Heidi on the run

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German title Heidi on the run
Original title Courage Mountain
Country of production USA
original language English
Publishing year 1989
length 94:25 minutes
Age rating FSK 12
Director Christopher Leitch
script Fred Brogger
Mark Brogger
production Stephen Ujlaki
music Sylvester Levay
camera Jacques Steyn

Heidi on the run (alternative title: Heidi is growing up & Nightwalker ) is an American - French family and adventure film from 1989 .

The plot of the film differs significantly from the actual Heidi novel . Heidi attends an Italian boarding school . However, as a result of the chaos of war , Heidi is locked in an orphanage . Together with other children, Heidi, pursued by her tormentor, manages to flee over the Alps back to Switzerland .


Heidi faces a difficult decision as she has the opportunity to attend a girls' boarding school in Tivorno in northern Italy. However, this decision means saying goodbye to the mountains, grandfather and Peter for a long time. After some hesitation, Heidi decides to take this step and takes the train to Italy. Peter is also facing a new chapter in his life, as he joins the army as a young man .

At boarding school, it is not easy for Heidi to make good friends among classmates. She is often teased, especially by her classmate Ursula. To do this, Heidi also has to get used to other rules and customs. After all, she receives great support from the headmistress Jane Hillary, who is very committed to the welfare of all students.

Due to Italy's entry into the First World War , the political situation deteriorated increasingly. The army commandeered the "Brockings School" boarding school and forced the school management to leave the property within a day. Headmistress Hillary cannot prevent Heidi and other girls from being admitted to the orphanage of Signor and Signora Bonelli in Santa Maria.

A sad daily routine awaits the children in the orphanage. There is unconditional obedience to the home management, and the children are forced to do child labor . Thanks to Clarissa's good spatial knowledge, whom Heidi first met when she arrived in Tivorno at the train station and has since been imprisoned in the orphanage, six children manage to escape from the orphanage one night.

As stowaways in the hold of a horse-drawn carriage, the children can flee to a farm, where they can first of all satisfy their hunger with the stored food. Unexpectedly, however, Signor Bonelli joins them, forcing the children to run away, an escape that everyone with the exception of Giovanni manages.

The escape of the children is threatening the existence of the home manager couple Bonelli, as they face imprisonment if those who escape reveal the truth that several of them have been kidnapped and forced to work. Signora Bonelli asks her husband to pursue the children and even kill them if necessary.

Heidi tries to convince her four remaining escape companions to continue their escape over an alpine pass to Switzerland. Ursula in particular is initially reluctant to go along with this idea of ​​escape, also out of fear of the arduous journey and the cold. Despite this initial dispute, the girls put their escape plan into practice, not yet knowing that Signor Bonelli is following them.

By observing military observation posts, Jane Hillary can find out the escape route of the girls, whose information is also sent to Heidi's grandfather via telegraphic communication. When Peter finds out about this, he decides, equipped with skis, to climb the mountain to meet the girls.

For their nightly rest, the children will find a cave protected from the weather high up on the pass, in which Heidi can also light a fire. When suddenly a “stranger” makes himself noticeable, there is initially panic fear, which makes Heidi all the more happy to see her again when she realizes that Peter was able to find the girls. However, Peter leaves the girls again the next day to organize further help. When Signor Bonelli finds the girls in the cave shortly afterwards, the girls' escape seems to have ended. The girls are tied to a rope and forced by Signor Bonelli at gunpoint to start their way back up the mountain, where he, he lets the girls know, would kill them.

However, Heidi succeeds in drawing the attention of Peter to himself with an “Alpruf”, who then drives towards the group on his skis and can tear down Signor Bonelli. While fighting on the falling snowfield, Bonelli fatally falls down a rock face, while Peter can hold on to the fall and then be pulled up with a rope given by Heidi.

In good time for Christmas Eve , Heidi and her escape companions return to her grandfather's alpine hut. In the final scene, Peter and Heidi kiss deeply.


  • The plot of the film does not correspond to the novel by Johanna Spyri . At the beginning of the film (after 03:52) there is a brief reference to the original novel in a dialogue in which the grandfather mentions that Heidi can finance her boarding school with an inheritance from the grandmother of Heidi's friend Klara. From this point of view, the film plot is a sequel .
  • In the film, the nicknames Alpöhi (just called Grandfather in the film ) and Geißenpeter (just called Peter in the film ) are consistently omitted from the Heidi films .
  • In the German-speaking area, the film was also released under the alternative titles Nightwalker (video version) and Heidi is grown up .

Web links


  1. town sign visible in the film at the train entrance
  2. a b Information according to the film credits