Kampen om Tungtvannet (1948)


Operation Swallow: The Battle for Heavy Water (original title: Kampen om tungtvannet, French title: La Bataille de l’eau lourde) is a Norwegian-French film from 1948.


The history is based on the best known commando raid in Norway during World War II, where the resistance group Norwegian Independent Company 1 destroyed the heavy water plant at Vemork in Telemark in February 1943.

The film is basically a reconstruction of real events, a docudrama, with many of the participants playing themselves in the film. It was filmed on location in Norway.


  • Jens-Anton Poulsson as himself.
  • Johannes Eckhoff.
  • Arne Kjelstrup as himself.
  • Claus Helberg as himself.
  • Claus Wiese as Joachim Rønneberg.
  • Henki Kolstad as Einar Skinnarland.
  • Knut Haukelid as himself.
  • Fredrik Kayser as himself.
  • Hans Storhaug as himself.
  • Torstein Skinnarland as himself, the dam keeper.
  • Rolf Sørlie as himself.
  • Knut Lier-Hansen as himself.
  • David Knudsen.
  • Harald Schwenzen.
  • Raoul Dautry.
  • Frédéric Joliot-Curie.
  • Lew Kowarski.
  • Sigrid Gurie.


It was the second most popular film at the French box office in 1948.

Other Versions

  • The 1965 British film The Heroes of Telemark, starring Kirk Douglas and Richard Harris, was another version of the story.
  • Ray Mears presented a documentary called The Real Heroes of Telemark in 2003.
    • Despite mainly sticking to the factual evidence, some scenes in the documentary were partly dramatised, focusing on the survival skills involved in the operation.
  • Kampen om Tungtvannet is a 2015 mini-series based on the events.

Production & Filming Details

  • Director(s):
    • Jean Dréville.
    • Titus Vibe-Müller.
  • Producer(s):
    • Nino Constantini … producer.
    • Arild Feldborg … producer (as A. Feldborg).
  • Writer(s):
    • Jean Marin … (scenario and adaptation).
    • Arild Feldborg … (collaboration).
    • Diana Robertson … (collaboration).
    • Knut Haukelid … (military advisor).
    • Jens A. Poulsson … (military advisor).
    • Pierre Laroche … (commentary).
    • Haakon Bugge Mahrt … (commentaries) (uncredited).
  • Music:
    • Gunnar Sønstevold.
  • Cinematography:
    • Hilding Bladh.
    • Marcel Weiss.
  • Editor(s):
    • Jean Feyte.
    • Titus Vibe-Müller.
  • Production:
    • Hero Film.
    • Trident.
  • Distributor(s):
    • Filmsonor (1948) (France) (theatrical).
    • Fotorama (1948) (Norway) (theatrical).
    • Fotorama (1952) (Norway) (theatrical) (re-release).
    • Fotorama (1961) (Norway) (theatrical) (re-release).
    • Statens Filmsentral (1990) (Norway) (VHS).
  • Release Date: 05 February 1948 (Norway) and 13 February 1948 (France).
  • Running Time: 98 minutes.
  • Rating: Unknown.
  • Country: Norway and France.
  • Language: Norwegian.

Video Link

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