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One Day in September (1999)

7.9
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Ratings: 7.9/10 from 4,847 users   Metascore: 82/100
Reviews: 60 user | 55 critic | 20 from Metacritic.com

The Palestinian terrorist group Black September holds Israeli athletes hostage at the 1972 Summer Olympic Games in Munich.

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Won 1 Oscar. Another 3 wins & 6 nominations. See more awards »
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Cast

Cast overview, first billed only:
...
Himself - Narrator (voice)
Ankie Spitzer ...
Herself
Jamal Al Gashey ...
Himself
Gerald Seymour ...
Himself
Axel Springer ...
Himself
Gad Zahari ...
Himself
Shmuel Lalkin ...
Himself
Manfred Schreiber ...
Himself
Walter Troger ...
Himself
Ulrich K. Wegener ...
Himself
Hans-Dietrich Genscher ...
Himself
Schlomit Romajo ...
Herself
Magdi Gahary ...
Himself
Zvi Zamir ...
Himself
Dan Shillon ...
Himself
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Storyline

The 1972 Munich Olympics were interrupted by Palestinian terrorists taking Israeli athletes hostage. Besides footage taken at the time, we see interviews with the surviving terrorist, Jamal Al Gashey, and various officials detailing exactly how the police, lacking an anti-terrorist squad and turning down help from the Israelis, botched the operation. Written by Jon Reeves <jreeves@imdb.com>

Plot Summary | Add Synopsis


Motion Picture Rating (MPAA)

Rated R for some graphic violent images | See all certifications »

Parents Guide:

 »
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Details

Official Sites:

Country:

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Language:

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Release Date:

24 August 2000 (Australia)  »

Also Known As:

Egy nap szeptemberben  »

Box Office

Opening Weekend:

$15,149 (USA) (17 November 2000)

Gross:

$155,158 (USA) (23 February 2001)
 »

Company Credits

Show detailed on  »

Technical Specs

Runtime:

Sound Mix:

Aspect Ratio:

1.85 : 1
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Did You Know?

Trivia

Director Kevin MacDonald finally managed to persuade the surviving terrorist Jamal Al Gashey to talk on camera after eight months of fitful negotiation and numerous aborted meetings in secret locations. Al Gashey specified certain conditions prior to their actual meeting in an Arab country insisting MacDonald was to travel alone, not to inform anybody where he was going and provide a wig and moustache for Al Gashey to disguise himself when in front of the camera. The interview piece used in the documentary was filmed by somebody Al Gashey trusted. See more »

Quotes

Walter Troger: I didn't like Issa of course because of what he was doing but I could have liked him when I met him elsewhere. He was not violent, I would have even trusted him in his word, not his compatriots and his partners. They were, like, what we say in German, Galgenvogel, gallows birds. But Issa was different from them.
See more »

Connections

Featured in The 50 Greatest Documentaries (2005) See more »

Soundtracks

God Moving Over the Face of the Waters
Performed by Moby
Courtesy of Elektra Entertainment Group
by arrangement with Warner Special Products
copyright 1995 Mute Records Ltd.
Licensed courtesy of Mute Records Ltd.
Composed by Moby (as Richard Hall)
Copyright Little Idiot Music
Used by kind permission of Warner/Chappell Music Ltd.
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User Reviews

 
A Fine Documentary
22 May 2004 | by See all my reviews

"One Day in September" is a phenomenal documentary. Its focus is on the hostage situation during the 1972 Munich Olympics when Palestinian terrorists took Israeli athletes prisoner. The film does something which I think any great documentary should when it covers or explores historical events. It frames the entire hostage crisis in a larger context. Yes, the film covers 21 hours of September 5th on which the hostage situation commenced and (one could say) resolved itself. However, in order to understand the reactions of the German government, the Israeli government, the media and the Olympic Games' fans and participants, the film discusses the German desire to create the atmosphere of peace to erase the stigma of the 1936 Olympics, then full of Fascist propaganda. It touches on the ongoing Israel-Arab conflict. It touches on the meaning of the Olympics.

"One Day in September" never strays from its focus, however, which is to document the hostage crisis and what it meant. What makes the film great, aside from its intelligent approach to the subject, is how well the atmosphere of the hostage situation is carried across. By the end of the film you do feel like you've watched the news for a day, glued to the TV screen hoping that the people will make it out alive. Watching it, you are reminded of how ill-prepared states are for terrorist attacks (still rings true even recently) because of the ulterior motives of statesmen. A lot of what happens at the state, political level, happens because it has to look good. The Germans were unprepared for the terrorists because they thought that extreme police security would welcome images of pre-War Olympics in Germany. They wanted to appear a certain way. The same went for how they handled the crisis.

The film, like many terrorist crises, ends with a tragedy. What remains with the viewer is not only the deep sadness at how one of the most peaceful world events turns into one of the most hateful, but also how incredibly contemporary those events from over thirty years ago still seem.


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