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Stephen ‘Hannibal’ Brooks (Oliver Reed) is a British prisoner of war put to work in a Munich zoo, where he looks after an elephant called Lucy. When the zoo is bombed the zoo’s director, Stern (Eric Jelde), decides it is unsafe for the elephant to remain there. He sends Brooks, German soldiers Kurt (Peter Carsten) and Willi (Helmut Lohner), and Vronia (Karin Baal), a female cook, to accompany the elephant to Innsbruck Zoo via train.
They are forced to walk when Colonel von Haller (Wolfgang Preiss) tells Brooks that the elephant is not allowed on the train. While on their journey, Kurt is accidentally killed after a struggle with Brooks. Out of fear, Brooks, Willi, Vronia and Lucy change their plans and head towards the Swiss border. Along the way they meet Packy (Michael J. Pollard), an American escapee, and Mendel (Ralf Wolter), an Austrian Doctor.