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Darkest Hour (2017)

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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.

Director:

Joe Wright
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Popularity
403 ( 68)

Through the Lens of 'Darkest Hour' Director Joe Wright

See how director Joe Wright uses his signature tracking shots to set up a visual narrative for his films, including Atonement, The Soloist, and Hanna.

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Won 2 Oscars. Another 45 wins & 67 nominations. See more awards »

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Cast

Cast overview, first billed only:
Gary Oldman ... Winston Churchill
Kristin Scott Thomas ... Clemmie
Ben Mendelsohn ... King George VI
Lily James ... Elizabeth Layton
Ronald Pickup ... Neville Chamberlain
Stephen Dillane ... Viscount Halifax
Nicholas Jones ... Sir John Simon
Samuel West ... Sir Anthony Eden
David Schofield ... Clement Atlee
Richard Lumsden ... General Ismay
Malcolm Storry ... General Ironside
Hilton McRae Hilton McRae ... Arthur Greenwood
Benjamin Whitrow ... Sir Samuel Hoare
Joe Armstrong ... John Evans
Adrian Rawlins ... Air Chief Marshall Dowding (as Adrian Rawlings)
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Storyline

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 Nick Riganas

Plot Summary | Plot Synopsis

Taglines:

Never give up. Never give in. See more »


Motion Picture Rating (MPAA)

Rated PG-13 for some thematic material | See all certifications »

Parents Guide:

View content advisory »
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Details

Country:

UK | USA

Language:

English | French | German

Release Date:

22 December 2017 (USA) See more »

Also Known As:

Darkest Hour See more »

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Box Office

Budget:

$30,000,000 (estimated)

Opening Weekend USA:

$175,006, 26 November 2017, Limited Release

Gross USA:

$56,443,120, 1 April 2018

Cumulative Worldwide Gross:

$145,843,120, 1 April 2018
See more on IMDbPro »

Company Credits

Show more on IMDbPro »

Technical Specs

Runtime:

Sound Mix:

Dolby Atmos

Color:

Color | Black and White (archive footage)

Aspect Ratio:

1.85 : 1
See full technical specs »
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Did You Know?

Trivia

Near the end of the film, Halifax is depicted as saying that Winston Churchill "mobilized the English language and sent it into battle." Although having Halifax utter the phrase can be excused on grounds of "dramatic license," the quote actually originates with American news reporter Edward R. Murrow, who used it in 1954. It was used again by American President John F. Kennedy in 1963, on the occasion of Churchill being given honorary U.S. citizenship. See more »

Goofs

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 »

Quotes

King George VI: How do you manage drinking during the day?
Winston Churchill: Practice.
See more »

Crazy Credits

At the end of the credits, Big Ben strikes 2 o'clock. See more »

Connections

Featured in Good Morning Britain: Episode dated 15 May 2018 (2018) See more »

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User Reviews

 
Historically fascinating, but most importantly filled with exhilarating energy, humour and passion throughout
3 December 2017 | by themadmoviemanSee all my reviews

Not only is this a riveting account of one of the most important moments of the Second World War, but it's also an exhilarating drama that goes beyond being a simple biography by bringing humour, energy and passion to every moment. With a stunning central performance by Gary Oldman, confident and passionate directing from Joe Wright, and a brilliant screenplay from start to finish, Darkest Hour is a simply exceptional film.

When telling a story as well-known as that of Winston Churchill and the Second World War, being both exciting and historically accurate isn't always easy, but that's where the unique take on the historical drama of Darkest Hour comes in.

Yes, it does tell of the extreme intensity of the early days of the war, the political manoeuvring in Westminster as Churchill was appointed Prime Minister, and the very real and impending threat that the fall of Britain could very well mean the end of freedom-loving Western civilisation, which are all absolutely fascinating to watch unfold, but they're all parts of history that you arguably already know very well.

That's why the film's decision to bring a brilliant sense of humour and a strong passion to proceedings is so effective. The importance of the events being portrayed on screen is never downplayed, and there are indeed some very intense and emotionally powerful moments, but there's so much more to Darkest Hour than just history, something that made it such a refreshing watch compared to how most Oscar-bait biographies turn out.

Above all, what impressed me most about the film was the fact that it's just so funny. It's by no means a comedy, but this isn't a pompous and dry historical drama, but one that takes glee in pointing out the eccentricities in its main character, eccentricities which are undoubtedly a part of why Churchill is so lauded and respected to this day.

While the film praises Churchill's bulldog spirit in fighting the fight against the Nazis, it's always keen to show him in a slightly brighter light, almost as if he was a man who stumbled into the most important job in history by coincidence. In that, there are so many genuinely hilarious scenes as Churchill's quirky personality clashes with the more uptight politicians of Westminster, a part of the film that I felt not only made everything more entertaining, but helped to give the movie an incredibly refreshing energy, allowing me to see Churchill in a very relatable, personal light rather than just as a historical figure from a textbook.

As well as being downright hilarious at points, there's a real passion behind the film's depiction of the darkest hours of the war. With Churchill being forced over to opening peace talks with Hitler, the film does an incredible job at inspiring you to a point of fever pitch, fully backing Churchill's bulldog spirit to fight and defend freedom to the very last moment, meaning that the internal conflict he suffers throughout the film is such a riveting focal point.

This is an undoubtedly patriotic film, and heaps a lot of praise onto Churchill's gusto, but that doesn't mean it's overly jingoistic. There may be a case that Brits watching the film will feel more emotion from its incredible passion, but I still feel that most of that comes from how well the character of Churchill is developed throughout, from a bumbling, mumbling, lovable old man to a truly honest and principled leader.

Finally, we have to talk about Gary Oldman's performance, which is amazing. For one, thanks of course in part to the make-up and costume teams, it's pretty impossible to tell that you're watching Gary Oldman in this movie. But not only does he look nothing like Oldman, and so much more like Churchill, but everything about Oldman's performance, from the smallest details about Churchill to his fantastic passion and energy on screen, pulls you further and further into the moment, and creates an exceptionally convincing portrayal of the great man and the situation surrounding him, which I was blown away by.

Overall, I absolutely loved Darkest Hour. It's an undoubtedly riveting historical drama about a crucial turning point in global history, but more than that, it's full of incredible energy from start to finish, with amazing and still appropriate humour throughout combined with stunning patriotic passion, making for a genuinely exciting and properly entertaining film that does so much more than your typical Oscar-bait fare.


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