer's heavy score often drown out the dialogue. All this can make the movie tricky to follow, especially if you don't have the option of subtitles. Sometimes it seems that Nolan is deliberately trying to strip his story of traditional character arcs and dialogue, perhaps to find its essence. This doesn't always work, but Dunkirk is such an immediate horrors-of-war experience, throwing the viewer so vividly into the picture, that it's difficult to dismiss.

Movie Details

Did we miss something on diversity?

Research shows a connection between kids' healthy self-esteem and positive portrayals in media. That's why we've added a new "Diverse Representations" section to our reviews that will be rolling out on an ongoing basis. You can help us help kids by suggesting a diversity update.

Common Sense Media's unbiased ratings are created by expert reviewers and aren't influenced by the product's creators or by any of our funders, affiliates, or partners.

See how we rate