Mivtsa Yonatan (1977)

PG  |   |  Action, Drama, History  |  27 January 1978 (USA)
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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 »



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Cast overview, first billed only:
Yehoram Gaon ...
Gila Almagor ...
Nurit Aviv
Shuki (as Assaf Dayan)
Arik Lavie ...
Shmuel Rodensky ...
Family Representative
Shaike Ophir ...
Gadi Arnon (as Shai K. Ophir)
Reuven Bar-Yotam ...
Avraham Ben-David
Gabi Amrani ...
Gavriel, a passnger (as Gaby Amrani)
Mark Heath ...
Henri Czarniak ...
Michel Bacos
Rolf Eden ...
Air France Co-Pilot
Shoshana Shani-Lavie ...
Alma Raviv (as Shoshana Shani)
Oded Teomi ...
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 <yuval@valor.com>

Plot Summary | Add Synopsis


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


Action | Drama | History


PG | See all certifications »




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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
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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 »


Alma Raviv: Ephraim, what are you staring at?
Ephraim Raviv: They look like Arabs.
Alma Raviv: Oh stop it. They're tourists, just like us.
Ephraim Raviv: I don't trust them.
Alma Raviv: Stop your nonsense. Take your book out and read. Really.
See more »


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

Frequently Asked Questions

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User Reviews

Gotta hand it to the Israelis with this one
2 November 2002 | by (Los Angeles, CA) – See all my reviews

While peace in the middle east seems as far away now as it did in 1949, you gotta hand it to em that they sure can still make a hell of a good movie.

While the actual operation of the 1976 rescue of the 100+ hostages held at Entebbe airport is not probed into as much with this film as with RAID ON ENTEBBE, this is the infinitely more fun one of the two to watch. Dov Seltzer's music is really the star with this film, particularly with the really cool opening theme which plays in many variations whenever Yoni is onscreen and the theme that plays at Entebbe airport whenever it shows the guards standing around, etc. The music works best during Yoni's death scene (this is no spoiler since the events of the film are historically accurate, and pretty well-known too) where it really takes his usual theme but drags it out to sound all tragic. Gotta love the ultra-70's style filming and editing. Lots of zoom-ins and odd use of models, stock footage, and stand-ins which is sometimes cheesy, but always entertaining in some way. It's all pretty standard stuff until the ending battle, which is handled in a very high-octane way as opposed to RAID ON ENTEBBE, where they did a lot of standing around and things tended to work out better (It would be more interesting to know which of the two is more historically accurate).

Klaus Kinski and Sybil Danning are the other stars here. Their problem though is that they are underused. Klaus doesn't act quite crazy enough (though he does a lot of running around and has a really cool death scene), and Sybil Danning's stunning unearthly beauty is not exploited enough, hidden behind poofy hair, bulky dress, and a large pair of sunglasses. One might be angry at watching this and not getting their full Kinski or Danning's-worth, but it's better than not having them here at all.

The authenticity involved in much of the rest of the film is amazing, with Rabin and Peres doing some acting (though they never speak, on-camera and the scenes where people are talking to them look suspiciously like they used doubles) and supposedly 12 of the original hostages returned to reprise their roles in this film. However, it goes out of its way to demonize the PLO, Che Guevaranians, and Idi Amin (though with him that's another story). Everything with the villains is a lot darker and more mean-spirited than in RAID ON ENTEBBE, but it all works to make this film more fun. Just take it as entertainment and not as fact, because of course it was the winners that made this. Just a fun and fast-paced little forgotten movie. Where's the DVD?

12 of 16 people found this review helpful.  Was this review helpful to you?

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