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The Tragedy of Flight 103: The Inside Story (1990)

Examination of the events that led to the 1988 bombing of Pan Am flight 103 over Lockerbie, Scotland.





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Cast overview, first billed only:
Edward C. Acker
Fred Ford
Harry Ditson ...
Martin Shugrue
Harry Pizer
Col. Wilfred Wood
Oliver Koch
Richard Howard ...
Berndt Meyer
Michael Cronin ...
Martin Hübner
Stephen Hoye ...
Tommy Dome
Emma Martin ...
Beate Franzki
Peter Darling ...
Profile Screener 1
Sandra Butterworth ...
Profile Screener 2
Rivca Rubin ...
Alert Employee
Martyn Read ...
X Ray Scanner


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 Sergio Ortega

Plot Summary | Add Synopsis


Documentary | Drama


PG | See all certifications »




Release Date:

9 December 1990 (USA)  »

Also Known As:

Why Lockerbie?  »

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Did You Know?


The landing scene at Heathrow, supposedly taking place on a Boeing 727, was filmed from the flight deck of a Boeing 747, recognizable due to the extreme height of the runway lights from the ground. Also, one of the pilots even activates the thrust reversers and says "Four lights on" when the Boeing 727 only has three engines. See more »


Ulrich Weber: Koch, you typed up that agenda for tomorrow's meeting?
Oliver Koch: Yes, I'm just doing it. Ulli?
Ulrich Weber: Hm?
Oliver Koch: I noticed there's nothing in here about security.
Ulrich Weber: It's an administrative session!
Oliver Koch: Well, I was just thinking about that warning we got a couple of weeks back.
Ulrich Weber: What are you talking about?
Oliver Koch: Well, you know, that... they picked up that cell and terrorist setup in Neuss. Something about bombs in tape recorders.
Ulrich Weber: Pan Am didn't expect us to do anything special with that one.
Oliver Koch: I recommend it should be on today's agenda...
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User Reviews

A decent portrayal but lacks some emotion!
1 September 2003 | by (United States) – See all my reviews

As somebody who takes interest in PAn Am 103's tragedy, I find this film plays around the publicly known events. If I had any say, I would have tried to focus on the human emotions of those who lost their relatives and friends in this crash. The film chronicles the events preceding the tragedy. I wished they would have made a conscious effort on examining the humans lost on 103 like on 9-11. Pan Am 103 was really the beginning of a war on terrorism for us. Pan Am 103 was our first warning which we ignored foolishly. If we had paid more attention to the events preceding the tragedy, we could have prevented 9-11. Pan Am 103 did not crash against a building but a small street in Lockerbie, Scotland. The residents there have never recovered emotionally neither have the families of Pan Am 103. 15 years later, we're still asking what happened. I have to say it's first rate casting with Timothy West, Peter Boyle, and others. It seems terrible that nobody paid close attention and we all have to ask why we didn't pay any close attention now. It's still a good film about the tragedy. I think they should have showed the names of those lost on the darkest day of the year.

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