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The Saboteurs 

Kampen om tungtvannet (original title)
The story behind Hitler's plan of Germany getting the atomic bomb during WW2, and the heavy water sabotages in Rjukan, Norway, seen from four angles, the German side, the allied, the saboteurs and the company side.




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The story behind Hitler's plan of Germany getting the atomic bomb during WW2, and the heavy water sabotages in Rjukan, Norway, seen from four angles, the German side, the allied, the saboteurs and the company side.

Plot Summary | Add Synopsis


Drama | History | War


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Norwegian | English | German | Danish

Release Date:

1 February 2016 (USA) See more »

Also Known As:

The Heavy Water War See more »

Filming Locations:

Prague, Czech Republic See more »


Box Office


NOK75,000,000 (estimated)
See more on IMDbPro »

Company Credits

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Technical Specs


| (total run time)



Aspect Ratio:

16:9 HD
See full technical specs »

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User Reviews

Most interesting dramatization of the important Heavy Water Battle
6 January 2015 | by OJTSee all my reviews

The Heavy Water War is a long awaited update of one of the most significant and interesting sabotage actions during the Second World War. Previously filmed in many documentaries and as feature dramatizations. First in 1948 in a French-Norwegian co- production, just a few years after the war, with many of the saboteurs playing themselves, "Kampen om tungtvannet". Secondly in 1965 in the Anthony Mann-production "Heroes of Telemark" (with Kirk Douglas and Richard Harris in main roles), and last in the great and too forgotten Canadian feature film and also miniseries "A man called Intrepid" in 1979 (starring David Niven, Michael Yorke and Barbara Hershey).

This mini-series has been very much awaited, as a fresh update though the older ones are still all very see-worthy and recommended dramatizations. All filmed on location in Rjukan, where the sabotages took place, with mainly local youngsters doing the main sabotage job under allied commando. Currently there's at lest three other projects being developed, with a rumored Michael Bay-production ("Sabotage"?), and a 10 episodes TV-series "Telemark" under the direction of Danny Boyle, obviously with different angles of this fantastic epic true war story. There's also made many documentaries, most known the ones from BBC.

It's been 10 years in the planning, this series by production company Filmkameratene, with John M. Jacobsen's sturdy work of getting in place the financing. Finally succeeding when changing the concept from a feature movie to a mini-series with Norwegian national broadcaster NRK as the company with enough means to ascertain a quality production, which felt both important and necessary.

The script writer has based this story on a different angle than the earlier ones. The four sabotage actions is a common basis, but here we at the time go behind both the allied and German actions around creating the world's first atomic bomb. We also follow the local Norwegian resistance, as well as the company view, which has been very controversial stuff for years after the sabotages took place. More about the many moral dilemmas, and a bit less focus on the heroics of young students.

We start off in 1933 when Werner Heisenberg is rewarded the Noble Prize in physics in Stockholm, and is greeted by fellow Danish colleague Niels Bohr. Celebrating this, Heisenberg is later called in for interrogation by the Nazi's which accuse him of being gay. He is almost sent to the front, only saved by top connections. Why did the Nazi need the heavy water (D2O), and where to get it? It's all explained, while we meet young professor Leif Tronstad, which is the main role from Norwegian side, the inside brains of the technology as well as the detailed planning of the sabotage. He is a very much unsung hero, now being pulled out into the light, brilliantly played by Espen Klouman-Høiner. We also see another main role, the facility director Bjørn Henriksen (a fabulous Dennis Storhøi), which is a fictive emerging of three real company directors juggling between Allied (mainly French) and German interest in the new discovery of nuclear physics during the 30'ies, towards the fatal 2nd World War started by the Nazi regime.

Well played in all roles, we early understand this series is about to fulfill the needs of a proper, true and interesting dramatization of this epic story. We all know that the Americans beat the others in finalizing the misunderstood importance of creating an atomic bomb With European development-help. But it's also easy to understand the immense fear of the Allied forces had towards the Adolf Hitler and his extreme right wing dictatorship getting hold of the bomb. The fear of us all seeing an all together different world under the rule of the Nazi dream the Third Reich world leadership. No short cuts have been taken, to assure our need for credibility, since the series is in all correct native languages, so prepare to be reading subtitles, if not dubbed in your country. If you ask me, it's a big relief that the Germans speak German, the Norwegians speak Norwegian as of course it's very often English amongst the allied forces.

I wouldn't be afraid to say that this production is setting a new standard for Norwegian TV-drama, brilliantly casted and directed by Per-Olav Sørensen, very keen on giving this important history lesson a proper updated reference in World history. Already before airing all episodes in Norway, the series is sold to large markets for national TV-distribution in the USA, Spain, Great Britain, Denmark, Sweden, the Netherlands and Germany, a lot of markets will follow in the following months. After airing the series hold record numbers for viewing of a dramatized series in Norway, with a up to 65% marked share of viewers at the time Sunday nights.

It's without doubt going to mean a lot of newfound interest in the famed actions, and incredible heroism of young Norwegian resistance movement, as well as well planned and performed allied actions in the little mountain town Rjukan, which in June 2015 eagerly awaits a decision from Unesco-headquarter Paris if the modern industry revolution site Rjukan - Notodden - Møsvatn area is going to be a future Unesco world heritage site for future generations to experience. What a great story and history this is! Be sure to catch it when it's on in your country, and enjoy the best telling of the story, so far!

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