56 user 24 critic

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.


Anthony Mann


Ivan Moffat (screenplay), Ben Barzman (screenplay)




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 ... Henrik
William Marlowe ... Claus
Brook Williams ... Einar
Roy Dotrice ... Jensen
Anton Diffring ... Major Frick
Ralph Michael Ralph Michael ... Nilssen
Eric Porter ... Terboven


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


COME FROZEN HELL OR HIGH ADVENTURE...Their Mission: Stop the Nazis from developing the atom bomb! See more »


Action | Drama | History | War


Approved | See all certifications »

Parents Guide:

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Did You Know?


The real mission code-names for the Telemark operations in World War II were Operation Freshman, Operation Grouse, and Operation Gunnerside. The raid was originally scheduled for October 1942, but was not conducted until February 1943. Operation Grouse established an advance team of four Norwegians above the hydro plant at the Hardanger Plateau. Operation Freshman was unsuccessful, and resulted in the deaths of British paratroopers when gliders crashed and any survivors were captured, interrogated, tortured and shot by the Nazi Gestapo. Its aim was to rendezvous with the Norwegians from Operation Grouse and proceed to and then raid the Vemork hydro station. Operation Gunnerside was the successful second attempt of Operation Freshman. See more »


Ar the beginning of the film the German officer demand 10,000 pounds of heavy water from the lead scientist. A German officer would never use the imperial measure of pounds - it would be kilogrammes or litres as it is today. See more »


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.
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Crazy Credits

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


Remake of Kampen om tungtvannet (1948) See more »


Wir fahren gegen Engeland
Music by Herms Niel
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User Reviews

Best Second World War Thriller Movie
11 January 2001 | by de_niro_2001See all my reviews

While one might question the ethics of making entertainment out of the Second World War when it was a terrible experience for all concerned this film does well. There is plenty of suspense in the film and it also shows the inconceivable wickedness of the Nazis. This film tells very effectively the story of a number of people who thwarted Hitler's attempts to produce a war winning weapon. For dramatic purposes Kirk Douglas and Richard Harris play amalgams of several different people but the film sticks to the basic facts. The film also shows the stupidity of war and brings home the value of human life. May humanity never again have to go through such a terrible experience as the Second World War and films like this should be shown to bring home that we live in an infinitely better world nowadays.

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Frequently Asked Questions

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English | German | Norwegian

Release Date:

26 November 1965 (UK) See more »

Also Known As:

Anthony Mann's The Heroes of Telemark See more »


Box Office


$5,600,000 (estimated)
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Company Credits

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Technical Specs


Sound Mix:

Mono (Westrex Recording System)


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

Aspect Ratio:

2.35 : 1
See full technical specs »

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