A STAR of the 1958 Dunkirk film has welcomed comparisons between himself and pin-up Harry Styles.

Moviegoers have commented on the striking similarity between Sean Barrett and the One Direction star, who plays Alex, an Army officer in the blockbuster remake.

Barrett said: “He looks quite good doesn’t he – I’ll accept the physical comparison. I’ll beat off the girls with my walking stick.”

A restored version of Leslie Norman’s black and white original will be released on September 25 and Mr Barrett is part of a special screening event of the film at Camber Sands – the very beach where the film was shot – in September.

Mr Barrett, now 77, appeared alongside a young Richard Attenborough in the film.

He said the filming went “extraordinarily smoothly” and recalled a scene where a church service came under attack.

Speakling about the director, he said: “He had the places where there were going to be explosions marked with little black smudges and he didn’t want us running on them and trying to be heroes.

“I remember taking off and thinking – I can’t see a black smudge.

“There were no injuries or anything, but there was the potential for people getting hurt.

“I can’t remember any histrionics or anything.”

Another star of the film, Kenneth Cope, 86, recalled: “It was difficult because there was a hell of a lot of soldiers on Camber Sands and they had to react to Spitfires and people.”

The remake, which has been directed by Christopher Nolan, tells the story of soldiers being evacuated from the beaches of Dunkirk as it happened 77 years ago.

When the film came out in 1958 the memory of the event was still fresh in the minds of the film’s audience – and many of its actors.

Mr Barrett, one of the film’s youngest actors at 17, said: “I was not as aware of Dunkirk – I was born in the war, so I didn’t know that much about it.

“But Leslie Norman used to tell us all gory war stories.

“My uncle had fought at Dunkirk so it was really rather interesting watching the film as it felt as though he was there.”

Mr Cope said: “If you’re doing a film, you’ve just got to get up early, put your make up on and know your lines – you can’t really dwell on the fact that it is a historical moment.

“For the new film, the cameras will be different and they’ve got so much technology now so it’s a lot easier, but in those days, you had to find your mark and not look down at it, and appear natural as hell.”

Many have said Brexit has generated a renewed interest in the events of Dunkirk, as Britain once again stands on its own.

Mr Barrett disagrees. He said: “I can’t really make any kind of connection – we were allied with the French in this event.

“I betray my own leanings, so people who have the other leanings might think that they can tell their own story about it.”

But for Mr Cope, Dunkirk still symbolises “the last moment of the British stiff upper lip, and the British spirit which is what people are trying to find nowadays.

“They were cheered by the British people coming ashore, you know, coming off the trains and giving them cups of tea.

“It’s the tea that keeps us all going,” he said.

Styles has earned praise for his on-screen debut, despite having no acting training.

Many fans flocked to Twitter to heap praise on the star.