YMMV / Night Crossing

  • Awesome Music: Composed by Jerry Goldsmith, no less.
  • Crazy Awesome: Let's repeat... two families built a hot air balloon out of scraps, including wedding dresses and curtains and sewn together in their attic, with a basket made of plywood with some ropes to keep them from falling off, and used it to fly out of East Germany. While there was some Artistic License, the meat of this movie is very accurate. To get an idea of how risky this was, and how desperate the families were to get out of the country, go watch the episode of White Rabbit Project where Tory Belleci builds a replica of the balloon, using the original specs and photographs of the balloon the families made. The final product was very close the the actual balloon. (While the balloon in the movie shows tell-tale signs it was professionally built, since it had to be practical and reasonably safe to fly, it's still pretty accurate to the real thing.) The FAA forbade Tory to fly the balloon untethered; it was just too dangerous. The fact that the two families took this risk, and succeeded, is impressive to say the least.
  • Crowning Moment of Funny: Peter and Günter claiming that their absurdly large request for fabric is for a camping club.
    Saleswoman: 1250 square yards? Must be a very large club.
    Günter: It is, with big tents.
  • Crowning Moment of Heartwarming: As a Disney movie, these are to be expected.
    • Frank and Fitscher Strelzyk presenting their dad with flight scarves after their unsuccessful first escape attempt.
    • The families celebrating the success of their journey at the end.
  • Harsher in Hindsight: The uplifting ending loses some of its impact if you know that Peter and Günter ceased contact not long after the escape, as Günter felt that Peter was taking too much of the credit.
  • Hilarious in Hindsight: John Hurt plays a resident of an oppressive regime and manages to escape in a truly ingenious manner. His later films would have him as a victim of an oppressive regime and a leader of an oppressive regime.
  • Nightmare Fuel:
    • The Strelzyks trying to get out of the border zone after their failed attempt.
    • During the third act, Peter goes to a department store to buy fabric, again claiming it's for a Young Pioneer camping club. The manager leaves to make a phone call, and Peter can only hope he can get away before the Stasi arrives.
  • Tear Jerker: Lukas getting shot and left for dead by the border guards. The lieutenant is very cold as he tells his men to focus on more important things: repairing the damage to the border fences. It's also Nightmare Fuel: when Lukas is shot, we see the bullets going into him, then see his shocked face before he goes down. Worse yet, yes, this is Truth in Television. Shooting defectors and leaving them to bleed out was indeed done by the Stasi.
http://tvtropes.org/pmwiki/pmwiki.php/YMMV/NightCrossing