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November 23, 1965

The Heroes of Telemark is a 1965 British war film directed by Anthony Mann based on the true story of the Norwegian heavy water sabotage during the Second World War from Skis Against the Atom, the memoirs of Norwegian resistance soldier Knut Haukelid. The film stars Kirk Douglas as Dr. Rolf Pederson and Richard Harris as Knut Straud, along with Ulla Jacobsson as Anna Pederson. It was filmed on location in Norway.

Storyline

The Norwegian resistance sabotage the Vemork Norsk Hydro plant in the town of Rjukan in the county of Telemark, Norway, which the Nazis are using to produce heavy water, which could be used in the manufacture of an atomic bomb.

Kirk Douglas plays Rolf Pedersen, a Norwegian physics professor, who, though originally content to wait out the war, is soon pulled into the struggle by local resistance leader Knut Straud (based on Knut Haukelid, portrayed by Richard Harris).

They are both smuggled to Britain to have microfilmed plans of the hydroelectric plant examined, and then return to Norway to plan a commando raid. When a force of Royal Engineers, who were to carry it out, are all killed, Pedersen and Straud lead a small force of saboteurs into the plant. The raid is successful, but the Germans quickly repair the equipment.

The Germans then plan to ship steel drums of heavy water to Germany. Pedersen and Straud sabotage a ferry carrying the drums and it sinks in the deepest part of a fjord.

Besides this sequence, the raids (Operations Grouse, Freshman and Gunnerside) and the final attack are depicted in location filming, in which snowy Norwegian locations serve as a backdrop for the plot.

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