Dunkirk (1958)

Dunkirk Movie Poster - a line of soldiers walking through the water, with planes in the sky, Dunkirk written in red in the sky

Dunkirk Movie Poster © Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer (MGM)

Director: Leslie Norman
Writer: David Devine and W.P. Lipscomb
Starring: John Mills, Robert Urquhart, Ray Jackson, Meredith Edwards, Bernard Lee, Richard Attenborough, Sean Barrett, Maxine Audley
Production Company: Ealing Studios
Kent Locations Used: Teston Bridge

In the summer of 1940, over 300,000 troops were evacuated from the shores of Dunkirk. Ten years later, Dunkirk (1958) was filmed, commemorating this iconic event.

As the Blitzkrieg starts, a squad of British infantry led by Corporal “Tubby” Binns (John Mills (Great Expectations (1946), The Family Way) is sent into Belgium to face the German forces. But as the Allies are slowly pushed out of Belgium into France and the German army advances towards Calais, the British troops have to retreat. Left behind without their commanding officer, the squad barely manage to stay ahead of the advancing enemy. But their biggest challenge is yet to come as the Luftwaffe repeatedly bombs the harbour where the soldiers are meant to embark for home.

Early in the film, scenes show the soldiers in Belgium where they blow up a bridge as German troops advance over it. However, eagle eyed viewers will recognise that it is in fact in Teston near Maidstone! The Grade I listed bridge was constructed in the 14th or 15th Century and crosses the River Medway.

Like many districts in Kent, Maidstone has its fair share of historic locations and villages. Near Maidstone is the picturesque village of Harrietsham. The historic village contains a number of listed buildings and featured in the 1949 classic Kind Hearts and Coronets.

Dunkirk (1958) was released on Thursday 20th March 1958 and is now available on DVD.

For more information about Kent’s Filming History please visit our Movie Map.