Night Crossing

Last Updated on: June 26th, 2024

Night Crossing (1982 Movie)

“Night Crossing” is a Disney film released in 1982, directed by Delbert Mann. The movie is based on the true story of two East German families who attempted a daring escape from East Germany to the West by flying a homemade hot-air balloon across the border.

The film is set in the midst of the Cold War during the 1970s when Germany was divided into East and West Germany. The Strelzyk and Wetzel families, who live in East Germany, are determined to escape the oppressive regime and seek freedom in the West. Peter Strelzyk (played by John Hurt) and his friend Gunter Wetzel (played by Beau Bridges) decide to build a hot-air balloon in secret to carry their families across the border to West Germany.

The families face numerous challenges and dangers while constructing the balloon, but they persevere with the help of their wives, Doris Strelzyk (played by Jane Alexander) and Petra Wetzel (played by Glynnis O’Connor). They must also avoid the ever-watchful eyes of the East German authorities, led by Colonel Koerner (played by Kai Wulff).

As the day of the escape approaches, tension and suspense build as the families make their way to the launch site under the cover of darkness. The film culminates in a thrilling and nerve-wracking flight as they navigate treacherous weather conditions and the risk of being discovered by patrolling East German border guards.

“Night Crossing” is a gripping and emotional tale of courage, determination, and the power of the human spirit to overcome adversity. The film portrays the hardships faced by those living under a repressive regime and the lengths they are willing to go to for the chance of freedom and a better life.

Though not as widely known as some other Disney films, “Night Crossing” has been praised for its authentic portrayal of historical events and its ability to captivate audiences with its suspenseful storytelling. It serves as a reminder of the human desire for freedom and the sacrifices made by individuals and families in pursuit of a better future.

Additional Details

  • Movie Studio:
  • Year Released:
  • Type of Movie: Live-Action
  • Box Office: $8 million
  • IMDB Link


  • John Hurt: Peter Strelzyk
  • Doug McKeon: Frank Strelzyk
  • Keith McKeon: Fitscher Strelzyk
  • Beau Bridges: Günter Wetzel
  • Jane Alexander: Doris Strelzyk
  • Glynnis O’Connor: Petra Wetzel
  • Klaus Löwitsch: Schmolk
  • Geoffrey Liesik: Peter Wetzel
  • Michael Liesik: Andreas Wetzel
  • Ian Bannen: Josef Keller
  • Anne Stallybrass: Magda Keller
  • Matthew Taylor: Lukas Keller
  • Günter Meisner: Major Koerner
  • Sky Dumont: Ziegler
  • Jan Niklas: Lieutenant Fehler


  • Director: Delbert Mann
  • Producers: Tom Leetch
  • Music: Jerry Goldsmith

Movie Trailer:

About the Author

Craig Smith
I am founder and editor of My passion for all things Disney goes pretty far back to my first trip to Walt Disney World in the mid-80's. I have since returned to the magical place more than 20 times. I started this site when I came to the realization that I spent a significant portion of my day reading articles about Disney and watching Disney content with my 8-year old, so it made sense that I would start sharing some of what I read and see and building a little community around it. Other interests include 80's nostalgia, vintage toys, video games, LEGO, Star Wars and tech gadgets. Other site isDMR.