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Operation: Daybreak (1975)

In 1942, Britain sends a group of British-trained Czech commandos to Prague to assassinate SS-General Reinhard Heydrich, head of the Nazi security services.

Director:

Lewis Gilbert

Writers:

Alan Burgess (novel), Ronald Harwood (screenplay)
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Cast

Cast overview, first billed only:
Timothy Bottoms ... Jan Kubis
Martin Shaw ... Karel Curda
Joss Ackland ... Janák
Nicola Pagett ... Anna
Anthony Andrews ... Jozef Gabcík
Anton Diffring ... Reinhard Heydrich
Carl Duering ... Karl Frank
Cyril Shaps ... Father Petrek
Diana Coupland Diana Coupland ... Aunt Marie
Ronald Radd ... Carl, Aunt Marie's Husband
Kim Fortune Kim Fortune ... Atá
Pavla Matéjuvská Pavla Matéjuvská ... Jindriska (as Pavla Matejovská)
Ray Smith Ray Smith ... Hájek
George Sewell ... Heinz Panwitz, Chief Investigator
Reinhard Kolldehoff ... Fleischer, Gestapo (as Rene Kolldehoff)
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Storyline

In 1942 Czechoslovakia, SS-General Reinhard Heydrich is appointed to become the Reich Protector of Bohemia and Moravia. The terror and oppression that follow cause Allied authorities in London to authorize a secret mission to kill the man who has come to be known as "The Butcher of Prague". The film shows the operation leading up to Heydrich's death as well as the massive German reprisals that followed it. Written by Anthony Hughes <husnock31@hotmail.com>

Plot Summary | Add Synopsis

Taglines:

A hit-and-run operation with no place to run.

Genres:

Drama | History | War

Certificate:

PG | See all certifications »
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Details

Language:

English | German

Release Date:

29 February 1976 (UK) See more »

Also Known As:

The Price of Freedom See more »

Company Credits

Show more on IMDbPro »

Technical Specs

Runtime:

Sound Mix:

Mono

Color:

Color (Technicolor)

Aspect Ratio:

1.85 : 1
See full technical specs »
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Did You Know?

Trivia

Since the film was set in the Czech republic, the filmmakers made use of Czech army equipment such as OT81 half tracks which are very similar to their war time predecessor, the German Sdkfz 251/1. See more »

Goofs

Heydrich was assassinated on the 27th May. See more »

Quotes

[Discussing the plan to assassinate Heydrich]
Janak: What do you think, Jan?
Jan Kubis: [pointing to a map] : There's only one place - here. We kill him there as he comes around Holesovice Junction.
Anna: But he's heavily guarded all the time!
Jan Kubis: He slows down!
See more »

Crazy Credits

The end credits show what happened to the real people portrayed in the film. See more »

Alternate Versions

BBFC cuts were made to the original UK cinema version to remove blood spurts from a machine gunning. The 1987 video release was uncut. See more »

Connections

Version of The Man with the Iron Heart (2017) See more »

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User Reviews

 
This is a seemingly accurate telling of the events around the assassination of Heydrich.
21 June 2000 | by FISHCAKESee all my reviews

This detailed account of the assassination of Reinhard Heydrich in 1942, and the tragic aftermath, is likely about as accurate as any dramatic film is likely to be on the subject. The Nazis took an appallingly vicious revenge, and this film is a compelling, somewhat flawed, saga of the great tragedy that is war and conquest. Was the killing of Heydrich, the "Hangman" to the Czechs, really necessary, considering the consequences? It must have seemed so to the British brass and the willing Czech volunteers, but one wonders what the completely uninvolved victims in Lidice may have thought. Viewed as part of the overall slaughter of millions in the course of WW2, these were small numbers of victims, but is even one death negligible? Did Heydrich's removal shorten the war at all? You will have to find your own answers.

As a cinematic action film, this is not an especially inspired production. The story of the parachuting in from British RAF planes of an assassination team proceeds rather slowly until the final battle at the church where the seven partisans were hiding. The German efforts to dislodge them are shown in a detail that may owe something to extrapolation from the facts. Who knows? In any case this is the exciting part of the film. As shown the seven wiped out simply hordes of attacking Germans before the last two took their own lives. There is no question but that in reality the partisans put up quite a fight. They would have had no incentive to surrender meekly to Nazi "mercy".

Acting, except for the very convincing portrayal of Heydrich by Anton Diffring, is generally lackluster, with a few exceptions, and the editing can only be described as choppy. The language convention may seem a tad strange. Conversations that would obviously have been in Czech, are given in English. Conversations in German, occur in German, without subtitles. If you aren't fluent in German, you may miss some nuances. Since few of the cast are Czechs, there is not much slavic flavor evident. Who knows, this may enhance the more universal message that "war is hell". Oh, and did Gabcik and Kubis really take their own lives at the end?


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