Sir Nicholas Winton organized rescue efforts in 1939 that saved at least 669 children in Nazi-occupied Czechoslovakia in the months leading up to World War II
Anthony Hopkins' latest movie tells a heroic true story.
On Thursday, FilmNation Entertainment and Warner Bros. released a trailer for Hopkins' new movie One Life, which stars the two-time Oscar winner, 85, as Britain's Sir Nicholas Winton, a man who is credited with organizing a rescue operation that brought roughly 669 children from then-Nazi occupied Czechoslovakia to England in the months leading up to World War II in 1939.
The movie's trailer opens with Winton being sat at a television show with a live audience as a host begins to tell his story. As the elderly man reflects on his past, a younger version of Winton, portrayed by Johnny Flynn (The Outfit), is shown working to organize the rescue.
Both versions of Winton appear tormented by the belief that they could have done more to help, even as those around him marvel at his story. Winton kept his involvement in the rescue effort a secret until his wife discovered documents related to the operation in 1988, according to the Holocaust Encyclopedia.
Parts of the trailer directly recreate Winton's memorable 1988 appearance on the BBC show That's Life, in which he was surprised in the audience by a number of the people he helped rescue decades earlier. One video featuring part of his appearance on YouTube has been viewed over 41 million times.
"Nicky considered himself a banker, not a humanitarian. Yet when he visited a recently annexed Prague in 1938 and saw the state of the fleeing Jewish refugees, he did what he believed was the right thing to do – the thing that anyone would do – and dedicated himself to the cause," reads a synopsis for the movie on FilmNation Entertainment's website.
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"Fifty years later, it’s 1988 and Nicky is haunted by the fate of the children he wasn’t able to help," the synopsis adds. "And so it’s not until he’s surprised by the survivors on live television that he can accept that when facing devastating atrocities, saving even one life is a victory, and the British public learn the truth about the hero hidden in their midst."
In real life, Winton made significant efforts to bring children from the modern Czech Republic and Slovakia as World War II drew closer while working at the London Stock Exchange in 1939. Though he is credited with helping save as many as 669 children, mostly Jewish, researchers believe there are more refugees who have never been identified, per the Holocaust Encyclopedia.
Winton, who was knighted by Queen Elizabeth II in 2003, died in 2015 at age 106.
One Life makes its world premiere at the Toronto International Film Festival on Saturday. The movie is scheduled to release in the United Kingdom on Jan. 1, 2024 — it does not yet appear to have a U.S. release date.
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