At the end of Dunkirk, there are two fade to black / cut to black instances:

  1. Farrier's plane on fire, fade to black,
  2. Tommy on the train just finished reading the newspaper, cut to black.

That really confused me as I've never seen that before. Initially I thought it's because the movie is composed of three stories told at once (or just one big story told from different point of views), but if that was right, there should be three fades to black and not just two.

So, why are there two of those? What do they signify?

  • maybe we could not put a spoiler in the title? I haven't watched this yet. Commented Feb 5, 2018 at 22:08
  • 1
    @JasonPSallinger The title doesn't really spoil anything. Talk about spoilling, have you seen the titles of jumanji-welcome-to-the-jungle's questions. That's SPOILLIIIIING. I don't think I'm going to watch it after all that. Commented Feb 5, 2018 at 23:03
  • You should try watching Lord of the Rings: Return of the King. That has about 12 fade-to-whites.
    – Tim
    Commented Feb 8, 2018 at 3:11
  • @Tim It's been a long time since I watch it. I don't remember those fade-to-white. Besides, I've never heard of that term before. Unlike fades-to-back, which are customary to end a movie. Commented Feb 8, 2018 at 3:17

1 Answer 1


First fade to black:

The fade to black for Farrier signifies that his story has ended. He gets captured and probably killed later, but that part isn't important for the story. What matters is what we saw in the film: that he became a hero at Dunkirk.

Second cut to black:

While initially jarring, the final scene with Tommy and Alex is a sort of epilogue about how the war is not over. Like the end of Peter and Mr. Dawson's story, this scene doesn't fade to black, because just like the war, their story does not end there.

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