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Tailspin: Behind the Korean Airliner Tragedy (1989)

TV Movie  |   |  Thriller  |  20 August 1989 (USA)
6.9
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Ratings: 6.9/10 from 98 users  
Reviews: 7 user | 2 critic

Chronicle of the shooting down of a Korean passenger plane by Soviet air force on 1st September 1983. Over 280 people died in this incident.

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Title: Tailspin: Behind the Korean Airliner Tragedy (TV Movie 1989)

Tailspin: Behind the Korean Airliner Tragedy (TV Movie 1989) on IMDb 6.9/10

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Cast

Cast overview, first billed only:
...
Richard Burt
...
Maj. Hank Daniels
...
John Lenczowski
...
Gen. Tyson
Otto Jarman ...
Clark
Bradley Lavelle ...
Jamie
Kieron Jecchinis ...
Coles
Matthew Freeman ...
Aaron
Andrea Browne ...
Operative
James Tillitt ...
Operative
...
Sgt. Duffy
Debora Weston ...
Carol
Colin Bruce ...
Dave
Marc Smith ...
Mort
Bill Bailey ...
Military
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Chronicle of the shooting down of a Korean passenger plane by Soviet air force on 1st September 1983. Over 280 people died in this incident.

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airplane accident | See All (1) »

Genres:

Thriller

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Release Date:

20 August 1989 (USA)  »

Also Known As:

Coded Hostile  »

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Soundtracks

REQUIEM
Written by Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart
Performed by The Leipzig Radio Chorus and The Dresden State Orchestra
Conducted by Peter Schreier
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User Reviews

 
Engaging Docudrama
4 October 2005 | by (Eastlake, Ohio) – See all my reviews

This oddball flick showed up on late-nite programming fairly often in the early 90's. The demise of the Soviet Union--and it's loss as a defense industry boogie-man--has made red-scare films pretty passé. This effort by screenwriter Brian Phelan attempted to walk the line between bashing the Russkies and revealing US intelligence gathering techniques.

I found the film interesting for the latter aspect, as I once worked aboard the ferret planes depicted orbiting the Soviet coastline. Overall, I found the script in some cases surprisingly accurate in certain details about comint interception practices. Of course, there are the almost obligatory instances of scenery chewing for dramatic emphasis: notably the scene in the ops center where the resident linguistic "expert" has to interpret a communication intercept of critical importance, as if there is only one such person on station.

The actual details of what happened that night over Sakhalin Island will probably never be fully laid out in public. Wild speculation has been put forward by several authors as unvarnished truth. From my own experience, which definitely included the use of airborne surveillance aircraft to intentionally provoke Soviet air defenses, I have to think that was a major element in the affair that was never, for obvious reasons, fully examined. The political climate of Washington at that time, the eagerness of hotshot intelligence officers to boost their own careers at the cost of lives on the other side of the globe also goes a long way toward explaining the reckless decision-making portrayed in the film.


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