The Big Lift - Movie Reviews - Rotten Tomatoes

The Big Lift Reviews

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½ July 20, 2015
Ok i get it, Berlin after WWII. Interesting but nothing special. Also Montgomery Clift had too many cute moments for a drama movie!
April 14, 2015
Servicemen learn lessons about the realities of post war while participating in an airlift to assist defeated Germany. Suprisingly well developed commentary and semi-documentary lacks much in the acting department but makes up for it in its message.
June 25, 2013
My Favorite War Film Is 1998's Saving Private Ryan.
October 17, 2012
good post WWII pic about WWII
Super Reviewer
½ April 6, 2011
Ordinary postwar story with Douglas and Clift good as always. The real standout is Bruni Loebel who turns in a charming performance as Gerda.
Super Reviewer
December 25, 2010
The romantic plot is weak, but this semi-documentary is an important piece of filmography since history is preserved. In simple terms, it shows Americans processing WWII experiences and emotions toward the German peoples. What is remarkable about this film is that all shots were on location within all sectors of war-ravaged Berlin and the military personnel are genuine.
Super Reviewer
October 26, 2010
Maybe I need to brush up on my WWII history, but this movie was a bit confusing. Clift is good in the movie, but the story could be better. Overall a so-so war movie.
August 4, 2010
unique in its setting of post wwii occupied berlin. interesting psychological insight into german civilians' tactic for survival by leveraging the easily earned sympathy of allied soldiers
½ August 18, 2009
Not one of Bogie's best, but still worth a look with a stron story line.
July 19, 2009
One of my favorite aspects about classic films is it's ability to capture moments in history...and the reason why I believe film is the closest thing we have to an actual time-machine. THE BIG LIFT may not be as well known or cherished a film like, say CASABLANCA...but what it does succeed in doing is preserving a moment in history for future generations. In this case it's the evocation of life in post-WWII Germany during the the first international crisis of the cold war - The Berlin Airlift. Russia, in a political power move, decide to close their side of a divided Berlin to rail and river traffic thereby cutting off much needed food and supplies. The allies, in a counter-move decide they will just fly in the supplies into their rightful territory of Berlin and win the hearts & minds of the beleaguered citizenry.

Montgomery Clift (T/Sgt. Danny MacCullogh) and Paul Douglas (M/Sgt. Hank Kowalski) play US Air Force crewmen reassigned from their posts in Hawaii and ordered to the stint in Germany. It is Douglas' character who is reluctant to go, as he harbors a deep rooted resentment for Germans. The reason for this resentment is revealed as the story progresses. While in Germany, MacCullough meets and becomes involved with a german woman, Frederika (Cornell Borchers) whose husband has been missing ever since he was assigned to the Russian Front. This relationship will undergo a few interesting twists along the way...

I've seen other films which depict life in post-war German (namely, Billy Wilder's 1948 film A FOREIGN AFFAIR), but THE BIG LIFT has a grittier feel because of it's lower budget. There is also a strong documentary feel to it - especially in the 1st half of the film. History and aviation buffs can watch footage of the C-57 cargo planes flying over war damaged Berlin. There is great footage of the planes landing at Tempelhof and Rhein-Main airbases - sweeping precariously just above the buildings before touching down on the runway.

The director George Seaton (Miracle on 34th Street) comes close to making a full blown pro USA propaganda flick but I give him credit for reeling the hokum in a bit by at least acknowledging - yeah, there are some faults. The dialogue is infused with some interesting political banter between the US crewmen and the german women. MacCullough also meets up with a man living in Frederika's tenement building, Steiber (O.E.Hasse) who works as a spy for the Russians. Steiber reveals to MacCullogh, in an amusing bit of dialogue, the art of cold-war spycraft to come.

All in all - not bad....the drama especially, builds nicely (in regards to Montgomery Clift's character) in the second half of the flick.

8 / 10
½ December 17, 2008
The only real points of interest in The Big Lift are that it was shot in Berlin in 1949 and released less than a year after the Soviet blockade of the city, and that many of the actors in the film were in fact genuine military personnel. The setting adds a lot of realism to the film and makes it an interesting document of the time, but I thought the use of real members of the armed services actually backfired, because despite their real experiences, their lack of acting skills led to them appearing quite wooden once the cameras started rolling. The few professional actors did okay jobs, but Montgomery Clift has been a lot better, and the production was said to be a tense one for all involved. I admire what the director was trying to do but I don't think it was much of a success.
June 17, 2008
This movie had a mixture of comedy,drama and mystery . Clift as its best
April 12, 2008
This movie, Ciao Manhattan, Rome Open City & The Battle of Algiers all have this strange effect on me because they happen so close to the time & place of actual events. This feels like a window into the seldom seen period between WW2 & the Cold War. An oddly naturalistic propaganda film with a very strong Clift performance.
March 21, 2008
I did not really like this movie.
November 21, 2007
"If they can take off when the birds won't even fly then I guess a blockade isn't much of a weapon." Filmed on location in war-torn Germany, this film offers an unprecedented view of the carnage wrought during the war, and that is 'The Big Lift's' best feature. The characters aren't traditional cookie-cutter Air Force heroes but people with their own issues who do grow throughout the movie. The majority of the military personnel are playing themselves, which adds realism to their scenes. Still, the movie just plods slowly, losing your attention along the way.
November 19, 2007
It didn't make sense. Bad character development. The girl all of a sudden turned evil. Did I miss something?
November 10, 2007
Excellent movie and second only to Red River as one of Montgomery Clift's best. An interesting movie set on location and one that shows life in Berlin post-war. The love story is not over done or sentimental and itprovides a few twists and turns that surprise. The humour is surprisingly contemporary and Montgomery Clift's characters amiability and light heartedness is a refreshing change to the angst-ridden idealists he played so often. A must-see for any MC fan.
November 6, 2007
The Big Lift Summary:
Filmed on location, The Big Lift is a reenactment of the Berlin airlift of 1948. Flexing their postwar muscles, the Russians blockade the Western sector, refusing to allow the Allies to ship supplies to the starving Berliners. From their headquarters at Templehof Airport, a group of courageous American flyers risk their lives to transport supplies by air. Paul Douglas plays a ground operations sergeant with several scores to settle (he had a hard time of it as a POW during the war), while Montgomery Clift costars as a pilot who inaugurates a doomed love affair with German girl Cornell Borchers.
½ June 20, 2007
Anything with Montgomery Clift is worth watching!
Good war flick.
June 18, 2007
Typical sombre post-WW2 movie.
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