6.5/10
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30 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.

Director:

George Seaton

Writer:

George Seaton
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Nominated for 1 Golden Globe. See more awards »

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Stars: Bing Crosby, Claude Dauphin, Christian Fourcade
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Cast

Cast overview, first billed only:
Montgomery Clift ... Danny MacCullough
Paul Douglas ... Hank Kowalski
Cornell Borchers ... Frederica Burkhardt
Bruni Löbel ... Gerda
O.E. Hasse ... Stieber
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)
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Storyline

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

Taglines:

From the Ruins came Hope and Despair

Genres:

Drama | War

Certificate:

Approved | See all certifications »
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Details

Country:

USA

Language:

English | German

Release Date:

20 July 1950 (UK) See more »

Also Known As:

The Quartered City See more »

Filming Locations:

Burbank, California, USA See more »

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Box Office

Gross USA:

$1,300,000
See more on IMDbPro »

Company Credits

Production Co:

Twentieth Century Fox See more »
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Technical Specs

Runtime:

Sound Mix:

Mono (Western Electric Recording)

Aspect Ratio:

1.37 : 1
See full technical specs »
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Did You Know?

Trivia

The failure of the original copyright holder to renew the film's copyright resulted in it falling into public domain, meaning that virtually anyone could duplicate and sell a VHS/DVD copy of the film. Therefore, many of the versions of this film available on the market are either severely (and usually badly) edited and/or of extremely poor quality, having been duped from second- or third-generation (or more) copies of the film. Unfortunately, even as of September 2018, even TCM chooses to run a shabby 16mm public domain dupe. See more »

Goofs

Paul Douglas is giving a brutal beating to his former German military prison guard, but the military police don't arrest him, but chase after Montgomery Clift. See more »

Quotes

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

At the end of the movie, the "Hollywood" stars (Clift, Douglas etc.), are not credited, however a panoramic coda does credit the principal military service members who portrayed themselves in the film. It shows them standing at attention in front of a C-54, with their names and ranks scrolling across. See more »

Connections

References Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs (1937) See more »

Soundtracks

The Army Air Corps Song
(uncredited)
Written by Robert Crawford
Sung at the air field by the Navy members towards the Air Corps members
See more »

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User Reviews

Truly a Time Capsule of the Berlin Airlift
30 April 2000 | by Maestro-15See all my reviews

This is film is one of the best true-life adaptations of an historical event - The Berlin Airlift. It was made on location in Berlin with the full cooperation of the US Military who actually played minor acting roles with the exception of the principal actors. The movie does an excellent job in portraying the bleak situation that the Berliners had to endure as a result of the Soviet blockade along with all the wrecked structures all of the city and the hording of black market staples such as coffee and coal. The most interesting portrayal in this film is the Paul Douglas character of that of an American seargant who has no love for the Germans and goes out of his way to be rude and act like a true "occupation" taking revenge out on a former Nazi prison guard that tormented him while he was a prisoner.

Its probably the most realistic portrayal of an American soldier after the war when technically the US Army was an occupation force along with the British and French. In addition, the portrayal of the German widow who really hated the Americans was probably realistic as well. These characters seemed more than stereotypes which was common in films portraying the political situation at the time. It does a good job in showing how ordinary soldiers and people can have divided loyalties and wrestle with the adverse situation that befell them in Berlin at the time. Truly a time capsule of Postwar Berlin.


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