At almost the end of the movie Dunkirk, when the survivors from Mr.Dawson's boat land and board a train that takes them back to their homeland, Alex makes an assumption that they will be received badly by the British when they do land, as they have been a disappointing bunch.

But instead they all receive a hero's welcome and are given bread on arrival.

They meet an old man who is distributing bread at the survivor's arrival and doesn't look in the eye while doing so.

Alex picks up on this and mentions that to Tommy on the lines of "..the old bloke couldn't even look us in the eye.." to which Tommy doesn't seem to pay much attention.

Was the old man blind or was he just trying to cover his disappointment?

  • 4
    I thought the old-guy was distributing blankets - but I could be wrong. My assumption was that he was blind because of the way the character touches Tommy's face.
    – iandotkelly
    Jul 24, 2017 at 14:36
  • 2
    Not being able to look someone in the eye is not an expression of disappointment...it's an expression of personal shame or embarrassment. If anything, the shame was on the side of the people receiving the soldiers for failing them!
    – Paulie_D
    Jul 24, 2017 at 14:38
  • 1
    Pretty sure he was a blind WWI vet from "the lost generation". He would want the boys of WWI to survive.
    – Ben Plont
    Jul 25, 2017 at 5:09
  • I hope it's true @BenPlont :) Pretty interesting spin!
    – Shalini
    Aug 1, 2017 at 19:00

2 Answers 2


The guy is handing out blankets.

He's not looking at anyone because he's blind. There's a short scene where he reaches up and strokes a soldier's face as a blind person would do, reinforcing this fact.

The reason for the blindness could be a result of an chemical warfare injury in the Great War.


The motif of how all Brits played a role in a the Dunkirk evacuation is reinforced by the use of the old blind man toward the end of the movie. Women, old men, young boys all filled their roles, so did the blind- fighting for a common cause greater than their own.

You must log in to answer this question.

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged .