World War II tale based on a true story. As the Germans move closer to the secret of nuclear fission, saboteurs plot to prevent the materials from going into production.
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Los! Runter vom Wagen! Auf den Berg!
Major Frick! Major Frick!
An attempt has been made on the Reichkommissar's life.
Arrange for 15 civilian hostages
from the district of Telemark to be shot in reprisal.
-Like the look of it, gentlemen?
We know what you do here, Herr Nilssen.
An experiment with heavy water.
-Yes, we know.
Nilssen, I must tell you, the time has come to make a decisive
transition from theory to practice.
You've done enough experimentation, my dear fellow.
This room has more significance for
us than you can possibly realise.
One day perhaps you will realise.
Don't you think, gentlemen?
Forget about fertilisers.
This factory must increase its production of heavy water by 400%.
-We want 10,000 pounds of heavy water by Easter next year.
It's not impossible.
What is necessary will always be accomplished for the Reich.
All the technical details have been worked out in Berlin. Take a look.
Notice our modification of the deuterium formula.
But what is the reason?
I don't understand.
That was a firing squad, my dear Nilssen.
Let it be a warning.
Major Frick here will be in charge of security.
And it will be the maximum.
No, I'm sorry, he's busy. He's working in the darkroom.
You can't barge in on Professor Pedersen.
How long is he likely to be there?
He could be there all afternoon.
I'll wait for him.
Shut that door!
What the hell are you doing? Can't you see the red light's on?
Sorry. I'd like to speak to you.
Don't you know the damage you can
-do barging into a darkroom when the signal light's on?
-I have a message.
All right, I'll be in touch.
Now, what do you want?
I come from Telemark, near the Norsk hydro factory.
I didn't ask where you were born.
I come from Chief Engineer Nilssen.
He wants your opinion on something.
-He says only you would understand it.
It's in here.
What's this? Some sort of student joke?
It's not a joke and I'm no student.
It contains an undeveloped photographic negative.
Who are you?
Knut Straud. I used to work on the sawmills, but now I fight Nazis.
One of those.
Get back to your sawmill.
I'm not interested in your messages.
My work is here.
I've just SEEN you at your work.
I'd rather embrace one Norwegian than kill a dozen a day, friend.
Look at this.
Every time you people play Boy Scouts
and blow up a few Nazi trucks, 12 hostages are shot.
That's your great work(?)
Keep it. Get out of here and take your toothpaste with you.
A lot of Boy Scouts risked their lives to get this to you.
MILITARY BAND PLAYING OUTSIDE
I must get to England.
-46 Konigstrasse, Trondheim.
-Also Sie fahren jetzt nach Trondheim?
We've contacted London. They're expecting us.
How are we for fuel?
I'm sorry. My wife is a bit clumsy.
-No, no, it's my fault.
-How far are you going? Kristiansund?
As far up as she'll go.
How far WILL she go?
-We'll make it.
-12 in the crew, eight passengers plus the Quisling.
All we need now is a little fog and the trolls on our side.
Don't tell me a big boy like you believes in trolls?
You all know what to do.
Doctor, press this little thing here and the bullets come out there.
Get off the bridge!
We're taking over this ship in the name of the Royal Norwegian Government!
This ship's going to England.
Like hell it is!
You've got a choice. Sail under the King as free men
or be prisoners for the rest of the war.
Good evening. We're taking over
this ship in the name of the King.
Serves him right.
What can we do for you?
Give us a hand.
Ladies and gentlemen, there is nothing to be alarmed about.
Just a slight change in our itinerary.
Instead of going up to Kristiansund, we'll be going to England.
-Don't be alarmed.
Now or never, Captain.
Fools. You'll never get across the North Sea alive.
-Enemy planes will spot you.
-That's the chance we're going to take.
There are mines - thousands of them.
Neither the British nor the Germans have given us a map.
-Do you believe in the trolls?
-Yes, he does.
So do I, providing we have a sharp lookout.
-Thank you, Captain.
Full astern! Full astern, sir!
What's all the commotion about?
He said, "Mines!"
It's too close. You trying to blow us up? Get that pole.
Full astern, Sir!
Hang on this line.
The next time you want to play billiards with a mine,
remember my job is to get you safely to London.
What the devil is heavy water?
It has a heavier hydrogen structure than ordinary water.
It possesses properties useful in atomic energy.
Why have the Germans ordered this increase in the stuff?
In the formula that Nilssen sent me,
the Germans have added a new component to the accepted equation.
I'd rather wait till that formula has been examined by Professor Einstein
and Dr Oppenheimer in New York.
But something more than a doubt brought you all the way to England?
Yes. It's a very great fear.
And if it's justified, we'll know about it soon enough.
No need to be shy.
Morning, George. Charlie.
Gentlemen, would you mind?
Thank you so much.
This is Professor Sir Roderick Logan, gentlemen.
Gentlemen, perhaps I should tell you
or perhaps I should not tell you,
but we have just come from a very
brief and equally a very painful session with the Prime Minister.
At any rate, here is the report that came from Washington this morning.
Following their initial reading of the data brought by Dr Pedersen
from Norway, plus certain other indicators,
incidentally, Professors Einstein, Fermi and Oppenheimer concurring,
the scientific and military consensus in America is...
..that the Germans may be ahead of us
in the race to achieve controlled atomic fission.
If they are ahead and they get their atomic bomb, they've won the war.
There you are, Knut. How are you?
Come on in, Mr Straud.
-Come on in. Take a chair.
We've examined the situation very carefully,
and it's been agreed in London and Washington
that the factory making heavy water must be destroyed without delay.
I agree with you, Bill,
that bombing is the most obvious method.
At the same time, we wish if we can to avoid large-scale civilian death.
This is also the wish of the Norwegian Government.
I suggest that Dr Pedersen who knows what's at stake
and Mr Straud who knows his country backwards
be asked to return immediately to Telemark to resolve this question.
That is to determine with objectivity
whether a ground attack by commandos is practical or not.
-Agreed. How do we get back to Norway?
The simplest way. By parachute.
We're miles off course.
But I know where we are.
It's beautiful, isn't it?
Yes, if you're a reindeer.
Where do we go from here?
I'll take you to one of my radio operators.
He's our contact with London.
Over that mountain, farmhouse.
Another one of my operators.
I know THIS place.
Oh, Knut Straud!
-How are you?
Wonderful to see you.
-Good God, what are you doing here?
-Just dropped in for a cup of coffee.
-What is it?
Rolf is here.
-Hello, Rolf. What on earth are you doing here?
Mr Straud, always good to see YOU.
-You know each other too?
-Yes, we've met.
-What a surprise. I had no idea you were all such good friends.
-Listen, we've put you in some danger by coming here.
-We're working for the Resistance.
-You?! You're not serious.
-He got me into it.
-Was that wise, Knut?
You seem to know each other well.
Everybody knows everybody here. Let me introduce you to my ex-wife.
Can we have some coffee now, Anna?
No time for coffee. I'm working for the Resistance.
We both can't be working for the Resistance!
-You look terrible.
-Been dragging me around for two days!
There's some pyjamas in the bedroom upstairs.
I take it you know the way?
Yeah, I know the way.
It's odd, isn't it, to have him in the house again?
What's odd about it? You and he shared the same bed for two years
and you damn seldom got out of it.
You should be asleep.
Oh, I just thought I'd pop in.
All in the line of duty.
To discuss Resistance tactics with a fellow fighter.
By the way, how is your resistance these days?
Fine. How is yours?
Mine? Well, it was great until I met that Boy Scout, Knut Straud.
I was content,
I had a good life.
Now look where I am!
Yes, it's exhausting to commit yourself to others.
Do you still commit yourself beautifully?
Like you always did?
I'm not your wife now, Rolf.
You're not anybody's wife.
Go to bed.
You would like that, wouldn't you?
You mean YOU would?
-You know what you were born for.
You know what you were born for. Tell me.
Say those things to me.
are never out of my head.
You're the same.
You're my love...
Yes, you and I.
You've got the words wrong, Rolf.
You see? It's not so easy.
Seducing your ex-wife.
Students are much easier, aren't they?
I just don't believe in you any more.
We'll make this our transmitter hut. The farm is getting too dangerous.
-I'll make sure Nilssen is at the church this morning.
Uncle, be careful. The town is full of Germans.
Merry Christmas! See you in church.
SING "SILENT NIGHT" IN NORWEGIAN
That's Arne's wife?
I've got a message for you from Arne. He's in England.
-Will you see him again?
Tell him I have a message for him too.
He'll be a father in the spring.
They'll have their 10,000 pounds of heavy water by Easter.
The marker - microfilm of the factory - exact details.
Ammonia and hydrogen pipes.
Do you see how close it is to the village?
Look how near the factory is to their homes.
Look at the rabbit!
Oh, excuse me.
I haven't seen you in Rjukan before.
Who are you?
Well, I've come to visit my fiancee. For Christmas.
I see. Your fiancee. How very charming indeed.
And what is his name?
-I'm asking her.
-Let me see your identity card, please.
Your text, I believe?
Oh, and the compliments of the season to both of you.
-How did you like our town, Rolf?
-Oh, I like it.
-You should have seen the torchlight parades we once had.
It was wonderful - flaming torches. You could see them from miles away.
The snow was whiter then.
Yes, it was all the lights on the snow.
Then we made snowballs and threw them at the torches. Remember, Knut?
A detailed layout of the factory.
They've got 3,000 pounds
of heavy water in there right now ready to be shipped to Germany.
We must decide on what message we send to London.
There's only one message.
Examine the area.
Considered ground attack totally impractical.
Recommend alternative plan.
You mean to bomb it?!
That would destroy Rjukan and everybody in it.
Bombing is impossible. The factory is deeply embedded in a gorge.
The only way across that gorge is a narrow bridge.
Two men with machine guns could hold off a battalion.
I can get inside that factory with ten men and blow it sky-high...
They've guns on every hill.
And without destroying an entire village in the process.
Barbed wire, land mines.
-6,000 lives. Do you...?
-Anna, keep out of this!
We're talking about something that affects the world.
I don't give a damn about the world.
I'm talking about my town, her town, his town.
We live there!
I'm talking about people. Do you understand that?
You weren't squeamish when hostages were being shot.
-This is more important than blowing up a few Nazi trucks.
-I was doing my job!
-And I'm doing mine!
I don't like it
and I didn't ask for it.
Anna, you live here.
It's natural you want to save your own people's lives.
But this is something that has to be done. It's important.
Important enough to kill 6,000 people?
Look, I want to know what's so important about heavy water.
I don't make the rules. I can't tell you.
I want to know and you're going to tell me!
I'm telling you nothing!
Do you think I'll sacrifice the lives of 6,000 people
on the opinion of a playboy scientist? For what?
I want to know, Doctor, and you're going to tell me.
You want to know what it's all about?
All right. I'll tell you.
That's what it's all about.
Of course you don't.
Stop it! Stop it!
I thought you boys were here to fight the Nazis.
Why don't you both send in reports and let London decide?
Knut and I fight, but we still manage to live with each other.
I know you are anxious to get back to Norway.
Straud and Pedersen are waiting for you on the mountains of Telemark.
The main assault group, the Royal Engineers Commando,
will come in two or three days, weather permitting.
We're counting on you to get a glider landing strip
on the lake ready for them.
Happy landings. Best of luck.
We've been halfway round the Arctic Circle!
We've been waiting for your message for the past five weeks! I'm starving!
50 Commandos are coming.
They land tomorrow night.
I've a message for you from Sigrid.
-You're going to have a baby in the spring.
-How is she?
Who are you?
-My name's Jensen.
-What do you want?
-I'm on a hunting trip.
You'd better come with us.
I won't say a word. Ever.
On my honour.
Look, my village is Haukeli.
Anyone there will tell you who I am.
Listen, I hate the Nazis. Believe me.
My wife is in a Gestapo prison.
Listen, her father's name is Jon Trend.
-That's why she's in prison.
-The Resistance leader?
-No, we'll keep him.
-We can't risk the organisation because of one man.
I'm with Knut.
I think Rolf is right.
So do I.
We'll have a show of hands. Those against shooting him?
We'll have your skis. Take them off.
THEY WHISTLE AND SING PATRIOTIC TUNE
ROAR OF AIRCRAFT ENGINES
I still can't believe it.
They weren't even Norwegian.
50 British Commandos.
The whole operation's over.
What a waste.
That's what I can't get out of my head.
They're not going to be wasted. We're going ahead. Tonight. Now!
As if they were with us.
Same plan. We all know it.
-We'll get into that factory and complete the mission ourselves.
Sorry, but you're mad.
There's only nine of us.
-It'll be months before they can mount another assault.
It's our only chance.
If we win, those men won't have died for nothing.
They had 50 men, we only have nine.
-You won't even be nine.
I'm sorry, but I'm not going on such an impossible mission.
Oh, yes, you are, Rolf. You're coming with us.
You're the only one who knows where that dynamite must be placed.
After tonight, that factory will be jumping with guards.
-Listen! Listen to me.
They have completely wiped out our entire assault force, right?
They'll be feeling completely safe.
-You don't have a chance in the world.
-50 men died tonight!
They came here to help US. They weren't even Norwegian.
Now...who's coming with me tonight?
It's ten to 12.
This is a military operation launched by the British.
We have British uniforms so the Nazis won't shoot Norwegians after.
The attack will take place at 3.15.
Arne, you and Henrik will be our cover party.
You'll move forward and cut a hole in the fence.
The demolition party will consist of...
Knut, Oli and myself.
SOLDIERS CHAT IN GERMAN
DISTANT GERMAN VOICES
Be careful with those wires. You'll blow the whole place up.
-Let's get out of here.
My glasses, my glasses! I've lost my glasses!
They're on top of your head!
-What's going to happen to me?
-We'll put you somewhere safe.
ALARM GOES OFF
Auf die Brucke!
Come on, come on.
Well, gentlemen? Your next mission
is to find out how neutral Sweden is. Especially the girls.
Down in the gorge.
Let's get going.
It'll be swarming with Germans in half an hour.
Is it not, my dear Nilssen?
An extraordinary job, one might say, of sabotage.
Naturally, you had no knowledge of this.
Destruction, sabotage, waste.
All this is against your thrifty, scientific nature.
Is it not, Nilssen?
In that case, answer me this.
How long before production gets back into high gear?
A year. New containers must be built,
a new store of heavy water accumulated before production flows.
A year, he says.
What do you think we Germans have been doing? Sleeping?
What do you think your friends from
the Berlin Institute have been doing since they went home? Playing golf?
Oh, the British fancy themselves after what they've done here.
Winston Churchill is puffing an extra big cigar.
And we laugh at him.
Because all these containers which the British did so much to destroy
have already been pre-fabricated in Berlin.
They are already on their way here and will be installed by tomorrow.
I must say that is fantastic efficiency.
Don't ever underrate the Germans.
By Easter, we will have not merely 10,000 pounds of heavy water,
but 12,000 pounds of heavy water.
Because, from now on, no-one leaves this building. Not you or anybody.
Unless it's to go to Grane concentration camp.
I must protest against this.
Protest as much as you wish.
But get used to the idea.
You built this place.
You will now work, eat and sleep in it until our victory.
Major Frick, this is one of the most
disastrous security breakdowns
of the war and you are responsible.
I leave you in charge of the only factory in Europe making heavy water
and a dozen men in British uniforms
calmly walk in and blow it up right in front of your eyes.
So get up into those mountains
and get back every one of those men! Dead or alive.
And if it turns out they're Norwegians, I want
100 hostages rounded up and shot.
I don't want even a rat left alive up there!
Go on, get out!
HE SHOUTS IN GERMAN
You say you can take us to them. You'd better be telling the truth.
You keep your part of the bargain, I'll keep mine.
You were right.
-We should've shot him...
AIRCRAFT ENGINE OVERHEAD
HE SPEAKS OWN LANGUAGE
Knut, go down that side!
What the hell do you mean, "your wife"?
I made a bargain with the Nazis...
-Who are you?
-I was helping track down the saboteurs. I got hurt in
-You'd better come with us.
Teilung, halt! Wegtreten!
Saboteurs - going to Grane concentration camp.
I think I'd better go see my doctor. Thanks for your help.
Hey, wait a minute.
We have a doctor right here and now. Come and see him.
I think I'd rather see my own,
-if it's all the same...
Our doctor will look after you for nothing. Why pay a civilian?
Who is this fellow?
He's helping our patrols.
If he's helping us, we must help him.
-It's only fair, isn't it?
We'd better have that seen to.
I think we've got another passenger for your bus.
You remember me?
No, I don't.
We met at the university, Dr Pedersen.
-You're mistaken, madam.
-You know this man?
No, I thought I did, but...
What did you say his name was?
No, I... Please, I don't know...
His papers say his name is Christiansen.
What did you say his name was?
-My name is Dr Rolf Pedersen, University of Oslo.
Gestapo HQ, no doubt, will be delighted to confirm.
I'm so sorry.
Pedersen, not Pederson. I'm very proud of my name. Let me help you.
Here it is.
"Pedersen, Rolf. Doctor of Physics. Believed escaped to England."
-Even the Gestapo can be wrong sometimes.
How long will it be, Doctor?
I've got to leave here.
Can you hear me, Doctor? I can't stay here long.
I don't know who you are but, if you leave here, you'll be arrested.
So will I and my staff.
You will therefore please stay here until I make the arrangements.
TAPS OUT CODE
Don't use that transmitter set.
I'm trying to contact London. They must know where Rolf is.
I can't risk it.
Why don't you try and find him?
I'm not a member of the Missing Persons Bureau.
I can't jeopardise the whole operation.
I'm a bad ex-wife, Knut.
Why? Because you love him?
Yes. You haven't much use for that, have you?
Not in this sort of war. It softens you up.
But sex... Now that's something different.
It seems Rolf makes the same distinction.
But you don't, do you, Anna?
I'll get some wood.
They're in this area somewhere.
Leave that alone! Not for anyone, you understand?
That transmitter remains silent until I give the order.
Now you see, Anna. That's what I was talking about.
A friend of yours is here. Room seven, down the corridor.
KNOCK AT DOOR
-Hello, Dr Pedersen.
I thought you were locked up in the factory.
We are. Unless we're very ill.
Or having a baby.
-There's something I must tell you...
-Nilssen found out you were here.
Listen to me.
-I've got to tell you about Arne.
The Germans have installed new containers.
Heavy water production is at full level again.
-When can you deliver the message?
-We've got to contact London.
The Nazis have completely restored heavy water production.
-Instead of two years,
it's taken them two weeks. We're back where we started.
Then we'll have to bomb.
ROAR OF AIRCRAFT ENGINES
AIR-RAID SIREN WAILS
I'm afraid we'll have to take his appendix out.
One of our security officers must remain with him day and night.
I shan't be lonely! How are Sigrid and her baby?
Excellent. She's coming today for a check-up.
I'd love to see her.
No-one may communicate with Nilssen, Doctor.
"67 civilians killed,
"factory virtually untouched.
The Third Reich is going to last for 1,000 years.
Let's go down into Rjukan, have a good Nazi dinner,
-see a nice Nazi film...
-Let's start getting used to it.
"The Nazis are shipping their stock
"of heavy water to Germany by rail and ferry, guarded by 1,000 troops.
"The railway tank cars will leave the factory Saturday evening
"and be placed...
"..on the hydro ferry Sunday morning."
-Nilssen lost a good appendix to deliver that message?
Wait a minute.
Maybe now, the very moment we've all dreaded,
when they take the stuff to Germany...
..by ferry, this is where we finally get them.
-But, Rolf, 1,000 troops?
-There's one place you can't use 1,000 troops.
Want to do a little dying with me?
I've thought up a nice way to go.
It left at nine o'clock.
Yes, and it's got to be the deepest point. At least 300-400 metres.
You know what we're talking about?
Yes, we're talking about murder.
Why two clocks?
If one doesn't go off, the other will.
It'll sink the ferry in less than a minute.
It has to be done, Anna.
It's all been calculated, hasn't it, Rolf?
Nothing left to chance?
Not even the hope that
one of the children on that boat isn't going to drown?
Look, Anna, try and get into your head -
what counts is not who's going to die on the ferry,
but the millions who'll be saved if the ferry is sunk.
A nice equation, Rolf. Put it on the blackboard and sign it.
It's not a nice equation and I didn't invent it. It exists.
So do people.
People exist too!
-We're doing this for people!
-You don't do things for people, Rolf!
-You never have!
-Anna, this work is tough enough, even without you.
One day, after the war,
a woman is going to come and ask why her child had to be drowned.
I won't know the answer.
It's as simple as this. We have no choice.
What are you going to say to that woman, Rolf?
We'll radio the Norwegian Government in London,
tell them the plan, all its risks,
the Prime Minister, the King, the whole lot.
Then, if they approve...
..at least we'll have shared the responsibility.
ALARMS GO OFF
HE TURNS ALARM OFF
Let's contact London.
Number One truck reports a contact on 247 degrees.
Contact 73 degrees.
West-southwest, 6km from here.
All right, Heini!
Shut that door, will you?
I'm glad you think so. Stand up!
If we're not back in two hours, don't wait for us.
If you hear any shots, leave immediately.
MURMUR OF CONVERSATION
There is nine minutes left.
-Go on to the boathouse with Knut.
-Where are you going?
I've got to see that that ferry leaves on time, then I'll join you.
The explosion time is 9.45.
We won't make a move until then.
-I'll have to pay.
-Hello, Doctor. What a nice surprise.
-I want you to understand...
I don't think you've met little Arne.
-Sigrid, listen to me...
So you've met a friend?
This is Mr and Mrs Sandersen and their little boy.
-Sigrid, I've got to talk to you.
-Join us over here.
We've brought sandwiches.
-Excuse us, please.
-I'm sorry, Mrs Sandersen.
What's the matter?
I want you to start a children's game at the back of the boat.
-As far back as you can.
Let's call it Life Jackets.
Everybody puts one on when I say go. The winner gets a bar of chocolate.
BABY STARTS CRYING
-Doctor, if you're in some kind of trouble...
-Do as I tell you.
There's not much time.
Let's organise the children now.
Where is Rolf? It's only a couple of minutes!
If he doesn't come on time, we'll have to go without him.
I don't want to play.
Oh, sure you do. You want to play. Sure you do.
Don't forget, the winner gets a bar of chocolate.
Oh, your doll is cold!
Ready, set, go!
Sigrid's on board the ship.
And Rolf. Rolf's there as well.
-I don't want to play!
-You'll play if it's the last thing you ever do!
I've won, I've won, I've won!
SHOUTING AND SCREAMING
Occupied Norway, 1942. A team of resistance fighters undertake the vital and dangerous mission to destroy the Norsk heavy water plant to prevent the Nazis producing an atomic bomb. Based on a true story.