The Taking of Flight 847: The Uli Derickson Story (1988)

TV Movie  |   |  Drama  |  2 May 1988 (USA)
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This made-for-television film documents the takeover of the TWA airliner in flight from Athens to Rome in 1985. The focus is on the flight attendant, Uli Derickson, whose courage and hope ... See full summary »



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Nominated for 5 Primetime Emmys. Another 1 win & 1 nomination. See more awards »
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Cast overview, first billed only:
Uli Derickson
Sandy McPeak ...
Captain Testrake
Phil Maresca
Laurie Walters ...
Joseph Nasser ...
Ben Zimmerman
Valorie Armstrong ...
Woman in red coat
Robert Stethem
Lynn Tufeld ...
Mrs. Weisman
Edwin Gerard ...
Dr. Panos
Bridget Hoffman ...
Mrs. Panos


This made-for-television film documents the takeover of the TWA airliner in flight from Athens to Rome in 1985. The focus is on the flight attendant, Uli Derickson, whose courage and hope helped save all but one of the passengers on the plane. The movie chronicles the first 2 days and the aftermath. Written by mike407

Plot Summary | Add Synopsis


Take-Off Into Terror.




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Release Date:

2 May 1988 (USA)  »

Also Known As:

The Flight  »

Company Credits

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Technical Specs


Sound Mix:


Aspect Ratio:

1.33 : 1
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Did You Know?


The real Uli Derickson acted as consultant for this film. See more »


When Uli reads the seat allocation of the pregnant woman and her husband they are in 'B' and 'C' seats, the next scene Uli is settling them into the 'D' and 'E' seats (other side of the aisle) - an earlier reference to the 'A' seat being on 'their right' supports this. See more »


Castro: Understand? You stay with me, we agree? You stay.
Purser Uli Derickson: Don't hurt anyone.
Castro: We agree?
Purser Uli Derickson: Just don't hurt anyone else.
See more »

Crazy Credits

Disclaimer on the end credits: "Trans World Airlines has provided technical assistance but in no way has endorsed the production and is not responsible for the truth or accuracy of the content of this program." See more »


Referenced in Rewind This! (2013) See more »

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User Reviews

I never was on the New Jersey!
27 April 2007 | by (brooklyn NY) – See all my reviews

****SPOILERS**** Moments after TWA Flight 847 from Athens to Rome reached cruising level the plane was suddenly hijacked by two Arab fanatics Castro & Saiid, Eli Danker & Joseph Nasser. The two hijackers demand that some 700 suspected Arab terrorists held in Israeli jails be released or else they'll bring the plane, and it's 152 passengers and crew, down in the Mediterranean Sea by detonating a bunch of hand grenades that they have on them. The hijackers waste no time at all in brutalizing the passengers and crew and almost creating a panic. That in itself would have brought the passenger plane down without the use of explosives if it wasn't for the chief flight attendant on the plane Uli Derickson, Lindsey Wagner. Uli put herself between the hijackers in trying to keep both them and the terrified passengers from overreacting and causing the plane to tailspin and crash into the sea.

The film "Flight 847" shows the kind of courage that's so rare in most movies. In that we have Uli not only risking her life over and over again in order to keep both Castro & Saiid from bringing down the plane and killing everyone on it but trying, and with some success, to get the two desperate men to at least let a number of the passengers, women & children, on the plane go. Uli at one point refused to reveal which of the passengers, by the names on their passports, are either Isralie or Jewish. This action again had Uli risking her life knowing full well the fate that would be in store for them at the hands of the vindictive and hateful Arab hijackers; Who's country Lebanon was bombed invaded and occupied by Israeli Army three years ago.

It turned out that the person who got the worst of it among the passengers was US Navy man Robert Stethen, whom the film was dedicated to, played by Steven Eckholdt. Stethen was savagely beaten by the two hijackers so all throughout the film. Later at the Beirut Airport, battered and almost unconscious, he was shot to death and dumped out on the tarmac to show everyone, on and off the plane, that hijackers meant business. It turned out that the hatred that the two, especially Castro, had for poor Robert Stethen was that him being in the US Navy. Castro & Saiid held Stethen responsible for the bombardment of Beirut by the 16 inch guns of the US Navy's giant battleship the USS New Jersey that killed Castro's wife and infant daughter.

It took all of Uli's skills as a negotiator as well as her unbelievably courage to keep all of the passengers and crew, with the exception of Robert Stethen, to get out of this hell, that turned out to be Flight 847, alive. Even though a number were brutally beaten by the two hijackers but survived thus making the best of a very very bad situation. The hijackers were reinforced at Beirut by some dozen other members of their group and , finding out that the Israeli Army was about to air-dropped and storm the plane, had Flight 847 take off again and land in Algiers.It's there when the nightmare finally ended for Uli and the remaining 151 passengers and crew with the release of the head man of the hijack group Ali Atwa, Emile Beaucard. Atwa incidentally was apprehend before the hijacking ever took place by the Athens Airport security guards before he could ever get on the plane.

One of, if not the only, few light moments in the movie was when after Uli sang a song, that both Castro & Saiid insisted on, to break the tension on the flight that Saiid was so moved by it that he asked her to marry him. Which to a shocked and surprised Uli, who was already married with a young son, would have been as bad, or even worse, then having her go down in flames together with Flight 847 in the middle of the Mediterranean.

The movie "Flight 847" didn't have the usual and predictable Hollywood happy ending with the calvary, or actors Chuck Norris & Lee Mavin, raiding to the rescue and taking out all the bad guys like in the fictitious but exciting version of Flight 847 in "The Delta Force". It did have a true to life hero, or heroine, in the true story of a young woman who risked her life. She did that by standing down a plane full of desperate and suicidal hijackers and thus single-handedly saving the lives of practically all of the passengers and crew on board that she was responsible for without a shot, on her part, being fired. Which would be something that even the elite Delta Force couldn't do with all the state of the arts arms and unlimited supply of ammunition that they'ed have at their disposable.

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