Judgment in Berlin (1988)

PG | 92 mins | Drama | 6 May 1988

Full page view
HISTORY

The following statement precedes opening credits: “The following motion picture was inspired by a true story.”
       The 15 Jun 1984 Publishers Weekly announced that production company, Entertainment Partners, optioned Herbert J. Stern’s 1984 book, Judgment in Berlin. However, on 30 Aug 1985, HR noted that actor Martin Sheen and executive producer William R. Greenblatt had acquired the rights, and planned to begin production in Jan 1986 with a $6 million budget. ^HR reported that Sheen wanted to cast actor Dustin Hoffman, but there were no further reports of Hoffman’s association with the production.
       Although items in the 2 Oct 1985 Var and Dec 1985 edition of Box noted that principal photography was scheduled to begin 16 Dec 1985, filming began two years later in Berlin, Germany, on 15 Jul 1987, as stated in a 1 Sep 1987 HR production chart. The 7 Oct 1987 Var noted that filming concluded on 5 Sep 1987.
       According to the 21 Jul 1987 LAT, actor Sean Penn, director Leo Penn’s son, was set to arrive in Berlin at that time for filming. One month earlier, Sean Penn had been arrested in Los Angeles, CA, and sentenced to sixty days in jail. However, he was permitted to postpone his jail time to begin on 1 Aug 1987, after completing work on Judgment in Berlin.
       The 1 Sep 1987 ^HR production chart listed Ingrid Ruske as a cast member, but she is not credited onscreen. Similarly, the 6 May 1988 HR review listed ... More Less

The following statement precedes opening credits: “The following motion picture was inspired by a true story.”
       The 15 Jun 1984 Publishers Weekly announced that production company, Entertainment Partners, optioned Herbert J. Stern’s 1984 book, Judgment in Berlin. However, on 30 Aug 1985, HR noted that actor Martin Sheen and executive producer William R. Greenblatt had acquired the rights, and planned to begin production in Jan 1986 with a $6 million budget. ^HR reported that Sheen wanted to cast actor Dustin Hoffman, but there were no further reports of Hoffman’s association with the production.
       Although items in the 2 Oct 1985 Var and Dec 1985 edition of Box noted that principal photography was scheduled to begin 16 Dec 1985, filming began two years later in Berlin, Germany, on 15 Jul 1987, as stated in a 1 Sep 1987 HR production chart. The 7 Oct 1987 Var noted that filming concluded on 5 Sep 1987.
       According to the 21 Jul 1987 LAT, actor Sean Penn, director Leo Penn’s son, was set to arrive in Berlin at that time for filming. One month earlier, Sean Penn had been arrested in Los Angeles, CA, and sentenced to sixty days in jail. However, he was permitted to postpone his jail time to begin on 1 Aug 1987, after completing work on Judgment in Berlin.
       The 1 Sep 1987 ^HR production chart listed Ingrid Ruske as a cast member, but she is not credited onscreen. Similarly, the 6 May 1988 HR review listed actress Mora Chmiel, and she is not mentioned in the credits.
       Nearly two months before the film’s 6 May 1988 release, reports in the 24 Mar 1988 LAT and 28 Mar 1988 DV stated that screenwriter Douglas Graham filed a $10 million lawsuit against New Line Cinema, January Enterprises, Shot in the Dark Productions, Martin Sheen, William R. Greenblatt, Leo Penn, and producer-writer Joshua Sinclair in Los Angeles Superior Court. Graham stated that he had originally acquired rights to Stern’s book and completed a screenplay, but due to breached contracts with the defendants, he had not received a writing credit and was removed from “further involvement in the film project.” The outcome of the suit could not be determined from available sources.
       End credits state: “The Production wishes to thank: Captain Nancy Laluntas; Major Robert E. Staal; Master Sergeant Thomas Jenkins; Community Relations Advisor Cristina Harcsztark; and all the wonderful people at Tempelhof Airport.” End credits also state: “Watches by Eterna; Sportswear by Nike and Volkl; Briefcases and handbags by Jerome Leplat; Fountain-pens by Monteblanc; Sunglasses Ray-ban by Menrad.” End credits acknowledge: “Filmed entirely on location in Berlin (West and East) and at Berliner Union Film Studios.”
More Less

GEOGRAPHIC LOCATIONS
LOCATION
SOURCE CITATIONS
SOURCE
DATE
PAGE
Box Office
Dec 1985.
---
Daily Variety
28 Mar 1988
p. 39.
Hollywood Reporter
30 Aug 1985.
---
Hollywood Reporter
1 Sep 1987.
---
Hollywood Reporter
6 May 1988
p. 5, 44.
Los Angeles Times
21 Jul 1987
Metro, p. 1, 3.
Los Angeles Times
24 Mar 1988
Calendar, p. 2.
Los Angeles Times
6 May 1988
Calendar, p. 10.
New York Times
6 May 1988
Section C, p. 13.
Publishers Weekly
15 Jun 1984.
---
Variety
2 Oct 1985
p. 20.
Variety
7 Oct 1987
p. 32.
Variety
4 May 1988
p. 10.
CAST
PRODUCTION CREDITS
NAME
PARENT COMPANY
PRODUCTION COMPANIES
PRODUCTION TEXTS
A Bibo TV/January Enterprises
Sheen/Greenblatt Production
DISTRIBUTION COMPANY
NAME
CREDITED AS
CREDIT
DIRECTORS
Dir
1st asst dir
2d asst dir
3d asst dir
PRODUCERS
Assoc prod
Exec prod
Exec prod
WRITERS
Scr
PHOTOGRAPHY
Cam op
Focus puller
Clapper/Loader
2d unit
2d unit
Gaffer
Dolly grip
Best boy
Elec/Grip
Elec/Grip
Elec/Grip
Elec/Grip
Elec/Grip
Stills
Aerial shots with
Aerial shots with
ART DIRECTORS
Art dir
Art dir
Asst art dir
FILM EDITORS
Post prod consultant
Ed asst
SET DECORATORS
Prop man
Prop man
Stand-by carpenter
COSTUMES
Asst cos des
Ward mistress
Ward mistress
MUSIC
SOUND
Sd mixer
Boom op
Final mix
Sd eff
Sd eff
Dubbing ed
MAKEUP
Chief make-up/hair
Makeup/hair
Makeup/hair
PRODUCTION MISC
Casting
Casting
Crowd marshall
Asst to dir
Loc mgr
Loc asst
Loc asst
Accountant
Prod coord
Asst to exec prod
Prod runner
Prod driver
Prod driver
Artist's driver
Artist's driver
Catering
Catering
Catering
COLOR PERSONNEL
Developed and printed at
SOURCES
LITERARY
Based on the book Judgment in Berlin by Herbert J. Stern (New York, 1984).
SONGS
“Lady, Lady, Lady,” sung by Ted Herold -- J. C. Seelenmeyer, Ulf Kruger
“Feuerwerk,” sung by Stephan Remmler -- Karl Schindler/Stephan Remmler/Martin Hoemberg
“Ich Bin Von Kopf Bis Fuß Auf Liebe Eingestellt” sung by Marlene Dietrich -- Friedrich Hollaender.
DETAILS
Alternate Title:
Judgement in Berlin
Release Date:
6 May 1988
Premiere Information:
Los Angeles and New York openings: 6 May 1988
Production Date:
15 July -- 5 September 1987
Copyright Claimant:
New Line Productions, Inc.
Copyright Date:
12 January 1994
Copyright Number:
PA0000729587
Physical Properties:
Sound
Color
Lenses/Prints
Filmed on Eastman Kodak with Arriflex BL 4
Duration(in mins):
92
MPAA Rating:
PG
Country:
United States
Language:
English
Passed by NBR:
No
SYNOPSIS

In 1978 East Germany, Helmut Thiele and Sigrid Radke of East Berlin plot an escape via Poland with forged documents delivered by Sigrid’s lover, West German resident Hans Schuster. However, Hans is arrested at the Polish border by Soviet authorities. Realizing Hans has been detained, Helmut and Sigrid board an airplane in Poland to return to East Germany. Desperate to reunite with his young sons in West Berlin, Helmut decides to hijack the plane using a toy pistol. The flight crew complies and lands at West Berlin’s Tempelhof Airport. There, the U.S. Air Force takes Helmut, Sigrid, and her daughter, Marina, into custody, and the airplane’s passengers are granted asylum. After Helmut states that he worked alone, Air Force Colonel Heller releases Sigrid and Marina. Three months later, Col. Heller learns that Sigrid was involved with Hans Schuster, and makes her confess that she was an accomplice to Helmut’s hijacking. Soviet officials demand that the U.S. prosecute Helmut and Sigrid. Seeking a fair judge, Bruno Ristau, the director of foreign litigation at the Department of Justice, meets with his friend Herbert J. Stern, a federal judge, explaining the case will be tried in West Berlin, but follow the American justice system. Intrigued, Judge Stern agrees to hear the case in court. Meanwhile in East Germany, Hans learns from Soviet official Uri Andreyev that Helmut and Sigrid are awaiting trial, and the verdict handed down in their case will be the same for him. At the start of the trial, prosecutors for the U.S. State Department announce there will be no jury, but Judge Stern protests, stating that ... +


In 1978 East Germany, Helmut Thiele and Sigrid Radke of East Berlin plot an escape via Poland with forged documents delivered by Sigrid’s lover, West German resident Hans Schuster. However, Hans is arrested at the Polish border by Soviet authorities. Realizing Hans has been detained, Helmut and Sigrid board an airplane in Poland to return to East Germany. Desperate to reunite with his young sons in West Berlin, Helmut decides to hijack the plane using a toy pistol. The flight crew complies and lands at West Berlin’s Tempelhof Airport. There, the U.S. Air Force takes Helmut, Sigrid, and her daughter, Marina, into custody, and the airplane’s passengers are granted asylum. After Helmut states that he worked alone, Air Force Colonel Heller releases Sigrid and Marina. Three months later, Col. Heller learns that Sigrid was involved with Hans Schuster, and makes her confess that she was an accomplice to Helmut’s hijacking. Soviet officials demand that the U.S. prosecute Helmut and Sigrid. Seeking a fair judge, Bruno Ristau, the director of foreign litigation at the Department of Justice, meets with his friend Herbert J. Stern, a federal judge, explaining the case will be tried in West Berlin, but follow the American justice system. Intrigued, Judge Stern agrees to hear the case in court. Meanwhile in East Germany, Hans learns from Soviet official Uri Andreyev that Helmut and Sigrid are awaiting trial, and the verdict handed down in their case will be the same for him. At the start of the trial, prosecutors for the U.S. State Department announce there will be no jury, but Judge Stern protests, stating that the Constitution must be upheld, or the defendants will be released. The State Department concedes, and a jury of West German citizens is selected. When Sigrid’s American lawyer, Bernard Hellring, proves that Col. Heller forced Sigrid’s confession, Judge Stern rules to suppress her statement and the charges against her are dropped. With Sigrid free, Bernard Hellring joins Helmut’s legal team, comprised of American lawyer Judah Best and West Berlin representative Kim Becker. As Helmut’s trial begins, Guenther, a passenger from the hijacked flight, requests to be a witness. Under the name “Guenther X,” he testifies that he overheard Helmut speak to the crew about reuniting with his sons. Guenther believes the crew pretended they were hijacked to force a landing in West Berlin. Before leaving the witness stand, Guenther thanks Helmut for making it possible for him and his family to escape East Germany. Helmut is found not guilty of the hijacking, but guilty of taking a hostage. However, Judge Stern decides Helmut has served his time, and sets him free. Afterward, Hans is freed from prison in East Germany, and he returns to West Berlin. +

Legend
Viewed by AFI
Partially Viewed
Offscreen Credit
Name Occurs Before Title
AFI Life Achievement Award

TOP SEARCHES

CASABLANCA

During World War II, Casablanca, Morocco is a waiting point for throngs of desperate refugees fleeing Nazi-occupied Europe. Exit visas, which are necessary to leave the country, are at ... >>

CITIZEN KANE

Seventy-year-old newspaper tycoon Charles Foster Kane dies in his palatial Florida home, Xanadu, after uttering the single word “Rosebud.” While watching a newsreel summarizing the years during which Kane ... >>

REAR WINDOW

Laid up with a broken leg during the height of summer, renowned New York magazine photographer L. B. “Jeff” Jeffries enters his last week of home confinement, bored and ... >>

RAGING BULL

In 1941, at a boxing match in Cleveland, Ohio, pandemonium breaks out when Jake La Motta, an up-and-coming young boxer, loses a decision to Jimmy Reeves, suffering his first ... >>

CITY LIGHTS

At an outdoor dedication ceremony, a tramp is discovered sleeping in the arms of a statue as it is being unveiled before a crowd. He is chased into ... >>

The American Film Institute is grateful to Sir Paul Getty KBE and the Sir Paul Getty KBE Estate for their dedication to the art of the moving image and their support for the AFI Catalog of Feature Films and without whose support AFI would not have been able to achieve this historical landmark in this epic scholarly endeavor.