The Big Lift (1950)

 |  Drama, War  |  26 April 1950 (USA)
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Ratings: 6.6/10 from 970 users  
Reviews: 28 user | 4 critic

Experiences of two Air Force sergeants during the 1948 Berlin Airlift.



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Nominated for 1 Golden Globe. See more awards »



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Cast overview, first billed only:
MSgt. Henry 'Hank' Kowalski
Cornell Borchers ...
Frederica Burkhardt
Bruni Löbel ...
O.E. Hasse ...
Dante V. Morel ...
Dante V. Morel (as Capt. Dante V. Morel)
John R. Mason ...
John R. Mason (as Capt. John R. Mason)
Gail R. Plush ...
Gail R. Plush (as Capt. Gail R. Plush)
Mack Blevins ...
Mack Blevins (as Capt. Mack Blevins)
William A. Stewart ...
William A. Stewart (as Capt. William A. Stewart)
Alfred L. Freiburger ...
Alfred L. Freiburger (as 1st Lt. Alfred L. Freiburger)
Gerald Arons ...
Gerald Arons (as 1st Lt. Gerald Arons)
James Wilson ...
James Wilson (as 1st Lt. James Wilson)
Richard A. Kellogg ...
Richard A. Kellogg (as 1st Lt. Richard A. Kellogg)
Roy R. Steele ...
Roy R. Steele (as 1st Lt. Roy R. Steele)


In 1948, the Soviet Union blockades the Allied sectors of Berlin to bring the entire city under their control. A semi-documentary about the resulting Berlin Airlift gives way to stories of two fictitious U.S. Air Force participants: Sgt. Hank Kowalski, whose hatred of Germans proves resistant to change, and Sgt. Danny McCullough, whose pursuit of an attractive German war widow gives him a crash course in the seamy side of occupied Berlin. Written by Rod Crawford <>

Plot Summary | Plot Synopsis


From the Ruins came Hope and Despair


Drama | War


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Release Date:

26 April 1950 (USA)  »

Also Known As:

Es begann mit einem Kuß  »

Company Credits

Show detailed on  »

Technical Specs


Sound Mix:

(Western Electric Recording)|

Aspect Ratio:

1.37 : 1
See  »

Did You Know?


Associated Press correspondent Richard O'Malley and ABC News correspondent Lyford Moore play themselves. See more »


Alfred L. Freiburger: [speaking into radio mike] 37, roger.
[to cockpit crew]
Alfred L. Freiburger: We'll use the new runway.
William A. Stewart: I hear it's a bowling alley with lights.
Alfred L. Freiburger: [reading check list] Heater switches, off.
William A. Stewart: Off.
Alfred L. Freiburger: Booster switches, high.
Sgt. 1st Class Danny MacCullough: High.
Alfred L. Freiburger: Fingers crossed.
Sgt. 1st Class Danny MacCullough: [with the others, in unison and crossing fingers] Crossed!
See more »

Crazy Credits

At the end of the movie, the "Hollywood" stars (Clift, Douglas etc.), are not credited, however a panoramic coda does credit the principle military service members who portrayed themselves in the film. It shows them standing at attention in front of a C-54, with their names and ranks scrolling across. See more »


Referenced in Woman on the Run (1950) See more »


Chattanooga Choo Choo
Music by Harry Warren
Lyrics by Mack Gordon
German lyrics by Carl Ulrich Blecher
Played and sung in German by the band at the nightclub
See more »

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User Reviews

Unusual view of bombed Berlin
23 January 2007 | by (London, england) – See all my reviews

To say that a film is dated because it was shot on location in 1950 (which, I suppose, is history for most of us now) is pretty inadequate. If anything makes this film still interesting it is BECAUSE it was shot on location in 1950. As a young German who only knows a wealthy comfortable democratic Germany I find the very setting the most intriguing, as is the case with the more serious "Germania anno Zero" by Rosselini. The film has its values, however, but is, admittedly, more on the entertaining side. Nice to spot later Haimatfilm and TV favourites in a Hollywood production. If you like Berlin and don't mind an "old" look, watch Billy Wilder's "One, Two, Three", shot 10 years later. To me as funny as "Some Like it Hot", and that means VERY funny.

7 of 9 people found this review helpful.  Was this review helpful to you?

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