Commandos Strike at Dawn (1942)

Approved  |   |  Drama, History, War  |  30 December 1942 (USA)
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Ratings: 6.8/10 from 422 users  
Reviews: 16 user | 8 critic

A gentle widower, enraged at Nazi atrocities against his peaceful Norwegian fishing village, escapes to Britain and returns leading a commando force against the oppressors.



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Nominated for 1 Oscar. See more awards »



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Cast overview, first billed only:
Judith Bowen
Mrs. Bergesen
Admiral Bowen (as Sir Cedric Hardwicke)
Johan Bergesen
Robert Coote ...
Robert Bowen (as Flying Officer Robert Coote RCAF)
Rosemary DeCamp ...
Hilma Arnesen
German Captain
Elisabeth Fraser ...
Anna Korstad
Richard Derr ...
Gunnar Korstad
Erville Alderson ...
Johan Garme
Barbara Everest ...
Mrs. Olav
Rod Cameron ...
Louis Jean Heydt ...
Karl Arnesen


Erik Toresen, widower and fishery observer, leads a quiet life in a small Norwegian town; but after the Nazi occupation, German abuses lead Erik to form a Resistance group. After a killing, Erik flees to the wilderness and finds a secret German air base; he resolves to escape to England with its location. Written by Rod Crawford <>

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Drama | History | War


Approved | See all certifications »




Release Date:

30 December 1942 (USA)  »

Also Known As:

Ataque al amanecer  »

Company Credits

Show detailed on  »

Technical Specs


Sound Mix:

(Western Electric Mirrophonic Recording)

Aspect Ratio:

1.37 : 1
See  »

Did You Know?


The bombardment of the German battery by the British ships took place at Rugsundo Island, during the commando raid on December 27, 1941. From "The Commandos" by Russell Miller, Time Life Books, 1981. See more »


When Eric Toresen (Paul Muni) left his daughter at Mrs. Olav's house and went into the mountains, he left behind the jacket he arrived with. Later after coming back down from the mountain, and without returning to Mrs. Olav's place, he has his jacket on again. See more »


EriK Toresen: It's hard for me to talk. Our people, as you know, are not demonstrative, but we don't forget our friends nor our enemies.
See more »

Crazy Credits

(opening dedication) Dedicated to the officers and men of the armed forces of Canada, Great Britain and Fighting Norway who participated in the filming of this picture. See more »


Featured in Reach for Glory (1962) See more »


Out to Pick the Berries
Written by Ann Ronell
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User Reviews

Paul Muni Joins the Norwegian Resistance
11 June 2011 | by (Los Angeles) – See all my reviews

In 1939 Norway, peace-loving widower Paul Muni (as Erik Toresen) attends the wedding of a fisherman friend. There, he dances with leading lady Anna Lee (as Judith Bowen), daughter of visiting English admiral Cedric Hardwicke. She returns to England and Mr. Muni stays behind, only to witness wicked Adolf Hitler's Nazi forces invade his country. After the Germans demonstrate the expected brutality, Muni becomes a Norwegian resistance leader...

This pedestrian World War II propaganda story is not complimented by its own rewards. The Canadian filming location is lovely and the cast inviting. Especially noteworthy is the big screen return of legendary Lillian Gish (as Hilda Bergesen) after ten years focused on stage work, but in too small a role; Ms. Gish only punctuates how "Commandos Strike at Dawn" adds up to so much less than it should. There is certainly enough here, however, to recommend the film.

****** Commandos Strike at Dawn (12/30/42) John Farrow ~ Paul Muni, Anna Lee, Lillian Gish, Cedric Hardwicke

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