The Big Lift

Released: 1950
Grade: B-

The Big Lift (1950) on IMDb


Three years after the end of World War II, the Soviet Union set up a blockade around the city of West Berlin, in an attempt to cut off all contact with Western Europe. The only thing that saved West Berlin from complete starvation and collapse was the Allied Air Lift which provided food and much needed supplies to the people of West Berlin. Three American aviators were honored for their service.

One of these sergeants meets a widow from Berlin who starts a romance with him. Eventually, they decide to be married.


Berlin is probably my favorite city in the world. I lived there for five months after the Wall fell. So I recognized many of the streets and the landmarks that were prominently displayed here, though they were obviously cleaned and repaired by the time I was there. If you’re familiar with Berlin, the backdrop of this film is really amazing to see.

Watching the film is a rather eye-opening experience as well. It shows what life was like in Berlin right after the end of World War II. It’s an important piece of history, and the daily struggle to survive after such a destructive war is impressively filmed.

I enjoyed most of it, but there is a twist toward the end of the movie that I was not expecting at all. It really isn’t a happy ending, but it’s the only way it could have ended, I think. It seems like a realistic ending, but not one that I found very satisfying. Still, I think this movie is worth a look, if you like dramas from this time period. I may try to buy this film just to be able to own a piece of the history of Berlin.

Of Note

This entire film was shot on location in Berlin and Frankfurt. The scenes take place in exactly the spots that are described in the film. It’s one of the most remarkable aspects of this movie.