29 user 5 critic

The Big Lift (1950)

Approved | | Drama, War | 20 July 1950 (UK)
Experiences of two Air Force sergeants during the 1948 Berlin Airlift.


George Seaton


George Seaton

Watch Now

With Prime Video

Nominated for 1 Golden Globe. See more awards »


Learn more

More Like This 

L'espion (1966)
Drama | Thriller
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 5.8/10 X  

Montgomery Cliff (in his last role) plays James Bower, an American physicist visiting West Germany who's recruited by a shady CIA agent, named Adam, to help them with the defection of a ... See full summary »

Director: Raoul Lévy
Stars: Montgomery Clift, Hardy Krüger, Macha Méril
Lonelyhearts (1958)
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 6.7/10 X  

Eager to land a journalistic position, Adam White goes to work as an advice-giving newspaper columnist. His editor, Shrike, takes pleasure in browbeating his alcoholic wife Florence for her... See full summary »

Director: Vincent J. Donehue
Stars: Montgomery Clift, Myrna Loy, Robert Ryan
The Search (1948)
Certificate: Passed Drama | War
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.9/10 X  

In post-war Berlin, an American private helps a lost Czech boy find his mother.

Director: Fred Zinnemann
Stars: Montgomery Clift, Ivan Jandl, Aline MacMahon
Drama | Romance | War
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 6.4/10 X  

A graduating poet/teacher falls in love with a Southern woman, and then the Civil War and her past create problems.

Director: Edward Dmytryk
Stars: Montgomery Clift, Elizabeth Taylor, Eva Marie Saint
Drama | Romance
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 6.3/10 X  

Prior to leaving by train for Paris, a married American woman tries to break off her affair with a young Italian in Rome's Stazione Termini.

Director: Vittorio De Sica
Stars: Jennifer Jones, Montgomery Clift, Gino Cervi
Wild River (1960)
Drama | History | Romance
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.7/10 X  

A TVA bureaucrat comes to the river to do what none of his predecessors have been able to do - evict a stubborn octogenarian from her island before the rising waters engulf her.

Director: Elia Kazan
Stars: Montgomery Clift, Lee Remick, Jo Van Fleet
Action | Drama | War
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.3/10 X  

WW2 drama that follows the lives of three young men, one German and two Americans, during wartime.

Director: Edward Dmytryk
Stars: Marlon Brando, Montgomery Clift, Dean Martin
I Confess (1953)
Crime | Drama | Thriller
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.3/10 X  

A priest who comes under suspicion for murder cannot clear his name without breaking the seal of the confessional.

Director: Alfred Hitchcock
Stars: Montgomery Clift, Anne Baxter, Karl Malden
Comedy | Romance
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 6.4/10 X  

At a Mayor's convention in San Francisco, California, ex-longshoreman Steve Fisk meets Clarissa Standish from New England. Fisk is Mayor of Puget City, and is proud of his rough and tumble ... See full summary »

Director: George Sidney
Stars: Clark Gable, Loretta Young, Frank Morgan
Drama | War
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.3/10 X  

After two years under German rule, a small Norwegian fishing village rises up and revolts against the occupying Nazis.

Director: Lewis Milestone
Stars: Errol Flynn, Ann Sheridan, Walter Huston
Drama | Mystery | Thriller
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.6/10 X  

The only son of wealthy widow Violet Venable dies while on vacation with his cousin Catherine. What the girl saw was so horrible that she went insane; now Mrs. Venable wants Catherine lobotomized to cover up the truth.

Director: Joseph L. Mankiewicz
Stars: Elizabeth Taylor, Katharine Hepburn, Montgomery Clift
Comedy | Drama
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 5.9/10 X  

A young lawyer, encounters problems while relocating his family.

Director: Mitchell Leisen
Stars: Glenn Ford, Ruth Roman, Denise Darcel


Cast overview, first billed only:
Montgomery Clift ... Danny MacCullough
Paul Douglas ... Hank Kowalski
Cornell Borchers ... Frederica Burkhardt
Bruni Löbel ... Gerda
O.E. Hasse ... Stieber (as O. E. Hasse)
Dante V. Morel Dante V. Morel ... Dante V. Morel (as Capt. Dante V. Morel)
John R. Mason John R. Mason ... John R. Mason (as Capt. John R. Mason)
Gail R. Plush Gail R. Plush ... Gail R. Plush (as Capt. Gail R. Plush)
Mack Blevins Mack Blevins ... Mack Blevins (as Capt. Mack Blevins)
William A. Stewart William A. Stewart ... William A. Stewart (as Capt. William A. Stewart)
Alfred L. Freiburger Alfred L. Freiburger ... Alfred L. Freiburger (as 1st Lt. Alfred L. Freiburger)
Gerald Arons Gerald Arons ... Gerald Arons (as 1st Lt. Gerald Arons)
James Wilson James Wilson ... James Wilson (as 1st Lt. James Wilson)
Richard A. Kellogg Richard A. Kellogg ... Richard A. Kellogg (as 1st Lt. Richard A. Kellogg)
Roy R. Steele 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 <puffinus@u.washington.edu>

Plot Summary | Plot Synopsis


From the Ruins came Hope and Despair


Drama | War


Approved | See all certifications »





English | German

Release Date:

20 July 1950 (UK) See more »

Also Known As:

Es begann mit einem Kuß See more »

Filming Locations:

Burbank, California, USA See more »


Box Office

Gross USA:

$1,300,000, 31 December 1950
See more on IMDbPro »

Company Credits

Production Co:

Twentieth Century Fox See more »
Show more on IMDbPro »

Technical Specs


Sound Mix:

Mono (Western Electric Recording)

Aspect Ratio:

1.37 : 1
See full technical specs »

Did You Know?


All the US officers appearing in the movie kept their actual rank except one, John R. Mason, who was "demoted" to the rank of sergeant for the story. See more »


When the airmen are leaving Hickam Air Force Base, Hawaii, they take off in the dark; however, when they see Diamond Head below, it's broad daylight. See more »


Alfred L. Freiburger: [as they march between the honor guard toward the welcome ceremony] Fix your hat.
Sgt. 1st Class Danny MacCullough: I feel just as if you and I were getting married, lieutenant.
See more »

Crazy Credits

Opening credits prologue: This picture was made in occupied Germany. All scenes were photographed in the exact locale associated with the story, including episodes in the American, French, British and Russian sectors of Berlin.

With the exception of Montgomery Clift and Paul Douglas, all military personnel appearing in this film are actual members of the U.S. Armed Forces on duty in Germany. See more »


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


Aloha Oe
Music by Queen Liliuokalani
Played when leaving Honolulu
See more »

Frequently Asked Questions

This FAQ is empty. Add the first question.

User Reviews

A good movie, propaganda film, and bit of real history.
21 March 2006 | by densculSee all my reviews

First of all, this is an entertaining movie with two great actors, Montgomery Clift and Paul Douglas. It could have been a trite "boys away from home" movie, but it doesn't end up that way. The good looking guy, doesn't get the girl, and almost gets taken for a chump. Paul Douglas keeps his girl despite his original hatred for Germans and everything German. Douglas decides to teach her about Democracy, only to find that he creates a new democrat, who expects Douglas to treat her with the respect due to any human, whether former enemy or not. I thought this was one of the best "messages" in this movie. Practicing what one preaches is usually the more difficult task. There some other messages that probably had support from the military. Many lonely soldiers were falling victim to unscruplous persons who only wanted a ticket out of war ravished Germany via marriage vows. The government's "red tape" was there for a good reason.

This movie was made in 1950, and has some relevant aspects that apply to our country in 2006. Our country went to war on Dec 7, 1941 against Japan but we spent most of our resources and time fighting Germany which was considered the more serious enemy. Does this have a current similarity today? In 1941, the enemy was military and political totalitarianism. The Soviet Union was a totalitarian system also, but when it was attacked by the Nazi's, we formed devil's pact as military allies. War and national defense means cooperating with people and nations that do not share our beliefs or traditions. It also means that many innocent people are going to get killed. In order to get to Berlin, we invaded France and killed a of innocent Frenchmen including children.

Once the shooting war was over in 1945, our former ally, Soviet Russia reneged on pre-war promises and took over most of Central and Eastern Europe for almost 50 years, and our troops still remain in Europe today. Berlin was the physical heart of the cold war, and the Berlin Wall was its most visible sign.

There were many reasons to leave Berlin to the Soviets. We had just fought a terrible war against Germany, and thought we had won a victory. Many thought we had no reason to help our former enemy who seem ready to fall prey from one intolerant system to another.

This movie obviously was made with the idea that it was a good thing to save our former enemies from the Soviets. Good for us, as well as them.

This movie shows a real sketch of the devastation and deprivations of Berliners. Starving children did not start the war, but now they were being victimized by the political motivations of the Soviets, who reneged on their pre-war agreements. They wanted the US out of Berlin. This movie shows the men and the machines that saved Berlin from complete Soviet domination. The cold war lasted in Germany for almost 50 years. Those who expect miracles in Iraq today, should keep this recent history in mind. Had the US decided to bug out of Berlin, the history of Germany and Europe would be much different. Without a productive and prosperous Western Europe, the freedom enjoyed now by Central and Eastern Europe might not have been possible.

Creative people generally do not like the restrictions placed on them by Government. I can understand a writer, artist or actor who hates restrictions. Which makes me constantly curious as to how so many people in the entertainment industry failed to see the Soviet's and their form of Communism for what it really was.

This movie touches on our imperfections too. We fought the Germans in the name of freedom for all, with a segregated military. We were, and we are and remain an imperfect democracy, but our system was and remains light years ahead of others in granting artistic and journalistic freedoms.

What was true 50 years ago unfortunately remains a problem today. We live with another demon just as evil as the Nazi ideology. The muslem ideology that does not tolerate any other beliefs is a threat to our existence as a free nation and people. I have lived long enough to know that tolerance is a goal, not a reality. I have also lived long enough to know which countries, and which political systems preach and try to practice tolerance. This movie is an accurate reflection of the times and troubles of a divided Berlin and the men who eventually saved it from tyranny.

17 of 28 people found this review helpful.  Was this review helpful to you? | Report this
Review this title | See all 29 user reviews »

Contribute to This Page

Stream Popular Action and Adventure Titles With Prime Video

Explore popular action and adventure titles available to stream with Prime Video.

Start your free trial

Recently Viewed