‘Dunkirk’ accused of overlooking role of “imperial subjects” in battle

While it's received glowing reviews, Nolan seems to have left something important out of 'Dunkirk'.

Christopher Nolan’s Dunkirk was released in UK cinemas last Friday (July 21) – and features the big screen debut of Harry Styles, who has received acclaim for his performance.

While the film has received glowing reviews, some have pointed out that Nolan seems to have shunned the role of the Indian army in the historic battle.

In their review of the film, The Indian Times write that “the Indian Army that had started the war with a little over 1,94,000 men had expanded to nearly 2.5 million men, becoming the largest volunteer army in history,” during the battle and “yet this significant contribution is missing” from the film.


Lt Cdr Manish Tayal of the Royal Navy is also quoted as regretting the “missed opportunity to also tell the story of the lascars” – Indian sailors who operated the merchant ships and other non-military vessels that came to rescue the stranded warriors.

Bloomberg View have also accused Nolan of overlooking their important role, writing that it “adds to the falsehood that plucky Britons stood alone against Nazi Germany once France fell, when, in fact, hundreds of millions of imperial subjects stood, perforce, with them.”

Nolan is yet to respond to the claims.

Meanwhile, the director has confirmed Sir Michael Caine’s cameo in the movie, with the actor having previously appeared in every one of his films since 2005.

The British acting icon has collaborated with the director on films including Interstellar, The Prestige, and most famously The Dark Knight trilogy – where he famously played Batman’s loyal butler Alfred Pennyworth.


Nolan revealed that Caine also features in Dunkirk after recording a voice cameo.

When quizzed about the cameo in an interview with NJ, Nolan revealed that Caine’s voice appears in a scene early on in the film where he speaks to Tom Hardy’s RAF pilot over the radio.