Great Norwegian War Movie on Netflix
I’ve always had an interest in Norwegian military affairs, and for a long time, one of my best friends was a former Cold War-era Norwegian Army vet who had a love of vintage German small arms– because by and large his unit had been equipped with second-hand Mausers, MP40s and MG42s captured in 1945.
If you have watched the European TV series Occupied (Norwegian: Okkupert) on Netflix, a three-season political thriller based on an EU-sanctioned Russian “silk glove” occupation of the country in the near future sparked by a quisling newly-elected environmentally-friendly Norwegian government, then you know the work of writer and director, Erik Skjoldbjærg, whose new film Narvik just hit the streaming service last week.
The movie focuses on the brutal two-month battle for the small Barents Sea port town of Narvik, one that started (sans declaration of war) on 9 April 1940 with a German counsel and “tourists” who got very tactical as the Kriegsmarine forced its way into the sleepy harbor and sunk the two 40-year-old 4,000-foot coastal cruisers Eidsvold and Norge, the first torpedoed before she could fire her guns and the second sent to the bottom by German destroyers in minutes. The rapid occupation as local Norwegian reservists fell back was soon upended by an Allied intervention after the Royal Navy slaughtered the German tin cans, and the combined Allied force briefly reoccupied the town in a battle that lasted until June, the last place part of Norway to fall.
It was truly a world war with combatants drawn from around the globe. While most of the German paratroopers and shipwrecked sailors were from Old Germany, the bulk of the Reich’s land troops were Austrian Gebirgsjäger mountain troops. Meanwhile, in addition to the local Norwegians, the Allied force included two battalions from the French Foreign Legion– men from 60 countries– four Free Polish battalions fighting in French uniforms, and assorted British troops.
The largest battle ever fought on Norwegian soil, the movie is primarily from the domestic point of view, told from the story of a fictional young Army reservist and his wife who is left behind to contend (and resist) against the initial German occupation. While in Norwegian, it is also available on Netflix with either English subtitles or an English overdub.
If you have a couple of hours, it is well worth your time.