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Night Crossing (1982)

PG  |   |  Drama, Family, History  |  5 February 1982 (USA)
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Ratings: 6.4/10 from 852 users  
Reviews: 14 user | 4 critic

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.



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Cast overview, first billed only:
Peter Strelzyk
Doris Strelzyk
Frank Strelzyk
Keith McKeon ...
Fitscher Strelzyk
Günter Wetzel
Petra Wetzel
Geoffrey Liesik ...
'Little' Peter Wetzel
Michael Liesik ...
Andreas Wetzel
Josef Keller
Anne Stallybrass ...
Magda Keller
Matthew Taylor ...
Lukas Keller
Klaus Löwitsch ...
Günter Meisner ...
Major Koerner
Ziegler (as Sky Dumont)
Lt. Fehler


In 1978 in East Germany two families, the Strelzyks and the Wetzels,make plans to escape the Communist East and flee to the West. Peter Strelzyk comes up with a daring idea to construct a homemade air balloon big enough to carry the two families across the East-West militarized border. The border between East and West Germany is heavily militarized, complete with watch towers, guard dogs, barbed-wire, alarms, sensors, search lights and patrols. Rumors have it that some areas of the militarized border are mined. The only chance of crossing the border is by air. The Strelzyks and the Wetzels commence their risky venture by purchasing lots of taffeta fabric and sewing it together with a sewing machine in the attic. Peter Strelzyk builds an experimental homemade hot air balloon burner. In 1979 when the balloon is ready Peter and his son test it but the Wetzel family becomes hesitant. The Strelzyks decide to go alone but bad weather causes the balloon to crash inside the Communist zone. ... Written by nufs68

Plot Summary | Add Synopsis


The East German border: 836 miles of barbed wire walls, automated machine guns, armed guards, and deadly land mines. On September 15, 1979 two families tried to cross it.


PG | See all certifications »


Official Sites:



Release Date:

5 February 1982 (USA)  »

Also Known As:

Dramática Travessia  »

Company Credits

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Technical Specs


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Did You Know?


This film was made and released about three years after the real life true story events of an escape by two families by hot air balloon from East Germany to West Germany took place in 1979. See more »


Günter Wetzel: People have always laughed at the great ideas.
Doris Strelzyk: You want us to climb into a balloon and float away to West Germany?
Petra Wetzel: Come on. It isn't funny to make jokes about going to the West.
Doris Strelzyk: They're not joking.
See more »

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User Reviews

Mann's film makes us realize the true value of freedom...

'Night Crossing' is about an enormous barrier designed not to keep enemies out but to keep its own people in…

'Night Crossing' is about a very long border fencer equipped with silent alarms and automatic firing systems…

'Night Crossing' is about the denial of the basic human rights of life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness…

'Night Crossing' is about the fear and pain that afflict so many families…

'Night Crossing' is about one attempt to risk a crossing through the border zone…

'Night Crossing' is about a loving father whose only desire is to give his boys what should never have been taken away from them…

'Night Crossing' is about a disturbed mother who wants her babies and her husband alive…

'Night Crossing' is about a caring husband who wants his family to be together but in a better place…

'Night Crossing' is about children who want to be free to reach at anytime the sky…

'Night Crossing' is about a hot-air balloon handcrafted and built by two families…

'Night Crossing' is about a balloon which could go just high enough to crash or catch fire and explode…

'Night Crossing' is about two determined men who want their family to climb into a hot air balloon and float away to 'liberty'…

'Night Crossing' is about the fear of getting caught by an evil regime…

'Night Crossing' is about a sensible man who can't let bad dreams stop him…

'Night Crossing' is about an icy policeman who wants every lookout tower on full alert…

With exquisite music by Jerry Goldsmith, Delbert Mann's 'Night Crossing' makes us realize the true value of freedom…

Final thoughts:

There are a few moments in everyone's life, certainly in public lives, that can define a person...

For those of us old enough to remember the Reagan presidency, seeing the clips again in the wake of his death makes it seem like those events happened just yesterday, or last week. The voice, the expressions, are all so familiar. But for a large percentage of people, these events might as well have happened fifty years ago, if not more. They are part of the distant past. President Reagan is a name, and not much more. President Gorbachev is another name, and not much more. So how can we remember these two men who had such a huge impact on their country?

Reagan and Gorbachev worked together to tear down the Berlin Wall and to steer their superpower nations away from nuclear confrontation…

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