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 Pedersen and Richard Harris as Knut Straud, along with Ulla Jacobsson as Anna Pederson. It was filmed on location in Norway.

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. Rolf’s ex-wife Anna, played by Ulla Jacobsson, also becomes involved in the effort, and her relationship with Rolf reignites.

Rolf and Knut sneak out of Norway on a passenger steamship to Britain that they hijack so they can deliver microfilmed plans of the hydroelectric plant to the British, who are impressed by the information. Then the two return to Norway by parachute to plan a commando raid against the plant. When a British plane carrying a force of Royal Engineers to undertake the raid is shot down over Norway by the Germans, Pedersen and Straud lead a small force of Norwegian saboteurs into the plant. The raid is successful, but the Germans quickly replace and repair the equipment.

A Quisling saboteur worms his way into the resistance group, after they debate whether to shoot him or not. He ends up escaping and betraying them, so that a German plane blows up their safe house. When the Nazis and the saboteur pursue Rolf and Knut, Rolf and the saboteur end up alone, and Rolf kills him.

The Germans then plan to ship steel drums of heavy water to Germany. Rolf and Knut sabotage a ferry carrying the drums, and it sinks in the deepest part of a fjord. Rolf himself ends up on the ferry when he sees a resistance comrade’s widow and her young child getting on the ferry; Rolf improvises a „game” whereby all the children on board practice with lifejackets at the stern of the ship. Thus, when the ferry sinks, the children, and Rolf and the widow, are able to escape. Knut and Anna, in a small boat, come and help rescue passengers.

Besides this sequence, the raids (Operations Grouse, Freshman and Gunnerside) and the final attack are filmed on-site, with mountainous and snowy Norwegian locations serving as a backdrop for the plot.