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21 Hours at Munich
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The screenplay by Howard Fast (writer of the novel "Spartacus") and Edward Hume ("The Day After") is based on Serge Groussard's book "The Blood of Israel and focuses on what happened in Munich, part of what was then West Germany, that day in September when a group of Palestinian terrorists calling themselves Black September invaded the dormitory rooms of the Israeli athletes, killing two of them and taking another nine hostage. Issa (Franco Nero), the leader of the terrorists, demands the release of 250 Palestinian prisoners being held by Israel, but Prime Minister Golda Meir (Else Quecke) flatly refused to deal with the terrorists. This left it to the German government to try and rescue the hostages. Chief of Police Manfred Schreiber (William Holden) became the point man for their efforts, although Chancellor Willy Brandt (Richard Basehart) and Interior Minister Bruno Merk (Noel Willman) are involved in the fatal decisions as the lives of Jewish men are once again in the hands of the German government, this time with the whole world watching.Read more ›
William Holden stars as the German cop in charge of the investigation and negotiations, while Franco Nero plays the chief terrorist. Unlike Steven Spielberg's Munich, this movie concentrates solely on the crime itself, beginning by showing how the terrorists easily enter the Olympic Village and are able to subdue most of the members of the Israeli team. From there, it's a cat-and-mouse game of negotiations and threats between terrorists and police.
Holden is solid, and his casting was undoubtedly a coup for a TV movie of the week (the film was made immediately before he got his last Oscar nomination for Network). He makes no pretense at speaking with a German accent which some may find disconcerting, although if you are interested in what he is saying it shouldn't matter. His character is well aware of the importance of what they do and how the world will view it, which leads to eventual bickering among the police, military, and political leaders (including Richard Basehart as Willy Brandt).
Similarly, Nero is solid and grounded. The movie wisely avoids turning him into a wide-eyed fanatic; instead, he is a professionally determined man with a dangerous political agenda. By keeping the two leads as competent, solid professionals, the movie is able to build suspense, even if the eventual resolution is well known in advance.Read more ›
This is a dramatic recreation of the events that occurred in 1972 at the XX Olympiad in Munich. It was filmed in West Germany. The hope of the Olympic contests was to show how countries could live in peace while competing in sports. [Aren’t these sports a peaceful form of combat? They entertain people of all classes and countries.] Early in the morning of September 17, 1972 intruders scale fences to enter the Israeli compound with their luggage. They have military weapons! They use keys to unlock doors. One man tries to stop them at the door. Another escapes through a window to spread the alarm of Arab terrorists. Two men see a shooting! The Israeli athletes are rounded up. One man escapes, there is shooting! The German police are warned, they take action to isolate the building. The “Black September” movement has demands to release prisoners in Israel and give them an airplane to leave the country. Or the hostages will die! A woman Olympic security guard is sent to talk to them.
The building is surrounded. German officials try to speak to them and ask for more time. The Israeli government will not make any concessions because of the example it will set. This crime is a German problem says Prime Minister Meir. Do any of the captives need a doctor? The terrorists are warned they will all be killed if they kill the hostages. “We are not afraid to die” says a terrorist. “We will be happy to oblige” says a German official. They are offered cash and a safe exit if they free the hostages. Should the Olympics be cancelled? Or suspended? The terrorists want three planes to fly them to Cairo. They will accept one plane, but it will take time to prepare for a long flight. The Germans want to know how many hostages are alive. There are nine.Read more ›
Most Recent Customer Reviews
Of course it is not technically perfect and some of the acting is wooden, but the movie is an honest and unbiased account of the tragedy in Munich. Read morePublished on August 21, 2014 by Rachel Freeny
I used this film in a Terrorism class I teach. Although its not a documentary it was extremely useful for discussions on many levels.Published on August 8, 2014 by Dave
Met expectations. Always wanted to see the account of what happened in '72 and read that this account was as accurate as any other out there.Published on July 5, 2014 by Nii-Akwei
Interesting movie! For as late in his career as william holden made this movie, it was done well! I never knew what and why this attack at the Olympics happened.Published on October 7, 2013 by Carolyn Ziede
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