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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. See more »

Genres:

Drama | History | War

Certificate:

PG | See all certifications »
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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

During the fight in the church one of the Czechs gets shot and falls from an upper floor. When he hits the ground, it is clear that it is a dummy that falls. 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 »

User Reviews

 
One not to be missed
21 September 2007 | by ni-8See all my reviews

Yes the music does date the film (were ARP synthesisers ever a good thing) but does that matter? No!!

Some poetic licence is taken with the facts (how Jan Kubis really died or the romance with Anna) but the portrayal of the occupiers, particularly Reichsprotektor Heydrich in no way understated how heinous these people were.

The depiction of siege at St Cyril's conveys a whole range of emotions as tension builds. The motivation of the resistance was unquestionably heroic at this part of the episode.

This is so much more than an action story. However the issues tend to be portrayed in a very polar black / white manner. Even Karel Chudra's motivation is shown in very clear terms (he is treated far less sympathetically in Czech history). It is unfortunate that the film did not have time to develop the political tension between London and the local resistance. How aware was London of the probability of reprisals following the assassination? Was it their intention that reprisals would do more to stir local opposition to the occupation than the assassination itself? Why did Karel Moravec later take his own life?

Overall, however, this is a film to see and for the most part it is very realistic. Visit Prague and leave the tourist traps to see St Cyril's - it looks just like the movie and is almost guaranteed to make you cry for all the victims of the Nazi occupation of Czechoslovakia.


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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
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