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12 user 7 critic

Escape from East Berlin (1962)

Approved | | Drama, History, Thriller | November 1962 (USA)
In 1962, a group of East Berliners escapes to West Berlin through a tunnel dug from the basement of a house located near the Berlin Wall.

Director:

Robert Siodmak

Writers:

Gabrielle Upton (story), Peter Berneis (story) | 3 more credits »
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Cast

Cast overview, first billed only:
Don Murray ... Kurt Schröder
Christine Kaufmann ... Erika Jurgens
Werner Klemperer ... Walter Brunner
Ingrid van Bergen ... Ingeborg Schröder
Carl Schell Carl Schell ... Major Eckhardt
Edith Schultze-Westrum Edith Schultze-Westrum ... Mother Schröder
Bruno Fritz Bruno Fritz ... Uncle Albrecht
Maria Tober Maria Tober ... Marga
Horst Janson ... Günther Jurgens
Kai Fischer ... Heidi Eckhardt
Alfred Balthoff Alfred Balthoff ... Klussendorf - a Neighbor
Anita Kupsch ... Bambi
Kurt Waitzmann Kurt Waitzmann ... Prof. Thomas Jurgens
Helma Seitz Helma Seitz ... Frau Jürgens
Ronald Dehne Ronald Dehne ... Helmut Schröder
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Storyline

In January of 1962, 29 East Berliners escaped to West Berlin via a tunnel they had dug beneath the Berlin Wall, led by Erwin Becker, a chauffeur in the car pool of the East Germany Parliament, who served as technical adviser on this film. The film opens with Karl Schroeder (Don Murray), chauffeur to an East German Major, seeing a friend killed as he tried to drive his truck through the wall, He is persuaded by the friend's sister, Erika Jurgens (Christine Kaufmann), and his own family to engineer an attempt to make an escape to the Western sector of the city by digging a tunnel under the wall which is close to their home. Their efforts to evade the suspicions of the East German police, their fear of betrayal by inquisitive neighbors and the exhaustion of the digging are only a few of the difficulties faced by the group. Written by Les Adams <longhorn1939@suddenlink.net>

Plot Summary | Add Synopsis

Taglines:

Terrifying but True! See more »


Certificate:

Approved | See all certifications »
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Details

Country:

West Germany | USA

Language:

English

Release Date:

November 1962 (USA) See more »

Also Known As:

Tunnel 28 See more »

Filming Locations:

Berlin, Germany See more »

Company Credits

Show more on IMDbPro »

Technical Specs

Runtime:

(TCM print)

Sound Mix:

Mono

Aspect Ratio:

1.85 : 1
See full technical specs »
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Did You Know?

Trivia

The role of Kurt Schroder was originally intended for Horst Buchholz. See more »

Quotes

Uncle Albrecht: Off to band practice. We are marching in the celebration parade. I don't know what we're celebrating, but we are marching.
See more »

Connections

Referenced in Der Tunnel (1999) See more »

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User Reviews

 
a chauffeur plots an escape to the west
10 October 2009 | by blanche-2See all my reviews

Based on a true story and directed by Robert Siodmak, "Escape from East Berlin" is an uneven film about a real-life military chauffeur living in East Berlin (played by Don Murray) who, with the help of family and friends, digs a tunnel in order to escape to West Berlin.

It's probable that with several story changes, "Berlin Tunnel 21," made in 1981, is based on the same true story. I found that film far more suspenseful. However, since the Siodmak film was made around the time that the wall was erected, it captures the atmosphere better. The film begins with a little bit of history, too, which would be interesting to those new to the material.

It looks as if "Escape from East Berlin" was made on a shoestring budget, as some of it seems rushed, and the subplot of Christine Kaufman, as a young woman who hides in the Schroder household and wants to escape with them, seems to have been dropped. Unless I missed it, there is no follow-up as far as her family.

Don Murray heads a German cast that includes Werner Klemperer, and the film was done on location in Berlin. Murray smartly just hints at an accent. Of course one assumes all of these people are actually speaking German.

Certainly this film captures the claustrophobia of those trapped behind the wall and the poor conditions under which they had to live. Definitely worth seeing, though for a nail-biting version of the same story, check out "Berlin Tunnel 21."


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