In July 1976, an Air France flight from Tel-Aviv to Paris via Athens was hijacked and forced to land in Entebbe, Uganda. The Jewish passengers were separated and held hostage in demand to ... See full summary »



(dialogue), | 1 more credit »

On Disc

at Amazon

Nominated for 1 Oscar. See more awards »
Learn more

People who liked this also liked... 

Raid on Entebbe (TV Movie 1976)
Action | Drama | History
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 6.8/10 X  

True story of a daring Israeli commando assault on the Entebbe Airport in Uganda to free hostages of a terrorist hijacking.

Director: Irvin Kershner
Stars: Peter Finch, Charles Bronson, Yaphet Kotto
Victory at Entebbe (TV Movie 1976)
Action | Drama | History
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 6.1/10 X  

In 1976, terrorists high-jack an Air France airplane and divert it to Uganda where they demand to exchange their hostages for fellow terrorists held in Israeli jails.

Director: Marvin J. Chomsky
Stars: Helmut Berger, Linda Blair, Kirk Douglas
Sallah (1964)
Comedy | Drama
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.4/10 X  

The sharp, often hilarious satire that became the most successful film in Israeli history is about new immigrants Sallah and his family, who are left in a shack near their promised ... See full summary »

Director: Ephraim Kishon
Stars: Haim Topol, Geula Nuni, Gila Almagor
Kazablan (1973)
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7/10 X  

An embittered gang leader seeks the respect of his neighbors and the love of a young woman.

Director: Menahem Golan
Stars: Yehoram Gaon, Efrat Lavie, Arieh Elias
Mivtza Savta (TV Movie 1999)
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 8.2/10 X  

Mivtza Savta ("Operation Grandma") is a satirical Israeli comedy about three very different brothers trying to get around many obstacles to bury their grandmother on her kibbutz. The story ... See full summary »

Director: Dror Shaul
Stars: Rami Heuberger, Ami Smolartchik, Tzach Shpitzen
Zohi Sdom (2010)
Comedy | History
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 6.6/10 X  

When ancient Sodom is doomed to destruction due to its people's corrupt ways, Lot is the only righteous man destined to be spared.

Directors: Adam Sanderson, Muli Segev, and 1 more credit »
Stars: Orna Banai, Assi Cohen, Maor Cohen
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 8.1/10 X  

Sergio Konstanza, a Swindler, owes money to Mr. Hasson. He escapes to the desert where he joins a wacky army reserve unit whose Sergeant is engaged to one of Mr. Hasson's Daughters.

Director: Assi Dayan
Stars: Gavri Banai, Shaike Levi, Yisrael Poliakov
Drama | Romance
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.1/10 X  

As a family from India moves in to a desert neighborhood in Southern Israel in the 1960's, the family's eldest, beautiful daughter discovers friendship and romance with the lovely local ... See full summary »

Director: Avi Nesher
Stars: Neta Garty, Liraz Charhi, Aure Atika
Comedy | Drama | Romance
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.1/10 X  

The movie is a romantic comedy which takes place in Israel during the Austerity period of the 1950s. The movie's hero is Alex, a 13 year old boy who is about to attend his Bar Mitzvah. Alex... See full summary »

Director: Boaz Davidson
Stars: Eitan Anshel, Sharon Hacohen, Uri Kabiri
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.4/10 X  

The story is about two twin brothers, Azriel and Gavriel (both played by Yehuda Barkan). Azriel is a shy and religious Jew who works in a fruit shop in Jaffa. Gavriel, is a hoodlum and a ... See full summary »

Director: Boaz Davidson
Stars: Yehuda Barkan, Joseph Shiloach, Ze'ev Revach
Beaufort (2007)
Action | Drama | War
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 6.8/10 X  

The story of a group of Israeli soldiers stationed in an outpost prior to the withdrawal of forces of 2000.

Director: Joseph Cedar
Stars: Alon Aboutboul, Adi Adouan, Yaakov Ahimeir
Documentary | History
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 8.6/10 X  

The story of the hijacking of Air France Flight AF139 on 27 June 1976 from Athens and the subsequent mission to rescue the hostages from the airport terminal at Entebbe in Uganda. The movie... See full summary »

Director: Eyal Sher
Stars: Janet Almog, Michel Bacos, Ehud Barak


Cast overview, first billed only:
Nurit Aviv
Shuki (as Assaf Dayan)
Family Representative
Gadi Arnon (as Shai K. Ophir)
Reuven Bar-Yotam ...
Avraham Ben-David
Gavriel, a passnger (as Gaby Amrani)
Mark Heath ...
Henri Czarniak ...
Michel Bacos
Rolf Eden ...
Air France Co-Pilot
Alma Raviv (as Shoshana Shani)
Dan Zamir


In July 1976, an Air France flight from Tel-Aviv to Paris via Athens was hijacked and forced to land in Entebbe, Uganda. The Jewish passengers were separated and held hostage in demand to release many terrorists held in Israeli prisons. After much debate, the Israeli government sent an elite commando unit to raid the airfield and release the hostages. The film is based on the true facts and follows the events since the flight's takeoff and until the hostages' return to Israel. Written by Yuval Kfir <>

Plot Summary | Add Synopsis


The world watched... The world waited... And then the world cheered


Action | Drama | History


PG | See all certifications »




| | | |

Release Date:

27 January 1978 (USA)  »

Also Known As:

Operation Thunderbolt  »

Filming Locations:


Box Office


$2,500,000 (estimated)

Company Credits

Show detailed on  »

Technical Specs


Sound Mix:



Aspect Ratio:

1.66 : 1
See  »

Did You Know?


Col. Yonatan Netanyahu was the older brother of Benjamin Netanyahu, the future Israeli prime minister. See more »


Exterior shots of an actual Air France Airbus A300 are accurately used at the beginning of the movie. Once the plane lands in Benghazi and for the rest of the movie, a Boeing 707 in grossly inaccurate Air France colors is shown, supposedly depicting the same aircraft. See more »


Wilfried Boese: [when offered to drink some champagne] Thank you. But I have my own label.
See more »


Edited into Operation Thunderbolt: Entebbe (2000) See more »


Eretz Tzvi
Lyrics by Telma Alyagon-Roz
Music by Dov Seltzer
Performed by Yehoram Gaon
See more »

Frequently Asked Questions

See more (Spoiler Alert!) »

User Reviews

OPERATION THUNDERBOLT {U.S. Theatrical Version} (Menahem Golan, 1977) **1/2
9 February 2014 | by (Naxxar, Malta) – See all my reviews

Following my recent viewing of Israeli director Moshe' Mizrahi's French movie MADAME ROSA – the 1977 Oscar winner for Best Foreign Language Film – I decided to watch the only remaining contender in that category sooner rather than later. As it turned out, the official Israeli entry was the weakest of the five final selections and I am guessing that its sheer topicality – being based on a very recent hijacking episode that had grabbed world headlines – was what made it jump ahead of other notable competitors among the 24 international Oscar submissions, namely Larisa Shepitko's THE ASCENT, Wim Wenders' THE American FRIEND, Bo Widerberg's THE MAN ON THE ROOF (1976), Paul Verhoeven's SOLDIER OF ORANGE and Krzysztof Zanussi's CAMOUFLAGE.

For the record, my relative disappointment with OPERATION THUNDERBOLT has just been exacerbated by my discovering that I had acquired and watched the U.S. Theatrical Version (culled from a TV screening on the MGM channel) – which has characters mostly speaking their lines in English, barring the occasional lapses into French and German – rather than the original version which has characters (be they Israeli, German, French or African) rightfully speaking in their native tongue...and which is available as a "Full Movie" video on "You Tube" and on a renowned torrent download site! Having said that, craggy-faced chief hijacker Klaus Kinski's equally distinctive voice can be heard in both versions but, apart from his trigger-happy cohort Sybil Danning and nemesis Assaf Dayan (as the Israeli commando second-in-command), he is the only recognizable name in the cast...that is, if one is to discount the personal, silent appearances of the Israeli politicians that faced the crisis in real life, Yitzhak Rabin and Shimon Peres; in any case, the acting honours here are stolen by Yehoram Gaon as the ill-fated commando leader Yonatan Netanyahu (who, at one point, is amusingly seen reading Alistair MacLean's "Circus" - a novel I also read myself as a kid). This sharply contrasts with the contemporaneous, star-studded, rival re-enactments of the events for U.S. TV, namely VICTORY AT ENTEBBE (1976; which I had intended watching last year for Burt Lancaster's centenary but had to jettison it due to time constraints) and RAID ON ENTEBBE (1977) – both of which, incidentally, also exist in longer and shorter edits.

While the fact that the viewer is aware from the outset of the narrative's outcome can perhaps lead to the film feeling rather predictable, the presence of a surprisingly restrained Kinski (billed "Kinsky" in the all-English opening credits!) and Danning make up for that; on the other hand, while the final assault on Entebbe airport occurs towards the very end of the film and can thus appear to be a long time coming, the swift depiction of it is quite electrifying (especially the sight of Kinski's twitching body as it expires early on in a hail of machine-gun bullets). Seeing the names of commercial 1980s Hollywood entity Cannon Group founders Menahem Golan and Yoram Globus among the makers of this film somewhat undermine its proposed authenticity (shot with the full co-operation of the Israeli government and Air Force); indeed OPERATION THUNDERBOLT (which, decades afterwards, also became the name of a video game!) succeeds more as an action movie than a psychological or political thriller which might not have been congenial to this particular subject but serves as a veritable template for the later Cannon Group star-studded blockbuster THE DELTA FORCE (1986; also helmed by Golan and easily Chuck Norris' most prestigious star vehicle) complete with overblown rousing music throughout.

0 of 0 people found this review helpful.  Was this review helpful to you?

Message Boards

Recent Posts
Soundtrack for Mivtsa Yonatan harrisoncohen
Discuss Mivtsa Yonatan (1977) on the IMDb message boards »

Contribute to This Page

Create a character page for: