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Oorlogswinter (2008)

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In the Nazi-occupied Netherlands, a teenage boy gets involved in the Dutch Resistance after coming to the aid of a wounded RAF pilot.



(screenplay), (screenplay) | 2 more credits »
10 wins & 9 nominations. See more awards »



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Cast overview, first billed only:
Anneke Blok ...
Mees Peijnenburg ...
Jesse van Driel ...
Ad van Kempen ...
Ben Ramakers ...
Duitse Soldaat Redding
Jens Roth ...
Duitse Soldaat 1
Duitse Soldaat 2


Near the end of World War II, 14-year-old Michiel becomes involved with the Resistance after coming to the aid of a wounded British soldier. With the conflict coming to an end, Michiel comes of age and learns of the stark difference between adventure fantasy and the ugly realities of war. Written by Pusan International Film Festival

Plot Summary | Add Synopsis


In 1945 Holland, a boy must choose between good and evil.


Drama | History | War

Motion Picture Rating (MPAA)

Rated R for some language | See all certifications »

Parents Guide:






| |

Release Date:

27 November 2008 (Netherlands)  »

Also Known As:

Winter in Wartime  »

Box Office


€4,000,000 (estimated)

Opening Weekend:

$14,937 (USA) (18 March 2011)


$542,860 (USA) (29 July 2011)

Company Credits

Show detailed on  »

Technical Specs


Sound Mix:

(Dolby 5.1)


Aspect Ratio:

2.35 : 1
See  »

Did You Know?


Volkskrant readers voted the movie in the top 10 of best movies of 2008, becoming the highest Dutch movie in the list. See more »


When Michiel is cycling through the village, he passes a row of houses typical for the post-war resurrection era. See more »


References A Man Called Blade (1977) See more »


Oorlogswinter - Score
Composer: Pino Donaggio
Orchestra: Bulgarian Symphony Orchestra-Sif 309
Co-orchestrator: Maurizio Abeni
Conductor: Maurizio Abeni
Soprano Vocals by Boris Dobromirov Dobrev
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User Reviews

Definition of Heroism
28 September 2011 | by (United States) – See all my reviews

WINTER IN WARTIME (Oorlogswinter) is a stunning and intensely involving film that explores the damages war inflicts on all those involved. It is based on the life of Dutch author Jan Terlouw whose novel by the same name reflects the fact that the author spent five harrowing years under Nazi occupation of Holland in WW II: it has been sensitively and successfully adapted for the screen by Mieke de Jong, Paul Jan Nelissen and writer/director Martin Koolhoven. The title of the film commands every aspect of the story - the colors of a nearly black and white cinematography, the cold atmosphere that intensifies the desperation of war and of coming of age and the bleak aftermath of a war torn country.

The time is January 1945. Michiel Van Beusekom (and impressive debut by Martijn Lakemeier) is 13 years old, facing the usual stresses of coming of age accentuated by the fact that his village is occupied by Nazi soldiers. Michiel's father Johan (Raymond Thiry) is the town's Bürgermeister (mayor) and attempts to pacify the Nazis whenever possible to protect his town - a fact that Michiel finds disgusting, as though his father was a Nazi sympathizer. Despite this disparity in viewing the atmosphere in the town, Michiel and Johan have a tender relationship as well. There is a crash of a British RAF plane just outside the town and Michiel and his friends inspect the plane, taking souvenirs, and then finding that the pilot Jack (Jamie Campbell Bower - now King Arthur in the television series Camelot) survived but is wounded. Michiel and Jack become friends and Michiel brings his sister Erica (Melody Klaver) who is a nurse to tend to the leg wound Jack incurred as he parachuted to safety. Erica and Jack form a relationship beyond nurse/patient status and Jack gives Michiel a package that is to be sent to England.

In the midst of the action Michiel's favorite uncle Ben (Yorick van Wageningen) arrives and moves in with the family: he is apparently hiding from the Nazis and becomes Michiel's confidant in his care of the British pilot. Michiel thus becomes a part of the resistance movement and when the Nazis discover a dead comrade (a Nazi killed by Jack when he crashed landed) they intensify their search for traitors. Michiel works to help Jack escape, but someone must pay for the death of a Nazi soldier and it is the revelation of the family's surprising response that brings the film to a nail-biting close. The secrets of who is honest and who is a traitor become apparent. Michiel has become the hero of the story but at a very high price - the price of human conflict that war demands and receives.

The cast is thoroughly solid and it is refreshing to note that the humanistic sides of both the Dutch villagers and the Nazi occupiers are made evident instead of the usual bad guy/good guy stereotypes. This is another fine movie about WW II and the effects of that heinous time on the youth who survived it. Highly recommended. In Dutch and German and English with English subtitles.

Grady Harp

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