The Heroes of Telemark (1965)

During my holiday we stayed at a house very close to the town of Rjukan. It’s a very small town, but during the second world war it was very important. The town had a power station and the nazis took over the plant to produce heavy water. The allies feared that this heavy water would be used to create a nuclear bomb and decided to make sure they were not able to. The powerstation is still there and we payed it a visit. It is now a museum and tells in detail about the history of the town and what happened during the second world war. The events that took place were the inspiration for the Heroes of Telemark. When I saw that this movie was sold there and was also told it was shot on location I just had to get it.

Kirk Douglas is Rolf, who is asked to join the resistance. Although he initially is reluctant to do so, he eventually changes his mind and heads to Rjukan to see the plant for himself. Together with several other men they decide to head to England to bring their intel there and ask for help. It is decided that it is best to sabotage the plant instead of bombing it and once they are back in Norway they make their preparations.
The movie shows all the events which took place during the war and which I read about when I was in the museum. Of course this movie adds some Hollywood stories into the mix, like Rolf trying to seduce his ex-wife who also is in the resistance or him trying to save some people, but I had the feeling that Heroes of Telemark does manage to give a good idea what happened.

Having visited the town and surrounding area myself it added an extra layer of enjoyment. Seeing how the plant had changed a bit compared to when this movie was shot and seeing the town of Rjukan during winter all were fun to see. The movie shows the courage of these men and the drama they had to go through to make sure the Germans wouldn’t succeed in their goal of building a nuclear bomb. It’s not the best war movie out there, but I liked the fact that it took place in a setting I had not seen before.

Score: 7

6 thoughts on “The Heroes of Telemark (1965)

  1. Good stuff. I’ve never seen this picture but it sounds interesting. I can see where your extra but of familiarity only added to it.

  2. Hi, Nostra and company:

    Great choice and critique!

    One of the last and better WWII films of the 1960s. Superb on location that stays true to history and events as they unfold.

    Nicely done!

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