The Search

Drama | English | 105 minutes


During World War II, mother and son, Hanna and Karel Malik, were separated at a German concentration camp. After the war, Karel is rescued by the United Nations Relief and Rehabilitation Administration (UNRRA). With assistance of Mrs. Murray and UNRRA, the challenging process begins of reuniting the children with members of family who survived. Karel is unable to help UNRRA officials trying to determine his identity. To each question, Karel answers, “I don’t know.” But UNRRA officials do know from Karel’s number tattooed on his arm, that he was an Auschwitz survivor.  When the children are loaded on trucks for transfer to another camp, Karel smells the exhaust, panics, and jumps off the vehicle. He is found wandering the streets by United States Army engineer, Ralph “Steve” Stevenson. Steve begins to teach Karel  English and prepares paperwork with Mrs. Murray  to adopt Karel and take him back to America.  Previously believed to be dead, Hanna survived the war and, coincidentally, is  working with Mrs. Murray at UNRRA as a means to locate her son. Never giving up hope, mother and son are finally reunited as Hanna recognizes Karel at the UNRRA camp. Mrs. Murray and Steve are emotionally ecstatic as they look on.

Montgomery Clift (Ralph “Steve” Stevenson) / Ivan Jandl (Karel Malik) / Aline MacMahon (Mrs. Murray) / Jarmila Novotna (Hanna Malik)
Why Stream This Film?
Being filmed in the actual ruins of post-war German cities  Ingolstadt, Munich, and Nuremberg gives The Search a heart-wrenching realism.  It also established actor Montgomery Clift and director Fred Zinnemann as future Hollywood stars.
  • Rotten Tomatoes Score (Critics Consensus): 100%
  • Academy Awards: Winner, Special Juvenile Award (Ivan Jandl); Best Screenplay (Richard Schweizer, David Wechsler). Nominated, Best Actor in a Leading Role (Montgomery Clift), Best Director (Fred Zinnemann).
  • BAFTA Awards: Winner, UN Award
  • Directors Guild of America: Nominated, Outstanding Directorial Achievement in Motion Pictures (Fred Zinnemann)
  • New York Film Critics Circle Awards: Nominated, Best Actor (Ivan Jandl)
  • The film received a perfect 100% Rotten Tomatoes score
Film critic Leonard Maltin gave the film a perfect 4 out of 4 stars, calling it “a poignant drama beautifully acted and directed.
Leonard Maltin


THE SEARCH is  an absorbing and gratifying emotional drama of the highest order. It’s also a vivid and convincing representation of how one of the lost children of Europe is found. It gives a graphic, overwhelming comprehension of the frightful cruelty that innocent children endured during the war.
Bosley Crowther

The New York Times

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