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Night Crossing (1982)

6.4
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Ratings: 6.4/10 from 751 users  
Reviews: 13 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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Title: Night Crossing (1982)

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Cast

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 ...
Schmolk
Günter Meisner ...
Major Koerner
...
Ziegler (as Sky Dumont)
...
Lt. Fehler
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Storyline

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

Taglines:

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.


Certificate:

PG | See all certifications »
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Details

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Release Date:

5 February 1982 (USA)  »

Also Known As:

Flykt i natten  »

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Did You Know?

Trivia

The vehicle license plates used the East German numbering system but were printed on West German plate blanks from West German DIN-standard dies. The plates were only issued for a very short time after the German reunification, As such, this caused an unintentional historical inaccuracy and anachronism. See more »

Quotes

Peter Strelzyk: I know the S.S.D. was on its way. We still haven't got the material. Yesterday five yards, today nothing.
Doris Strelzyk: Could you make the balloon smaller?
Peter Strelzyk: Yes we could. But, it wouldn't carry eight people.
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User Reviews

Entertaining but slight Cold War drama
11 April 1999 | by (Chicago, Illinois) – See all my reviews

Few surprises from Disney in the tale of two East German families who escape to the West in a homemade hot air balloon. Director Delbert Mann gives sometimes slack pacing to what could have been a taut thriller, and the dialog is at times stilted. Still, the players give fine readings of what they have to work with, excepting possibly Doug McKeon (familiar as On Golden Pond's recalcitrant teen), whose performance smacks more of the San Fernando Valley than Saxony. Mann doesn't skimp on East Bloc clichés like spying neighbors and a scarcity of fresh produce, but it is frighteningly effective when the police start throwing their totalitarian weight around. Of course, the movies are full of mean, authoritarian Germans who, regardless of their ideological leaning, dress neatly and shout orders in heavily accented English; Günter Meisner, who plays the chief communist baddie, gave much the same performance in The Winds of War miniseries as a famous anticommunist, Hitler. Still, even if a lot of this is B-grade stuff, the flight sequences are beautifully filmed, with the usual Disney flair. This also is interesting as one of a series of adult-themed films Disney produced in the late 70s and early 80s (The Devil and Max Devlin, The Watcher in the Woods), as the studio struggled to define itself in the post-post-Walt (but pre-Michael Eisner) years.


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