Anthropoid is a 2016 historical thriller about the real life Operation Anthropoid during World War II: a plot by the Czech resistance (with support from the Czech government in exile in London) to assassinate the Reichsprotektor Reinhard Heydrich, head of the Nazi occupation of the Czech territories, in Prague.
It stars Cillian Murphy as Jozef Gabčík, Jamie Dornan as Jan Kubi, Charlotte Le Bon as Marie Kovárníková, Anna Geislerová as Lenka Fafková, Harry Lloyd as Adolf Opálka, Toby Jones as Uncle Hajský and Detlef Bothe as Heydrich.
Warning: unmarked Death Tropes and Spoilers ahead!
This movie contains examples of:
- Assassination Attempt: A reenactment of the most famous assassination attempt of World War II (with perhaps the exception of the July 20, 1944 plot against Adolf Hitler, although Anthropoid was successful, if costly in lives).
- Better to Die than Be Killed: Or rather, better to die than be captured, tortured until you give up all your friends, and then killed. As such, every resistance member who is able to commits suicide rather than be captured.Hajský: If you are arrested, you will face some harsh facts. There will be no escapes. You will be tortured until you reveal everything you know about the resistance, then you will be executed... Carry the cyanide capsules with you at all times.
- Blatant Lies: After betraying them, Curda tries to get the surviving fighters in the church to surrender, claiming they'll be humanely treated as POWs. Josef answers him with a spray of bullets and tells him they're not surrendering to the Nazis.
- Blind Without 'Em: Uncle Hajský can't see without his glasses. When the Germans arrive to arrest him, he drops his cyanide pill and has to scramble to try and find it without his glasses, narrowly managing to find and swallow it before the Germans break down the door of the bathroom he'd locked himself in.
- Cold-Blooded Torture: A favorite of the Gestapo. A little of it is shown when they interrogate Ata.
- Commander Contrarian: Ladislav Vanek, one of the two heads of Jindra is definitely this compared to the Reasonable Authority Figure that is Hajský. He merely complains about the futility of the plan and is implied to have forged a stand-down order from London to try and prevent the assassination. He's a more sympathetic example than most, as Vanek admits he's generally afraid of what the German retaliation for an assassination attempt on Heydrich would be, successful or not.
- Cyanide Pill: Every member of the commando plus a few of the people who help them have cyanide pills in case they get caught by the Germans. And some of these are eventually put to good use.
- Darkest Hour: For the resistance, when the assassination attempt apparently fails, and they learn that Lenka has been shot.
- Decapitation Presentation: One of the tortures used to try and break Ata was to show him his mother's severed head (she took her cyanide pill when the Germans arrested her and her family). This actually happened in real life.
- Dying Candle: The last candle in the crypt is extinguished by the rising water as Jozef shoots himself.
- Disproportionate Retribution: As happened in real life, the Nazis slaughter thousands of innocent Czechs as retaliation for the assassination attempt. After Heydrich dies of his wounds, they give five days for someone to turn in the assassins, else they will execute 15,000 Czechs in response. The brutal massacre of Lidice in retaliation for Heydrich's assassination is also referenced.
- Fingore: The Gestapo break Ata's fingers with a hammer while torturing him.
- Gun Stripping: One of Lenka's Establishing Character Moments has her grabbing one of the assassins' pistols and field stripping it, as a means of showing she's more than just a pretty girl.
- In the Back: Lenka is gunned down from behind by a Nazi soldier while trying to run for her life. She chose to run rather than be rounded up with the Czech civilians taken hostage in retaliation for Heydrich's assassination.
- During the final battle when the Nazis storm the church, Josef Bublík, one of the Resistance fighters is caught by a grenade blast and left dangling from a balcony. Jan tries to pull him to safety, but before he can, Bublík gets shot from behind and falls to his death.
- It's All My Fault: Josef has this response when he learns Lenka has been killed. Jan consoles him otherwise.
Father Petrek: The responsibility does not rest with you. We all know who is responsible. They will have to answer for it one day, and they will. I would not be here if I did not believe that.
- The assassins have a collective reaction of this when they're informed of the massacre at Lidice. Father Vladimir Petrek, the priest sheltering them, insists they are not to blame.
- It's Personal: When Josef offers Lenka a chance to walk away, she refuses, insisting her work with the Czech resistance is personal; her father was a Czechoslovak Army captain who was executed in the same week that Heydrich took power.
- Kill Em All: Nearly every member of the Czech resistance involved in the plot dies in the aftermath of Heydrich's assassination. A Foregone Conclusion, given that the film is about historical events.
- La Résistance: The film is about an operation that aimed at "waking up" the Czech resistance to Nazi Germany.
- Last Stand: After the Germans discover the church where they're hiding, the last seven plotters hold off a vastly larger, vastly better-equipped German force for quite a while (in Real Life they did so for six hours), killing a number of them in the process.
- Les Collaborateurs: The two Czechs at the beginning of the movie, who try to turn Jozef and Jan in to the Germans.
- Lonely Piano Piece: In the final scene of the movie, when the Germans break into the crypt and the last four parachutists kill themselves, all sound cuts out save for a slow, sad piano piece.
- Mood Whiplash: The brief Hope Spot the fighters have upon learning Heydrich has died of his injuries in hospital is swiftly shattered when the priest sheltering them informs them of the massacre at Lidice in retaliation for his assassination.
- Properly Paranoid: Josef and Jan are put through an extensive interrogation when they first meet the Czech resistance. Afterwards, Hajský apologises, but insists it's a necessity, given how effective the Gestapo have been at infiltrating and sabotaging their organisation.
- Rasputinian Death: Opálka is severely injured by a grenade, chews his cyanide capsule, and shoots himself in the head.
- Reality Is Unrealistic: That insanely lopsided, purely Hollywood Last Stand in the climax, where seven Czech partisans with small-caliber sidearms hold off 750 SS soldiers and policemen, armed with machine guns, submachine guns, and grenades, for six hours? Yeah, it actually happened.
- Roaring Rampage of Revenge: Subverted. Josef wants to go on one of these after he finds out Lenka is dead. Jan talks him down, insisting it would achieve nothing and just put them all in danger.Jan Kubis: You're risking all our lives, Josef, and for what? To shoot a few Germans?
- Scenery Porn: There are some beautiful wide shots of Prague throughout the film.
- Show Some Leg: When two German soldiers are conducting a search inside the café where the commandos and Uncle Hajský discuss the operation in the backroom, Lenka lets her cup of coffee fall on the ground on purpose to distract them. One of the two soldiers is very pleased at the view on her legs, and both soldiers then leave without insisting.
- Tag Line: "Resistance has a code name".
- This Is Unforgivable!: The epilogue states that after the sheer scale of the brutality inflicted on the Czechs in retaliation for Heydrich's assassination, Winston Churchill declared the Munich Agreement of 1938, which had allowed Nazi Germany to annex Czechoslovakia, null and void.
- Traitor Shot: After Reinhard Heydrich has been assassinated, the Germans offer a large sum of money and immunity from prosecution to anyone with information. One of the Resistance cell is in the crowd looking at the poster, and the camera zooms in on their face. Guess who talks?
- Translation Convention: English stands for Czech. German is untranslated.
- Turncoat: Čurda, who betrays the other resistance members on promise of a pardon for himself and his family, as well as a large reward. It did him little good in the end: after the war, he was hunted down, arrested and executed for treason.
- You Have Got to Be Kidding Me!: This is pretty much the reaction of everyone in Jindra, the Czech resistance when Josef and Jan blunty state their mission objective is to assassinate Heydrich.