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
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.
Did You Know?
The Walt Disney studio flew in to the shoot the two real-life families who made the night crossing to meet the actors and actresses who were portraying them in this movie. See more
I know the S.S.D. was on its way. We still haven't got the material. Yesterday five yards, today nothing.
Could you make the balloon smaller?
Yes we could. But, it wouldn't carry eight people.