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The assassination of high-ranking Nazi Reinhard Heydrich in 1942 has inspired many films, including Hangmen Also Die! by Fritz Lang and Bertolt Brecht, and Hitler’s Madman, both released in 1943, the Czech film Atentát in 1964, and The Price of Freedom in 1975, not to mention numerous novels and a short story by Jim Shepard.

Why so much interest? Well, Heydrich’s death was seen by many as a turning point in the Third Reich’s fortunes. Not only was he the leader of Nazi forces in Czechoslovakia and the Reich’s third-in-command behind Hitler and Heinrich Himmler, but he was also the main architect behind the Final Solution.

The latest movie to tackle his assassination is Anthropoid, named after the Allied operation it depicts. Cillian Murphy and Jamie Dornan star as Czech soldiers Josef Gabčík and Jan Kubiš, who are parachuted into their occupied homeland in December of 1941, and, despite having limited intelligence and little equipment in a city under lockdown, must find a way to assassinate Heydrich.

The film also stars Toby Jones (The Girl, Doctor Who, and soon to be an undisclosed baddie in Sherlock), Charlotte Le Bon (Bastille Day), Game of ThronesHarry Lloyd, and Bill Milner (X-Men: First Class).

Here’s the trailer:

While the trailer makes it look like a standard wartime thriller, in reality the operation was a mitigated success. Everything that could go wrong did go wrong, and when Heydrich finally died of his wounds, the Nazis responded by ruthlessly killing 5,000 Czech civilians.

Anthropoid hits theaters August 12, but that won’t make it the last word on the subject. HHhH starring Jack Reynor (Sing Street) and Jack O’Connell (Money Monster) as the two Czech freedom fighters also depicts events leading up to Heydrich’s assassination, and is due out later this year.

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By Kat Sommers
Kat is a freelance writer for Anglophenia.