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Dunkirk Veteran on Christopher Nolan’s World War II Drama: ‘It Was Just Like I Was There Again’

97-year-old Ken Sturdy praises the film's authenticity.

“Dunkirk”

With a 94 on Metacritic and a $50 million debut at the box office, Dunkirk is already one of Christopher Nolan’s most well-received films. It isn’t just critics and fanboys who appreciate his tense new World War II drama, however, as at least one veteran of the battle itself is now signing its praises as well: “I never thought I would see that again,” said 97-year-old Ken Sturdy. “It was just like I was there again.”

“It didn’t have a lot of dialogue. It didn’t need any of the dialogue because it told the story visually and it was so real,” he continued. “Dunkirk” is light on conventional plotting and dialogue, as Nolan opted for an experiential, you-are-there approach that favors action over words. Sturdy, who was 20 at the time, served as a signalman in the Royal Navy and helped soldiers evacuate the beach where 68,000 British soldiers were captured or killed and more than 300,000 were eventually rescued.

“I had the privilege of seeing that film tonight and I am saddened by it because of what happened on that beach,” he said. “I was 20 when that happened, but watching the movie, I could see my old friends again and a lot of them died later in the war. I went on convoys after that in the North Atlantic. I had lost so many of my buddies.” Learn more about Sturdy here.

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