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The Heroes of Telemark (1965)

Approved | | Action, Drama, History | 26 November 1965 (UK)
Norwegian resistance tries to stop German efforts to produce an atomic bomb component during World War II.

Director:

Anthony Mann

Writers:

Ivan Moffat (screenplay), Ben Barzman (screenplay)
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Cast

Cast overview, first billed only:
Kirk Douglas ... Rolf
Richard Harris ... Knut Strand
Ulla Jacobsson ... Anna
Michael Redgrave ... Uncle
David Weston ... Arne
Sebastian Breaks Sebastian Breaks ... Gunnar
John Golightly John Golightly ... Freddy
Alan Howard ... Oli
Patrick Jordan Patrick Jordan ... Henrik
William Marlowe ... Claus
Brook Williams ... Einar
Roy Dotrice ... Jensen
Anton Diffring ... Major Frick
Ralph Michael Ralph Michael ... Nilssen
Eric Porter ... Terboven
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Storyline

Set in German-occupied Norway, this is an embellished account of the remarkable efforts of the Norwegian resistance to sabotage the German development of the atomic bomb. Resistance fighter Knut Straud (Richard Harris) enlists the reluctant physicist Dr. Rolf Pedersen (Kirk Douglas) in an effort to destroy the German heavy water production plant near the village of Rjukan in rural Telemark. In the process, Pedersen discovers that his ex-wife Anna (Ulla Jacobsson) and her uncle (Sir Michael Redgrave) have also joined the resistance. British commandos dispatched to destroy the plant are killed when their glider hits the mountainside at night. An improvised raid by the resistance ends in the partial destruction of the heavy water canisters, but the contingency plans of Reichskommissar Terboven (Eric Porter) enable the Germans to resume production quickly. Pedersen wants to recommend to London that the Allies bomb the plant. Straud opposes him because of the potential death toll on ... Written by Peter Grosvenor

Plot Summary | Add Synopsis

Taglines:

The stakes were the biggest the world has ever known. See more »

Genres:

Action | Drama | History | War

Certificate:

Approved | See all certifications »

Parents Guide:

View content advisory »
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Details

Country:

UK

Language:

English | German | Norwegian

Release Date:

26 November 1965 (UK) See more »

Also Known As:

Anthony Mann's The Heroes of Telemark See more »

Filming Locations:

Gausta, Telemark, Norway See more »

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Box Office

Budget:

$5,600,000 (estimated)
See more on IMDbPro »

Company Credits

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Technical Specs

Runtime:

Sound Mix:

Mono (Westrex Recording System)

Color:

Black and White (archive footage)| Color (Technicolor)

Aspect Ratio:

2.35 : 1
See full technical specs »
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Did You Know?

Trivia

The dedication states: "This film is dedicated to the men and women of Norway whose bravery prevented Nazi Germany from getting the atomic bomb." See more »

Goofs

When they meet Jensen on the plateau, Knut Straud is meant to be wearing skis. He manages to turn completely around without the usual action of lifting his skis up to the vertical (the shot of him is only from the waist up) that is necessary to turn around while standing still wearing skis. See more »

Quotes

Terboven: Winston Churchill is puffing an extra big cigar today. And we laugh at him. Why? Because all these containers, which the British did so much to destroy, have already been pre-fabricated in Berlin. They are already on their way here and will be installed by tomorrow.
Nilssen: That is... I must say that is fantastic efficiency!
Terboven: Don't you ever make the mistake of under-rating the Germans. By Easter we will have not merely 10000 pounds of heavy water, but 12000 pounds of heavy water.
See more »

Crazy Credits

Opening credits prologue: GERMAN-OCCUPIED NORWAY 1942 See more »

Connections

Featured in The Real Heroes of Telemark (2003) See more »

Soundtracks

Wir fahren gegen Engeland
(uncredited)
Music by Herms Niel
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Frequently Asked Questions

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User Reviews

Subdued but fairly interesting war thriller.
6 February 2003 | by barnabyrudgeSee all my reviews

The Heroes of Telemark is based on a real-life story. It follows a unit of the Norweigan resistance in their efforts to destroy a German occupied factory, where the Germans are drawing near to creating the first atomic bomb. Kirk Douglas plays an academic from the University of Oslo who is brought in to help them because he is an expert on atomic science. Richard Harris plays the leader of the resistance fighters, a strong willed and courageous man who is always thinking of the best way to be a thorn in the side of the Nazis. There are other decent characterisations too, such as Ulla Jacobsen as Douglas's ex-wife (they parted because he seduced one of his students) and Eric Porter as a power hungry Nazi.

The film is quite good, but it might have been better still. For much of the running time, it seems curiously subdued, with lots of scenes which don't quite screw home the tension as far as they could. The sequence in which the resistance fighters infiltrate the factory and attempt to destroy the German's heavy water supply should have been unbearably tense, but it kind of comes and goes without generating the necessary atmosphere. The closing sequence aboard a boat full of children is very well done, though, and there's another taut bit where Douglas and Jacobsen are almost caught snooping around the factory but manage to convince a passing guard that they are merely young lovebirds trying to find a quiet spot for a bit of private love-making.

The Heroes of Telemark tells a worthy story and is reasonably entertaining, but it could have been a touch better if the maker's had concentrated slightly harder on the suspense.


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