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Kampen om tungtvannet (1948)

Not Rated | | Action, Drama, War | 5 February 1948 (Norway)
A factual reconstruction of the sabotage events which took place to prevent Hitler's Germany in getting the heavy water needed to make an atomic bomb during WW2.


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Cast overview, first billed only:
Jens A. Poulsson ... Himself - fenrik
... Knut Haugland - fenrik
Arne Kjelstrup ... Himself - sersjant
Claus Helberg ... Himself -sersjant
Henki Kolstad ... Einar Skinnarland - sersjant
Claus Wiese ... Joachim Rønneberg - fenrik
Knut Haukelid ... Himself - fenrik
Andreas Aabel ... Kasper Idland - fenrik
Fredrik Kayser ... Himself - sersjant
Hans Storhaug ... Himself - sersjant
Odd Rohde ... Birger Strømsheim - sersjant
Torstein Skinnarland ... Himself - damvokteren
Rolf Sørlie ... Himself
Knut Lier-Hansen ... Himself - Ferrybomber
Øyvind Øyen ... Leif Tronstad - major, professor


A reconstruction of the two last sabotage actions against the Norsk Hydro Heavy Water (Deuterium, D2O) plant at Vemork, Rjukan, in 1943-44. After the first two allied attempt of stopping the production by British soldiers and American bombings, allied trained young local patriots became successful saboteurs. First by undermining the factory, and later after a rebuild, the sinking of the heavily guarded ferry trying to transport the heavy water to Germany, on Lake Tinnsjo. Written by OJT

Plot Summary | Plot Synopsis


Action | Drama | War


Not Rated | See all certifications »





Release Date:

5 February 1948 (Norway)  »

Also Known As:

Operation Swallow: The Battle for Heavy Water  »

Filming Locations:


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Production Co:

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Technical Specs

Sound Mix:

Aspect Ratio:

1.37 : 1
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Did You Know?


The poster "Keep calm and carry on" is displayed on the wall in the war office in London. See more »


Version of The Heroes of Telemark (1965) See more »

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User Reviews

A norwegian classic!
28 July 2016 | by See all my reviews

World War II had several important episodes, but over the years many of them were forgotten or not had due recognition. Besides the famous invasion of Normandy by the Allies, operation known as "D- Day", The Battle of the Heavy Water also played a key role in the outcome of that war. Directed by Titus Vibe-Müller and Jean Dréville in a French-Norwegian co-production, Kampen om Tungtvannet (original title) or Operation Swallow: The Battle for Heavy Water (in English) is a docudrama (documentary drama) that dramatically presented the reconstitution of these events that marked the history of the world and Norway.

The film begins by an introduction to the war and the reasons that led France and Germany to become interested in the heavy water produced only in the chemical factory Norsk Hydro, in the Vemork plant on the outskirts of the town of Rjukan in Norway. The first country was seeking it to do research in laboratories on its effectiveness, while the second was aimed at getting it to build a secret weapon. As the heavy water was a byproduct of fertilizer production, its production was limited and on a small scale, which meant that any amount obtained become of paramount importance. While the Norwegians remained neutral in the war, the Allies were able to catch the first batch of the precious liquid. But with the invasion of Norway by the Germans, on the morning of April 9, 1940, the Nazis ordered the Norsk Hydro plant to increase its production. Realizing the threat that the plant had the British Intelligence in London with the Norwegian Resistance came together to take preventive measures and sabotage Nazi Germany's plans involving heavy water.

Shot in black and white and without the aspects of large productions such as extravagant action situations and melodramatic approach, Kampen om Tungtvannet uses archival footage and reconstructs the other scenes with the participation of real life counterparts. This gives the movie plenty of realism and authenticity, as well as historical and educational features. Among the counterparts actors we can quote the scientists Frédéric Joliot-Curie and Lew Kowarski and most of the Norwegian saboteurs. So few characters were played by professional actors and the four native languages ​​of the countries involved in the plot were kept: Norwegian, French, German and English. And it is exactly by the common aspect that this film stands out, especially when we remember what was at stake at that time. These are not synthetic heroes we find in American blockbusters, they are just ordinary men who risked their lives to prevent the victory of the Nazi Germany.

The photography explores the mountainous region and the harsh climate of Norway through open shots. The rigorous living conditions to which the members of the Norwegian resistance underwent equate to the size of the challenge that was ahead: prevent the Germans build their secret weapon. They faced hunger, cold and also the enemy.

This story was also dramatized in a British production called The Heroes of the Telemark (1965), with the participation of Kirk Douglas (citing some of his films: Ace in the Hole - 1951, Paths of Glory - 1957, The Vikings - 1958 and Spartacus - 1960) and Richard Harris (known for A Man Called Horse - 1970), and two TV mini-series, a Canadian (A Man Called Intrepid - 1979) and a Norwegian (Kampen om Tungtvannet - Stopping Hitler's Atomic Bomb - 2015). The Swedish power metal band, Sabaton, also honored this episode through the music called Saboteurs.

War is not only won in the trenches or in the battle fronts, being fought by artillery fighting, but by the economic, social and mental mobilization in the rearward. It is won by the adopted strategies and resilience, bravery and wit of all its fighters.

Originally posted in: https://vikingbyheart.blogspot.com.br

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