6.5/10
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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 enlists the reluctant physicist Rolf Pedersen 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 and her uncle 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 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 Norwegian civilians and a fight ensues. They send in separate recommendations, and the air raid ... Written by Peter Grosvenor

Plot Summary | Add Synopsis

Taglines:

DEFYING EACH OTHER while defying danger on all sides! 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

Production Co:

Benton Film Productions See more »
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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 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 »

Goofs

In the opening scenes where the Nazi command convoy is driving along the cliff road, the Mercedes cars are right-hand-drive. Mercedes cars built for Germany were always left-hand-drive, so one can only assume that the car used was one built for the UK market. 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.
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Crazy Credits

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

Connections

Remake of Kampen om tungtvannet (1948) 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

 
The Toll of Norwegian Resistance
18 August 2006 | by bkoganbingSee all my reviews

When Norway was occupied by the Nazis it had a unique burden to face. With the exception of Winston Churchill all the rest of the Allied political and military leaders favored no military operations to liberate Norway. The war was not to be fought in Scandinavia. Therefore the Norwegians could only sit back and hope for an allied victory in other parts of Europe in order to be free.

Knowing that those who resisted in Norway did it from real anti-fascist conviction and the fact that they wanted to do something against their unwelcome occupiers.

The Heroes of Telemark and the Norwegian film, Kampen om Tungtvannet on the same subject that was previously done showed the Norwegians in their resistance just such a chance even though it did not help one bit in the liberation of their country.

The Nazis have a plant used for making heavy water, deuterium, water made with a hydrogen atom with a neutron as well as a proton. This stuff was critical in the development of the atomic bomb. When a Norwegian scientist got wind of it he gets a message to a colleague played by Kirk Douglas who escapes to Great Britain to inform the Allied High Command.

Douglas goes back to Norway and with Richard Harris makes several attempts to destroy the water. A whole lot of people, British Commandoes and Norwegian citizens die in the attempts made. But the job gets done.

Hey if the job hadn't gotten done, I'd be writing a review of a different kind of film, maybe in German.

Kirk Douglas and Richard Harris prove uneasy allies. In a recent biography of Harris it was reported that he and Harris did not get along at all on this film. Douglas is a talented egotist and Harris was quite the carouser back in those days and also didn't get along with both Marlon Brando and Charlton Heston on films he co-starred with them. Not a good combination for a happy set, but the film got done.

Anthony Mann did some great location photography in Norway for this film, shot on the actual sites. Kirk and Dick on skis, even if it was stunt doubles were something to watch.

The Heroes of Telemark is a good World War II action/adventure film and a nice tribute to the Norwegian resistance.


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