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

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
...
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:

The Balloon Movie  »

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Box Office

Budget:

$10,000,000 (estimated)
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(Technicolor)

Aspect Ratio:

2.35 : 1
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Did You Know?

Trivia

At the time the movie was released, the hot-balloon used in the real-life night crossing was being stored in an "Escape Museum" inside Checkpoint Charlie in West Berlin. See more »

Quotes

Ziegler: Do you think they'll make another attempt?
Major Koerner: They will.
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User Reviews

Gripping drama
31 May 2005 | by (Canada) – See all my reviews

Would we let this happen again? Would we sit by and let our own nations become like the DDR? I hope not, but in Canada, we are letting it happen in small ways. In spite of "freedom of speech", you can't speak against certain politically-favoured minorities, and people like Hans and Mrs. Roseler in the movie will blab on those of us who aren't "politically correct".

I find the movie gripping, suspenseful.

The cast list is missing one first name: Hans. They call their neighbourhood Stasi spy "Hans", but is that Ziegler or Schmolk? The other of them, presumably, is Major Koerner's assistant, the one talking with him at his office where they discuss the investigation. Try as I might, I cannot find a picture of either actor for these two roles.


6 of 11 people found this review helpful.  Was this review helpful to you?

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