The Big Lift

Watch The Big Lift

"From the Ruins came Hope and Despair"
  • NR
  • 1950
  • 2 hr
  • 6.4  (1,684)

The Big Lift is a 1950 war drama directed by George Seaton and starring Montgomery Clift, Paul Douglas, and Cornell Borchers. The movie is presented in black and white and is set at the end of World War II in Berlin, Germany. The film is based on real-life events that happened in Berlin's airlift during the Soviet blockade. The story begins with the Soviet Union imposing a blockade on Berlin, preventing any access to the city by land or water. The city's inhabitants are in a state of crisis as food and supplies begin to run out. The only way to supply the city is through air, and the United States Allied Forces launch the massive Berlin airlift to meet the needs of the city's inhabitants.

The movie follows two US Air Force sergeants, Danny MacCullough (Montgomery Clift) and Hank Kowalski (Paul Douglas), who are stationed in Germany and volunteering to fly in the Berlin airlift. The men are determined to do their part to help the city, and they quickly become caught up in the intensity and danger of their mission.

As they fly in and out of Berlin, they witness the severe conditions that the city's inhabitants are living in, including the constant threat of Soviet air attacks. Danny also falls in love with a German woman named Frederica (Cornell Borchers), who works as a nurse and serves a vital role in the evacuation of the city's sick and wounded.

Throughout the film, the two sergeants must navigate their dangerous mission while dealing with personal and romantic challenges. They form close bonds with their fellow airmen and the citizens of Berlin, who show their gratitude and resilience in the face of great adversity.

The Big Lift was one of the first films to portray the Berlin airlift, and it captures the tension and drama of the operation while also highlighting the compassion and bravery of those involved. The movie is also notable for its use of actual footage and radio broadcasts from the airlift, giving it a sense of documentary-like authenticity.

Montgomery Clift delivers a strong performance as Danny, bringing depth and sensitivity to his character as he grapples with the horrors of war and the complexities of his relationship with Frederica. Paul Douglas is equally impressive in his portrayal of Hank, a no-nonsense sergeant who balances his duty to his country with his compassion for the suffering of the Berlin residents.

Cornell Borchers also shines as Frederica, bringing intelligence and emotional depth to her role as a woman caught between her loyalty to her country and her love for an American soldier.

The film's direction by George Seaton is steady and effective, capturing the sweeping scale of the airlift while also expressing the intimate human drama at its core. The Big Lift is a powerful portrait of wartime heroism and sacrifice that continues to resonate today.

The Big Lift is a 1950 war movie with a runtime of 2 hours. It has received moderate reviews from critics and viewers, who have given it an IMDb score of 6.4.

The Big Lift
Where to Watch The Big Lift
The Big Lift is available to watch free on Plex, Pluto TV and Tubi TV. It's also available to stream, download and buy on demand at Amazon Prime, Apple TV Channels, FuboTV, FlixFling, The Roku Channel, EPIX, FlixFling VOD and Amazon. Some platforms allow you to rent The Big Lift for a limited time or purchase the movie and download it to your device.
  • Release Date
  • MPAA Rating
  • Runtime
    2 hr
  • Language
  • IMDB Rating
    6.4  (1,684)