I couldn't help but notice in some of the score for Dunkirk (2017) that it sounded very familiar. Specifically the song "Variation 15" sounds like the classical piece "Nimrod" by Edward Elgar.

What is the significance Hans Zimmer is trying to convey by alluding so heavily to Nimrod?

Variation 15


  • Note Benjamin Wallfisch is credited for "Variation 15 (Dunkirk)", while Hans Zimmer "only" gets "Produced by" credit. Mar 7, 2018 at 23:25

2 Answers 2


Elgar's Enigma variations - and Nimrod, in particular - have long been a part of the British consciousness.

Interestingly, Elgar ended up writing 14 variations (Nimrod being number 9).

Zimmer is trying to instil the patriotism that the variations have done for the British over the past century. Calling his own composition Variation 15 implies a continuation of Elgar's original works.


Horuskol, has already given a good answer but specifically Nimrod is played at the Rememberance Day Ceremony that takes place each November in London to honour British and other nations war dead.

Nimrod played at the Cenotaph The Cenotaph in London was built after WW1 on Whitehall and the ceremony has taken place there ever since, with an order of service that was set in the 1930s.

Zimmer has a close relationship with the British Director Nolan and the importance of this piece in British cultural life would probably have come up in their discussions.

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