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One Day in September
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Reviews & Ratings for
One Day in September More at IMDbPro »

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7 out of 10 people found the following review useful:

commentary on commentary plus

Author: Gabriel Relgeiz from washington dc
30 September 2001

First I would like to point out that for me, a 21 year old, One Day was my first exposure to the events, therefore it was informative, for myself atleast. As for the complaint about dehumanizing and downplaying the Palestinians' plight, I believe that argument is garbage. You would have to be LIVING in a vacum not to know their plight, and it's hard to argue that terrorists are human. Besides, the surviving terrorist spoke about talking and joking with the prisoners, a momentary respite for the viewer as it must have been for those involved. As far as absolving the Israeli gov't, the point was obvious and well made, no Israeli and even Jew for that matter could feel safe if the demands were met. And none of criticisms state provide any evidence for their complaints I might add.

That being said, as a Historian, there are some rather speculative aspects to the documentary. For example, Douglas states that the East Germans helped the terrorists scope the place out before hand, but it is unclear whether they knew of their intentions or not (ala the americans helping them in), which is a major fault in the fact presenting. Also rather curious was how Douglas tells how the plane hijacking was a scam, and then states the surviving terrorist confirmed this, which to me indicates they set up this scenario for the interviewee and he merely said 'yes.'

The main point of this documentary is for the viewer to ask how, not why. How could everything fall apart as it did? I left wondering how in Cold War Europe, an extraction team from East Germany, England, France, Russia, ect., could not have been employed within hours and how much did Cold War politics played into that factor. Despite its flaws, One Day is an excellent documentary, as riveting as it is depressing.

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10 out of 16 people found the following review useful:

Intriguing, Tense, Compelling

9/10
Author: Michael Fleischhacker from United States
11 December 2000

"A Day in September" is a compelling and intriguing documentary on the 1972 Munich Summer Olympics in which Arab terrorists took 11 members of the Israeli team hostage. Although we know in advance of the outcome in which all hostages die, the film still keeps the tension high by giving us previously little know and new information and imagry. Shown chronological, the events speak for themselves.

We see West German officials as being too naive and incompetent to handle the crises. Still they refused help from the Israeli government which could have saved lives. Furthermore, we find out that in a half-hearted attempt to cover up their incompetency, they actually conspired to use a fake hijacking to free the surviving terrorists.

We find out that the terrorists had help from East Germany.

We see the terrorists as being as naive as the Germans by actually thinking that their actions would gain them a long term victory. Even when given the chance to justify their actions, the lone surviving member of the terrorist squad reveals these people as basing their value of human life in terms of political necessities.

We learn that arrogant Olympic officials considered the games more important than the lives at stake. The terrorist action was more of an annoyance or inconvenience.

Finally, we see the international media reaction as if this were one big show. One police attempt to free the hostages was aborted because preperations were being carried live on television, thus alerting the terrorists!

But above all, A DAY IN SEPTEMBER serves as a timely warning of the dangers of those to whom the ends justify the means, regardless of the outcome.

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3 out of 3 people found the following review useful:

One Day in September

Author: julie_stroup from United States
8 February 2009

I believe that what happened at the 1972 Olympics established a template for a good deal of future terrorist activity. This incident demonstrated for the first time that you could gain a world stage and the world's attention by committing an atrocity. The press has played a tacit role in terrorism since that time. Terrorists are looking for media coverage and know that the best way to get that is by executing attacks at prominent events or on large population centers.

Re. the film, the fact that the German security forces were unprepared is no surprise as there was no precedent for this type of incident in the past. Sadly, many countries including most western countries are quite prepared now.

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5 out of 7 people found the following review useful:

Tragic and deeply disturbing

Author: CH-14 from Sydney, Australia
10 September 2000

In what appears to be a fairly cynical marketing exercise, this film began showing in Sydney just a couple of weeks before the 200 Games. After reading several articles & excellent reviews, I saw it last night, and I was shocked. Nothing can prepare you for the impact this film has. Knowing the tragic outcome does not take away from the suspense; it doesn't stop you from hoping that the hostages will be saved.

I found the interviews with the widow of one of the murdered hostages, incredibly moving. Her presence in the film grounds it in reality - otherwise, the story seems unbelievable.

I recommend this film to anyone who will be watching the Games -particularly fellow Sydneysiders. All I can say is - I hope we are prepared.

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6 out of 9 people found the following review useful:

what can i say?

Author: Chrysanthepop from Fraggle Rock
29 August 2004

I bought this documentary on DVD. I misread the back and thought that all the hostages were going to be rescued until i saw what actually happened. I was so surprised and I felt so terrible for the hostages and their family. This seemed to be a big gain for the media who broadcast this terrible tragedy as an action-thriller TV-show!The Olympic officials were so careless about what was happening there. Of course, they only cared that the show go on! I was also shocked by the attitude of the West German officials. Most of the hostages could've been saved if the officials were prepared enough! And, they freed the surviving terrorists to cover up their mistakes! I was really disgusted by that. Of course one may argue that it was politics but that's a reason why i hate politics so much. Alright, i think I'm drifting off here. And how could these stupid terrorists think that by hijacking the athletes they will get the Israeli govt to free their prisoners? I was also repulsed by the fact that the surviving terrorists are proud of what they did. My heart goes to the innocent people who have died and their families. There is no excuse to killing an innocent person. No matter what the reason is!

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9 out of 15 people found the following review useful:

A Nutshell Review: (DVD) One Day in September (1999)

9/10
Author: DICK STEEL from Singapore
25 December 2005

With the word and controversy out on Steven Spielberg's Munich, instead of settling for a Hollywood drama of the terrorist event that faithful day of the Olympics, you might want to learn more from this Oscar winning documentary.

This documentary uses real footage throughout, with archived news reels, pictures, photos (of the dead, shot, burnt, otherwise), and interviews with family members. But their real coup would be to have interviewed the one and only surviving terrorist who partook in the horror against the spirit of the Olympics.

It also provides those born after 1972, or too young to remember, a look at the events surrounding that day - from the Olympic organizers who are too arrogant to suspend the games, the indifference of the athletes in the Olympic Village, the lack of adequate security (as compared to today), to the politics behind the entire affairs.

Perhaps what will rile you are the West German's botched attempt to rescue the hostages.

They were surprisingly ill-prepared, deploying untrained teams, lack of proper equipment, and had to recall countless of attempts, before the final embarrassment at the airport, which exposed their severe weakness at handling terrorist incidents. All the hostages were killed in the confrontation, when the terrorists threw hand grenades and emptied bullets into the helicopters they were in. It's only after this that the Germans formed their anti-terror squad, the GSG9 (Counter-strike players will be familiar with this term).

To make matters worse, there was a cover up and collusion between the Germans and the terrorists when the latter apparently hijacked a Lufthansa flight (with only 12 passengers on board, and no women and children), and the former handed over the 3 surviving terrorists of the Munich incident in exchange for safe passage of the flight.

Which is where Spielberg's movie comes in, following squads of Mossad agents hunting down and assassinating those 3 (1 managed to survive countless attempts on his life), together with others who are implicated or involved in the planning of the Munich operation.

This documentary provides an excellent and compelling background, preparing you for the Munich movie coming soon. Watch this.

Code 1 DVD features a relatively barebones version, containing the usual scene selections, subtitles and bonus trailers. But the documentary itself is worth it.

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4 out of 6 people found the following review useful:

excellent and hard-hitting

Author: didi-5 from United Kingdom
5 June 2004

This bleak documentary on the massacre of the Israeli athletes at the Munich Olympics pulls no punches in its depiction of what really did happen. It starts with Anki Spitzer's widow in voiceover recalling her memories of their all-too-brief marriage, before the events of that fateful day unfolds. It seems that these athletes really were political pawns in a global game of chess that ended badly.

Be warned, the documentary doesn't shrink from depicting the aftermath of the last few desperate hours of mistrust and errors. Everyone is at fault here, the officials, the Black September terrorists, perhaps even the athletes themselves - who knows what really caused the mindless and horrible extermination of some many people? Making the story personal brings the tragedy home to the viewer very sharply (and kudos to Michael Douglas for a sensitive narration throughout).

Perhaps the worst thing about viewing 'One Day in September' is that it represents a warning in these terrorist-driven times that such events could always happen again. This film should not just be about what happened then, but about what could happen now and in the future.

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4 out of 6 people found the following review useful:

A striking portrayal of a terrible event

Author: ron johnson (sick_boy420xxx@hotmail.com) from Buffalo, NY, USA
28 April 2001

ONE DAY IN SEPTEMBER is a documentary film about the 1972 Munich Olympic games hostage crisis in which Palestinian terrorists took members of the Israeli team hostage. This film keeps the viewer's interest by telling the story in real-time, with all events in chronological order established by newsreel footage, interviews with people involved and other first-hand accounts. The film ultimately portrays the utter incompetance used by everyone involved to try to resolve the conflict unsuccessfully.

I was not very familiar with the incident before viewing this film, so I personally got a lot out of it. It really is a gripping piece of work, with no sides taken in delivering the true story of what happened that fateful day in September. I would recommend it to anyone interested in the event, or just to history buffs in general. I think almost anyone who sees the film will learn a lot of information about the incident, and I would urge them to do so. Highly Recommended.

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4 out of 7 people found the following review useful:

Olympic tragedy

Author: stephen-357 from United States
26 January 2005

This documentary is a revelation for all of us who witnessed on our television sets the hi-jacking of the 1972 Olympics Games by Palestinian terrorists. The ineptness of the German's in every aspect of this tragedy is almost incomprehensible and certainly reprehensible. To hear the interviews with those Germans involved, one would be inclined to share in their obvious amusement at such incompetence were it not for the murder of 11 Israeli athletes. And so one watches this film in three stages, with sadness, disbelief and then anger. For those not yet initiated to the most tragic event in Olympic history, on September 5, 1972, a week into the Olympic Games in Munich, Palestinian terrorists entered the Olympic compound and held hostage 9 members of the Israeli Olympic team, after already killing two who attempted resistance. Their demands were the release of 200 terrorists held primarily by Israel. Israel maintained its policy of "no negotiations with terrorist" while the Germans, anxious to get on with the games, attempted to negotiate a settlement that was never possible. In the end they bungled a rescue operation and all the hostages were murdered. ONE DAY IN September takes a much closer look at the facts, which should be a revelation for those ignorant of the European history of appeasement and the current crisis between radical Islamists and the West. In their desire not to be a target for terrorism, after having three of the Munich terrorists in custody, Germany arranged for the hijacking of a commercial airliner as a means to release their captives with a fictional hostage exchange scheme. One of them still lives to "proudly" tell his tale. The other two were hunted down and killed by Israel, acts that no doubt sparked condemnation from Germany and the UN.

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Network TV newsmen in old footage

6/10
Author: jjrous from United States
21 April 2014

It's quite striking in watching documentaries with newsreel footage from, say the 1960s, 70s, 80s and 90s that the people who look the most outdated (ridiculously so!) are American network television newsmen. With other people in old footage, fashions and haircuts may change over the decades but no individuals appear clownish in outdated somewhat clothes or grooming.

In any given period, though, network television newsmen are always exaggerated comic caricatures of that period's look.

Another documentary I saw recently in which this was apparent was "How to Survive a Plague."

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