‘Narvik’ Ending, Explained: Is It Based On A True Story? What Happened To Gunnar Tofte And His Family?


Based on true events, “Narvik: Hitler’s First Defeat” is about how the Norwegian army, with the help of Great Britain and France, defeated Germany to reoccupy Narvik, albeit for a brief period. The film features a fictionalized Tofte family who struggled to live through amidst this setting. Norway had declared its neutrality during World War II, but it was ignored. The iron ore bought by the Germans from Sweden for making weapons was transported by train to Narvik and shipped out of its port to Germany. Stopping the German ships before they could transport the ore from the port became crucial for Great Britain. They firmly believed that would weaken their enemy. The enemy countries started attacking each other’s ships, and Norway was dragged into the mess. The Norwegian army was poorly armed when the Germans entered their land. Since they were not equipped with high-end machine guns like the Germans, they aimed to defeat them by cutting off the iron ore supply.

Spoilers Ahead

‘Narvik’ Plot Summary: What Is The Film About? 

Corporel Gunnar Tofte looked forward to returning to Narvik to celebrate his son’s birthday. Upon returning, he was told that all the leaves were canceled, and he needed to head to the base. Disheartened, Gunnar tried to convince Major Sigurd Omdal to allow him to return home. He was permitted to leave, but on the condition that he would get back to the base by midnight. Gunnar was elated. He handed over his belongings to his friends and headed home with a gift in his hand. His wife, Ingrid, worked at a hotel as a staff member and translator. She translated the meeting held by the mayor of Narvik for the German representatives. He demanded respect for Norway’s neutral stance from both Germany and Great Britain. While translating the mayor’s speech, Ingrid’s eyes caught a glimpse of her husband. She could not contain her happiness and rushed to the kitchen when the meeting ended. Gunnar and Ingrid were overjoyed to be finally together, and even though he had to leave by midnight, she felt comforted knowing he was going to be around.

Their house was located just beyond the hotel’s backyard, where Gunnar found his little boy spending time with his grandfather. The sight of a toy train cheered little Ole, and his father was pleased to see him return home safe. While Ingrid worked at the hotel, Gunnar helped Ole build a little town for his toy train. After making love, Ingrid and Gunnar woke up to the noise of explosions. Gunnar rushed to the base and learned that the Germans had started to invade the town. The Norwegian soldiers backed off from attacking the German troops at Major Omdal’s command. He refused to engage with them, knowing that it would lead to a massive bloodbath. Instead, he asked his soldiers to follow him to plan an attack that would be effective in driving the Germans out of Narvik.

Meanwhile, Ingrid continued to maintain her calm at her job. She had reasons to hate the Germans, but she continued providing her hospitable service to them. She believed it was her job to cater to the guests of the hotel. While she maintained a pleasant relationship with the Germans, she helped the English representatives escape safely. She could not offer to have them stay at her place, so she instead asked them to hide in the forest cabin. She knew that the Englishmen could help their country defeat Germany, and she wanted to do her part in assisting them. Since the situation was getting out of hand, she decided to escape from Norway with her son. Aslak helped them safely board a train to Sweden. While Gunnar planned to bomb the railway bridge, he was unaware that his own family would be traveling through the Nordal bridge.

‘Narvik’ Ending Explained: How Did the Norwegian Company Defeat the Germans? What Happened to Gunnar and His Family?

The Norwegian company, under the leadership of Major Omdal, intended to destroy the Nordal bridge. The rail line was used to bring iron ore from Sweden to Narvik, and the only way to stop the Germans from occupying Narvik was by destroying the entire link. Gunnar had worked on the Ofoten lines, and he was called upon to find the dynamite located in them. The bridge was built to be blown up, and finding the dynamite was crucial for the success of their plan. He sought Aslak’s help to locate the dynamite, and during their conversation, he informed Gunnar that Ingrid and Ole were traveling in a train that would pass through the bridge. After receiving the information, Gunnar was hesitant to go ahead with the plan. Soon he noticed civilians walking on the bridge, and he found Ingrid and Ole amongst the crowd. He learned that the Germans forced the Norwegians to evacuate the train, and they were compelled to walk the remaining path. Gunnar encouraged Ingrid and Ole to walk through the tunnel to cross the border while he completed the mission. He worked around the bridge to set the dynamite. When the Germans started firing, the dynamite was ignited, but Gunnar did not have time to escape. He hurriedly jumped off the bridge into the snow but was soon captured by the Germans. The soldiers were successful in blowing off the bridge, though Gunnar’s future seemed uncertain.

Ingrid and Ole were directed back to their house by the German soldiers. Ingrid’s ability to speak the language helped her build a friendly relationship with the enemy. She was personally called by Consul Wessow to help him with translation during his discussion with the mayor. The Germans were confident that the English would not set foot in Narvik since they had invaded the land. While the mayor was worried about the fate of his people, the Germans wanted him to continue running the town as usual. After the mayor and the German officials left, Consul Wessow inquired about the reason behind Ingrid’s tense face. She expressed that her husband was involved in bombing the bridge and was captured by the Germans. Wessow promised to have a word with the director to emphasize the importance of Ingrid’s contribution. While Ingrid showed her vulnerability to the Germans, she continued to meet with the English consul. The English consul wanted to use Ingrid’s relationship with the German consul to find out the maps of German artillery positions hidden in the town. They needed it to plan their defense against Germany. Ingrid was caught between the two countries. As a wife and a mother, she only cared about saving her family, and she was ready to win favors on both ends. She noticed the place where the maps were kept, but before she could take any steps, the English bombed the German fleets. She escaped with her family and moved to the secret tunnel with the rest of the town. She later went to the hotel to continue with her duties and asked Consul Wessow about Gunnar. He refused to help her, considering the Germans were under immense pressure after the fleet attack. Ingrid now had even more reasons to risk her life in order to obtain the maps. She got hold of the maps and brought them to the Englishmen. The Englishmen couldn’t thank her enough for her bravery. The town was bombed when she returned home. Her house was completely destroyed. Aslak lost his life in the bombing. Ingrid was relieved when she found her son under the ruin and took him to the tunnel.

Meanwhile, the French and Polish troops attacked from the north and south, weakening the grip of the Germans. Gunnar, with the help of the French troops, managed to murder the Germans who kidnapped him. He was united with his company, though the thought of losing his son made him restless. He was desperate to return to Narvik, to his home, and to his family. Ingrid and Ole now lived in the tunnel. The Germans were aware that someone had helped the English with intelligence, and Wessow was searching for the English consul. He explained that the only way to stop Narvik from destroying the country further was by pushing the English out of it. Ole was injured during the bombing, and his wound had not healed. One night, when Ole’s body temperature was extremely high, and he had stopped responding, Ingrid took him to the hotel to seek help from the German consul. He refused to call the doctor since there were several wounded German soldiers who needed his attention. Desperate to win the consul’s favor, Ingrid disclosed the location of the English consul. Ole was operated on, and his life was saved. In order to save Ole’s life, Ingrid becomes a traitor to her people. Every Norwegian in Narvik looked down upon her.

The French and Norwegian armies proceeded to reclaim Narvik, and Gunnar was assigned the task of destroying the cannon. Even though the Norwegian army was terrified by the Germans’ massive use of machine guns, their major encouraged them to keep fighting. Gunnar found another route to attack the Germans, and it turned out to be a success. The French and Norwegian troops took over the hill and pulled down the Nazi flag. While Gunnar celebrated the win with fellow army men, Consul Wessow informed Ingrid that her husband had passed away. He showed her the list of prisoners of war, and Gunnar’s name was scratched off. The German consul wanted to take Ingrid along with him to Berlin since he knew that his country was preparing to air raid Narvik, but she was too consumed by the news to process his request. She was advised by her colleague Polly to leave Narvik with her son.

Ingrid and Ole went to their ruined home to collect whatever little remained. Ingrid was startled when she saw Gunnar standing at the door. It was the most unexpected reunion, and Gunnar had many doubts to clear. After reaching Narvik, he learns about Ingrid’s betrayal of the nation, and he wants her to explain to him the truth. Ingrid had no remorse for what she did; after all, she did what she had to do to protect her son. She could not let Ole die when she knew there was a way to save him, even if that meant going against the interests of her country. Gunnar looked down at Ingrid just like the rest of the town. The Germans started air raiding the town, and Ingrid decided to leave with her son. Gunnar joined his troop while he watched his family leave. He was moved when Major Omdal asked the soldiers to fight for everything they held dear. Watching his family leave, Gunnar had lost all motivation to fight anymore. The English had left, the French were heading to defend their country, and the Norwegian army was left alone to defend themselves. Gunnar did not care about heroism; all he wanted was to be with his family. He headed to the ferry and joined his family as they left the country.

What Is the Significance Of The Event? What Really Happened In Narvik In 1940?

Norway’s strategic geographic location piqued the interest of both Great Britain and Germany. They pressured Norway’s strict neutrality and aimed at invading the land. Germany and Britain headed to Norway to occupy it, but Germany managed to get there first. Because Narvik was a port town and the primary outlet for Swedish ore, controlling it became critical. While the Germans were successful on land, the British Naval Force took command at sea. The Norwegian troops further posed a danger to the Germans as they destroyed the Nordal bridge. But even after all the setbacks, the Germans held on. The British and French troops retracted since the events in France gained precedence. On June 8th, 1940, the Norwegian army was forced to lay down their weapons. The English and the French withdrew from Narvik without consulting the Norwegian government. The war of Narvik is considered Hitler’s first defeat, even though it was for a brief period of time.

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Srijoni Rudra
Srijoni Rudra
Srijoni has worked as a film researcher on a government-sponsored project and is currently employed as a film studies teacher at a private institute. She holds a Master of Arts degree in Film Studies. Film History and feminist reading of cinema are her areas of interest.

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