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Above and Beyond (2014)

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In 1948, a group of World War II pilots volunteered to fight for Israel in the War of Independence. As members of 'Machal' -- volunteers from abroad -- this ragtag band of brothers not only... See full summary »


Roberta Grossman
3 wins. See more awards »



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Credited cast:
Mina Alon Mina Alon ... Herself
Richard J. Carson ... Extra
Eddie Cohen Eddie Cohen ... Himself (archive footage)
Leon Frankel Leon Frankel ... Himself
Coleman Goldstein Coleman Goldstein ... Himself (archive footage)
Lou Lenart Lou Lenart ... Himself
George Lichter George Lichter ... Himself (archive footage)
Gideon Lichtman Gideon Lichtman ... Himself
Harold Livingston Harold Livingston ... Himself
Shimon Peres ... Himself
Paul Reubens ... Himself
Jd Roth-round ... Machal fighter pilot
Al Schwimmer Al Schwimmer ... Himself (archive footage)
Dani Shapira Dani Shapira ... Himself
Smoky Simon Smoky Simon ... Himself


In 1948, a group of World War II pilots volunteered to fight for Israel in the War of Independence. As members of 'Machal' -- volunteers from abroad -- this ragtag band of brothers not only turned the tide of the war, preventing the possible annihilation of Israel at the very moment of its birth; they also laid the groundwork for the Israeli Air Force. ABOVE AND BEYOND is their story. The first major feature-length documentary about the foreign airmen in the War of Independence, ABOVE AND BEYOND brings together new interviews with pilots from the '48 War, as well as leading scholars and statesmen, including Shimon Peres, to present an extraordinary, little-known tale with reverberations up to the present day. Written by Anonymous

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It wasn't their country, but they made it their war.


Not Rated


Official Sites:

Official site


UK | Israel | USA



Release Date:

30 January 2015 (USA) See more »

Also Known As:

Above and Beyond: The Birth of the Israeli Air Force See more »


Box Office


$1,300,000 (estimated)

Opening Weekend USA:

$26,111, 20 February 2015, Limited Release

Gross USA:

$287,697, 3 May 2015
See more on IMDbPro »

Company Credits

Production Co:

Playmount Productions See more »
Show more on IMDbPro »

Technical Specs


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Did You Know?


Atlanta Jewish Film Festival 2015, Audience Winner: Best Documentary Feature. See more »

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User Reviews

A brilliant documentary
21 July 2015 | by Red-125See all my reviews

Above and Beyond (2014) is a documentary film directed by Roberta Grossman. It tells the story of a group of young American WWII veterans who brought planes and their combat skills to Israel in 1948, during the Israeli War of Independence.

I thought this was a wonderful film for what it was--a documentary about ordinary people who risked their lives to fight for a cause in which they believed. In 1948, Israel didn't have an air force. By a combination of boldness, determination, and ingenuity, these young men managed to bring the planes to Israel, and use them in the war.

The film has been criticized for not putting the efforts of these men into a historical context, not talking about the justice--or injustice--of the 1948 war, and not pointing out the long-term consequences of Israel winning the war. All of those criticisms are accurate, but I believe they aren't relevant.

Director Grossman and producer Nancy Spielberg weren't making a documentary series about the 1948 war. They were making a documentary about a particular, specific aspect of the war. These U.S. volunteers survived WWII, and yet they were willing to go back into combat to fight as volunteers for Israel. As far as I could tell, none of them were profoundly philosophical types of men. They did what they thought was right, based on their own Jewishness, their belief in the Israeli cause, and large amounts of testosterone. (As one of them tells the interviewer.)

The survivors are old men now. This documentary had to been made quickly, because, in a few years, it would have been too late to get first-hand interviews with the pilots involved. Now, their stories are recorded forever.

I enjoyed this movie, which was shown in Rochester's Dryden Theatre as the opening night film of the superb Rochester International Jewish Film Festival. My compliments to the RIJFF for choosing this movie, and for inviting producer Nancy Spielberg to the event. Ms. Spielberg didn't so much speak about the movie itself, but rather about the difficulties of getting it produced. Yes, it helped that she was Steven Spielberg's sister, but that alone would not have been sufficient to get this movie completed. It took talent and determination, and that's what she had.

I doubt that this film will go into general distribution, so you'll have to see it at a film festival to view it on a large screen. The good news is that it will work very well on a small screen. I recommend it.

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