The East German border: 836 miles of barbed wire walls, automated machine guns, armed guards, and deadly land mines. Two men want to escape from East Germany (under Communist rule) but they will only go if they can take their families with them. Based on a true story. |
John Hurt ... Peter Strelzyk
Jane Alexander ... Doris Strelzyk
Doug McKeon ... Frank Strelzyk
Keith McKeon ... Fitscher Strelzyk
Beau Bridges ... Guenter Wetzel
Glynnis O'Connor ... Petra Wetzel
Geoffrey Liesik ... 'Little' Peter Wetzel
Michael Liesik ... Andreas Wetzel
Ian Bannen ... Josef Keller
Anne Stallybrass ... Magda Keller
Matthew Taylor ... Lukas Keller
Klaus Löwitsch ... Schmolk
Günter Meisner ... Major Koerner
A real surprise. Not exactly family entertainment from "Disney". Some violence, lots of tense moments, and a great story, based on fact. The theme of "Night Crossing" is, determination wins. Never losing sight of their objective, two East German families risk it all, in their daring balloon escape to freedom. The story is both harrowing and heartwarming. Time is not on their side. The East German Police are closing in and the outcome far from certain, until the very end. If you are looking for a good evenings entertainment, that contains no nudity, and limited violence, then I highly recommend "Night Crossing". It is pure entertainment
This movie accurately portrays the struggle life was for the typical East German. Watched by the secret police, friends and coworkers, most easterners simply existed.
The Strelzyk's and the Wetzel's were two families that decided they weren't going to take it anymore.
Despite the extreme danger involved in escaping to the West, they feel the rewards far outweighed the risks. John Hurt and Beau Bridges, portraying the respective family heads hit upon the idea of flying over East Germany's heavily fortified border.
There are tense moments as they gather and jimmy-rig the necessary materials for the flight. They work their day jobs and construct the balloon at night, right under the noses of the authorities, one of whom is Strelzyk's neighbor (Klaus Loewitsch).
The first attempt, involving only the Strelzyks, ends in failure when the balloon crashes just a few yards from the border. The crashed balloon is discovered by border guards and an relentless search begins for the conspirators who are determined to try again. With sales of materials being closely monitored Peter and Guenter still manage to procure bits and pieces of cloth with which to construct a second balloon for their nail biting escape to freedom. The film also features a heartwarming and effective soundtrack by Jerry Goldsmith.
I grew up outside of Naila Germany(where they landed),every detail of the film was 100% authentic,the power lines that they flew over,the nosy neighbors,the grandmother telling the kids that they cant watch west German TV,etc..This movie brings back lots of good memories to those that are European,a great production from Disney...The same movie in German has Klaus Lowitsch and Gunter Meisner using their own voices for translating the English version into German...for the German version they also use Cookoo birds ,a bird that is native to Germany as background noise to let you know that you are in Germany..I showed this move to many of my German relative and they really liked this movie.
I was surprised as I watched this movie, how much it had 'encaptured' me. No the actors didn't act like typical 'Hollywood' actors, but that's not always bad either, as this film proves. Quite different from the Disney standard, it is a refreshing turn none-the-less! They also give you a taste of what it was probably like without being 'educational'. A movie everyone should both see and enjoy. Many people love arguing over 'accuracies' in any movie of this type, but just getting the basic idea has plenty to offer. Mild gripe; East and West Germany, viewed on any map, would have West Germany on the left side, East to the right. The movie at times, sets you back slightly, because about half of the scenes have West Germany on the right side of the screen, and other times on the left side. Even during the same events, they shift back and forth. Perhaps, just a little more consistency would have avoided this mild distraction. Go See It!