Is it bol­loCks?

Film Buff in­ves­ti­gates the facts be­hind out­landish movie plots.

Total Film - - Contents -

Dunkirk’s Spit­fire beach land­ing – doable?


QIn Dunkirk, Tom Hardy’s RAF pi­lot Far­rier glides his WW2 bird onto the tit­u­lar beach. Pos­si­ble or pop­py­cock? A DAN FRIEDKIN SPIT­FIRE PI­LOT IN DUNKIRK WWW.PURSUITAVIATION.COM

Spit­fires did land on the beaches dur­ing the war and I flew and landed the Spit­fire you see in the movie on the clos­est beach to the vil­lage of Dunkirk. We had sev­eral prac­tice ap­proaches, but I only landed once. Once was enough! The pri­mary con­sid­er­a­tion was tide – we needed it to be low enough to give me enough space. We also needed some­thing close to a head­wind as the land­ing space wasn’t long. But, if it was very windy, it cre­ated ridges in the sand that would make it more chal­leng­ing.

At some point we just de­cided to go for it. I got an amaz­ing amount of sup­port from Emma [Thomas, pro­ducer] and Chris [Nolan], who never made me feel any pres­sure to do any­thing that wasn’t safe. [Stunt

co­or­di­na­tor] Tom Struthers and his crew gave me a lot of re­as­sur­ance that ev­ery pre­cau­tion was be­ing taken and that made the whole ex­pe­ri­ence a lot more en­joy­able. There were no changes made to the plane – it was a stock Mk1 Spit­fire con­fig­ured as it was dur­ing the war. It was thrilling once I made it to a stop. Prior to that, it was a lot of fo­cus. You’re just in the mo­ment and want­ing to do it with­out em­bar­rass­ing your­self!

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