On December 21, 1988, Pan American Airways flight 103, a Boeing 747 carrying 259 people on a London-New York flight, was brought down by a bomb over Lockerbie, Scotland, killing all on board, plus 11 people on the ground. This film goes back several years before the bombing, starting with Pan Am's botched "Alert" safety program to boost public confidence. Then, the accidental downing of an Iranian airliner by a US Navy warship pushed an extremist group to prepare a counter-attack, with a bomb disguised as a radio cassette player... while "Alert" is not heeding to the numerous safety concerns. Written by
Pan Am Flight 103 taking-off from Heathrow shows a Boeing 747SP, recognizable by its very short fuselage, when all the other scenes accurately show a Boeing 747-100. See more »
[following a bomb threat involving a Finnish woman]
Other than screening Finnish passengers, Pan Am's procedures at Frankfurt Airport remained unchanged. There was no briefing of security personnel to update them on threat information.
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This a brutally honest, compellingly accurate, brilliantly crafted film. It's not exactly a docudrama. But it examines the facts behind the Lockerbee bombing in a dramatic fashion without preaching. And who among us, whether in the airline business, cigarettes, cat food or something else has not been trapped in the pressures of the sort of corporate culture that is so well documented here. Do you resign in conscience or do you reluctantly do what you're told in order to save your job. There are no real bad guys here; just a lot of disillusioned ones. Even the terrorists have their redeeming qualities. A whole lot of people got trapped in a situation that inevitably took on a life (and death) of its own. I am astounded this superb film has had such limited exposure. But don't expect to see it as in flight entertainment.
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