In May 1940, the fate of Western Europe hangs on British Prime Minister Winston Churchill, who must decide whether to negotiate with Adolf Hitler, or fight on knowing that it could mean a humiliating defeat for Britain and its empire.
During World War II, as Adolf Hitler's awesomely powerful Wehrmacht rampages across Europe, the Prime Minister of the United Kingdom, Neville Chamberlain, is forced to resign, recommending Winston Churchill as his replacement. But even in his early days as the country's leader, Churchill is under pressure to commence peace negotiations with the German dictator or to fight head-on the seemingly invincible Nazi regime, whatever the cost. However difficult and dangerous his decision may be, Churchill has no choice but to shine in the country's darkest hour.Written by
Winston Churchill's "We will fight on the beaches" speech in 1940 was not recorded, as the House of Commons was not fitted with recording equipment then. Churchill recorded all his major wartime speeches at his home four years after the war. See more »
When Churchill is summoned by the king, as his car drives onto the the grounds of Buckingham Palace, the Union Flag can be seen flying above the Palace. At that time the only flag to be flown over the Palace was the Royal Standard, and only when the monarch was present. This rule was not changed until 1997, and even today, the Royal Standard is flown whenever the monarch is present. See more »
Disclaimer in closing credits: "The depictions of tobacco smoking contained in this film are based solely on artistic consideration and are not intended to promote tobacco consumption. The Surgeon General has determined that there are serious health risks associated with smoking and with secondhand smoke." See more »
As a film this is quite good; it's not dull, the performances are good, the production design is excellent, the script is a professional piece of work and even Oldman's make-up is not too distracting.
However, something is not right. If most people get their history from movies, this is concerning. It's obvious that actual events occurred with real people and what they did and said but in a movie this gets pasteurized into what smart people believe will be more thrilling, more sympathetic, more emotional. That process necessarily alters things into something that is even anachronistically rendered and therefore not in the record.
This defect occurs frequently in this movie , so it's not history but myth making. A good example is Churchill's dive into the Underground to meet the common person to steel his resolve. Now Churchill had a mixed view of the average voter, and he was a patrician, but even that aside, he did not need to take a Tube train survey to gauge opinion.
This scene is poached from Shakespeare's Henry V where the king goes among his soldiers the night before battle to hear them and take courage from their strength. Steal from the best is a good policy, but it's not history. It's Shakespearean history and that trades effect for accuracy too.
The audience is given this scene to present Churchill as an instrument of democracy; he's acting for what the people want, therefore he's doing the right thing. It's called pandering.
Well, it is just a movie.
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