The Search (1948)

Passed  |   |  Adventure, Drama, War  |  26 March 1948 (USA)
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Ratings: 7.9/10 from 2,650 users  
Reviews: 58 user | 15 critic

In the Post-War Berlin, an American private helps a lost Czech boy to find his mother.



(screen play), (collaborator: on screen play), 5 more credits »
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Won 1 Oscar. Another 6 wins & 5 nominations. See more awards »
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Complete credited cast:
Aline MacMahon ...
Jarmila Novotna ...
Mary Patton ...
Ewart G. Morrison ...
William Rogers ...
Ivan Jandl ...
Leopold Borkowski ...
Claude Gambier ...
Raoul Dubois


A silent nine-year-old Czech boy, a survivor of Auschwitz, flees a refugee center in postwar Germany and is found by an American G.I. At the same time, the boy's mother, the sole surviving member of his family, searches refugee centers for her son. Time, distance, and the massive numbers of refugee children are factors hampering the reunion of mother and son. Written by Martin H. Booda <>

Plot Summary | Add Synopsis


Everybody agrees MGM's The Search is a wonderful motion picture !


Adventure | Drama | War


Passed | See all certifications »





| | | | |

Release Date:

26 March 1948 (USA)  »

Also Known As:

Die Gezeichneten  »

Filming Locations:


Company Credits

Production Co:

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Technical Specs


Sound Mix:

Aspect Ratio:

1.37 : 1
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Did You Know?


Ben Mankiewicz on TCM indicated that Ivan Jandl spoke no English at the time this film was made and that his English dialogue was phonetically memorized. See more »


The army jeep that Steve (Montgomery Clift) is in suddenly changes to a different jeep when he brings Karel back to the Army house. Notice the appearance of large decal lettering in the passenger side window, in addition to other minor differences. See more »


[Steve is teaching a young boy, whose name he does not know but has coined Jim, to speak English]
Ralph 'Steve' Stevenson: [to Jim] You have no idea how useful it's going to be for you to know English. You can go where ever you like. Everybody knows what 'OK' means. You can use English all over the world. Not, not just America: Canada, Africa, Australia, India. Even in England, they understand English... well, sort of.
See more »


Remade as The Search (2014) See more »


Hineh Ma Tov
Lyrics from Psalm 133
Sung by the Jewish children to the tune of "Battle Hymn of the Republic" music by William Steffe (ca 1856)
See more »

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User Reviews

Touching story of WWII's forgotten victims
29 January 2009 | by (Greensboro, NC) – See all my reviews

I love the old WWII movies and how they portray what life was like for the men and women who served - and what it was like for the families etc. But of all the ones I've seen, I don't think I've seen a single one that highlighted the plight of the children. I'm glad this one chose to bring this sad effect of war to the public in this film.

The movie starts more like a documentary with a female narrator telling part of the story. At times the narration is a little annoying. But most of the rest of the film unfolds naturally without the narration. The film is a heartbreaking tale of the orphaned children of the war. They have nowhere to go and are shuttled from orphanages to resettlement centers. I was so shocked when I first saw the children - they looked so emaciated and dirty. They all seemed to have shell-shocked expressions on their faces. I think the director (Fred Zinneman)did a great job of casting and going for a realistic portrayal and not trying to gloss over the true realities. Being of Austrian Jewish heritage, the story no doubt hit close to home for him.

The actual location shooting in bombed out cities of Germany was also quite stark and realistic. I'm glad they chose not to try to replicate the devastation in a studio. Being filmed in 1948, 3 years after the end of the war - I was shocked to see how much destruction was still evident, with huge piles of rubble laying around. The cities looked deserted.

This was one of Montgomery Clift's first films. He doesn't appear until 36 minutes into film. He delivers a fine performance given his inexperience (although he was experienced on the stage). He is still in possession of his youthful good looks which deteriorated later. Too bad he lived such a young, tragic life as he was quite a natural talent. The young boy is quite a good actor for his age and manages to express his desperation through his body language and action since he doesn't speak for almost 2/3's of the film.

There are many memorable and shocking scenes: the drowning of one of the children, the young boy searching through a crowd of women for his mom, several scenes of his wild and desperate attempts to escape at all costs, and the hordes of children exiting from the train as they arrive at the settlement center. Many of these scenes are some I will never forget.

I'm shocked so few people have seen this (given only 37 comments and 1000+votes on IMDb at this time). I highly recommend this film if you are interested in movies about the sad effects of war.

13 of 13 people found this review helpful.  Was this review helpful to you?

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