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6 out of 13 people found the following review useful:

Reality Wasn't Quite Bad Enough

Author: Karl Self from Yurp
28 April 2002

"One Day In September" is a gripping movie, unfortunately it is full of false allegations and - plainly - lies and manipulations of truth. I would like to point out the most severe instances:

* "The East German olympics team helped the Palestinian terrorists to stake out the premises at the Olympic village." -- Even though the documentary presents this as a fact (as usual, without offering any evidence), as far as I know this allusion is far from being proven. As is evident from the rest of the movie, the security at the 1972 Olympics was generally rather lax and the Palestinians still didn't have a good idea of the premises (they didn't know much beyond the address of the Israeli trainers and hadn't properly planned their escape).

* "The German army had marksmen, but they couldn't be used because of legal red tape." ... The Bundeswehr only introduced "proper" (i. e. specially trained and equipped) marksmen in 1997, until then all they had was so - called ZF = Zielfernrohrschützen which used a regular G3 automatic rifle with a 4* scope (i. e. a regular army rifle and not a specialised sniper rifle).

* "The German government colluded with hijackers of Lufthansa airliner so that they could get rid of the three surviving terrorists." -- Complete and utter nonsense. How on earth could the German government have aided the hijackers? By phoning them and saying "hi, we would like to get rid of the terrorists, could you please hijack a plane so as to give us a flimsy excuse, and could you please hijack flight LH1234 from Beirut coz there are no women and children on board"? In other words, does anyone really think that the Palestinian terrorists needed an official invitation from the German government? Please don't insult my intelligence.

* "The German government gave in surprisingly quickly considering that the hijackers "only" held 12 hostages." -- That is actually one hostage MORE than the Olympics terrorists held. If the German government was quick to give in, it was most likely because they had anticipated this situation, they were very aware that there was practically nothing they could do about it, and were eager to avoid further bloodshed. Basically the movie is blaming the Germans for not sacrificing 12 of their citizens.

* "German government should have consulted Israeli government for permission before handing over Palestinian terrorists." -- What on earth for? They knew the official Israeli position (i. e. never give in to Palestinian terrorists, no matter what the cost) only too well! Exchanging the terrorists for the hostages certainly wasn't very heroic, but the hijackers held 12 hostages, what choice did the government have?

* "German government was quick to hand over the surviving terrorists because they wanted to cover up their blunder." -- What was there to cover up? ALL the hostages, as well as most of the terrorists, were dead, several policemen had been killed or wounded -- the outcome was obviously catastrophic. The head of Mossad along with other independent witnesses was on site in Fürstenfeldbruck. The entire mess was in plain sight, there was nothing to cover up.

Incidentally, one can equally well speculate that the German authorities had NO interest in a trial (because it would have focussed public interest on blunders that led to the death of all the hostages) as well as that they HAD a vested interest so that Germany could be seen as taking a firm stand against terrorism or to reconcile with Israel. On the other hand, you can also speculate that Israel had no interest in a trial because it would have given the terrorists the chance to propagate their political views during the trial, and it would have placed them in a German prison, out of reach for Mossad who wanted to see them dead. The key word here is "speculation".

* Ulrich Wegener and Hans - Jochen Vogel admitted to the collusion of Germany with the Beirut hijackers ... at least that is clearly the impression given by the movie in the following scene (I have translated it partially from German to English, so the verbiage might not be exact):

"The circumstances of the hijack were suspicious [...] One of the Palestinians opined that the whole affair had been staged by the German government in collusion with the terrorists, to avoid further threats to its citizens and to cover up its blunder."

Ulrich Wegener: "I think it's probably true. At that time the mentality was so."

Hans - Jochen Vogel: "On such questions Willy Brandt [the federal chancellor] always made this gesture [shrugs] ... [meaning] I can't say or do more."

You can't hear what questions the interviewer was asking, but I think it is quite clear that it wasn't "did the German government collude with the Beirut hijackers?". I would opine that this scene is pure, manipulative propaganda. If you have the video or DVD, check it out for yourself.

* "German authorities wanted to move the hostages and terrorists out of the Olympic village as quickly as possible so that the games could continue." -- I doubt whether the hijackers were much concerned about what the German side wanted. The initiative came strictly from the terrorists themselves. As Jamal Al Gashey states in his interview, they had been instructed to finish the "operation" within 24 hours, and to demand to be flown out of Germany before this deadline.

* "Germans should have allowed Mossad in.", "Mossad could have solved the situation and prevented bloodshed." -- Mossad is a secret service, not an anti - terrorism police force, which is noted even by the CIA for its ruthless and plainly illegal actions; allowing them to operate in the Olympic village was therefore clearly out of the question. Even on an international level, specialised anti - terrorism forces only came into existence after, and mostly in response to, the September 1972 attentat. CNN states on its website: "Munich was a watershed. In great measure, it has been since 1972 that the general public has submitted to security searches in airports, arenas and other public events -- and learned to live with the threat of terrorism."

* "Germany was criminally negligent about security at the Olympic games." -- This is equal to saying that JFK was negligent to have driven in an open car through Dallas, or that there should have been anti - aircraft missiles on top of the World Trade Center; with hindsight, it is easy to be prophetic. Clearly, not even the Israeli side envisaged that such an attack would have been possible. Also, as the film states, at least some of its representatives came to Munich as a gesture of "we are still alive, you couldn't kill us". So what should the German police have done -- put them under 24 - hour armed surveillance, and house them in a segregated, high - security unit?

* "German authorites handled the crisis incompetently." -- No question, but at the time, and lacking specialised police forces, who wouldn't have? I think they did the best they could and were clearly very concerned about the security of the Israelis; in fact the movie shows that the then secretary for the interior Hans - Dietrich Genscher even offered himself as a hostage.

* "The Olympics should have been interrupted immediately." -- By the way, this decision was handled by the IOC headed by the American Avery Brundage, NOT by the German side. Personally I agree that the Olympics should have been interrupted immediately, and for a longer mourning period, but I can also see that the IOC didn't want to be seen as giving in to terrorists. Typically for the maliciously manipulative style of the movie, IOC members are being shown at a party eating and drinking at the same time as the voiceover tells of their failure to halt the games immediately, thereby suggesting that they didn't care for the plight of the hostages.

I would also like to reply to some of the statements made by previous reviewers: * One reviewer wrote: the "crazed excited facial expression of the Palestinian killers in the interview near the end of the movie reminds me of the faces of the old nazi on stand at Nuremberg" ... at least in the material shown in the movie, the hijackers didn't exhibit any such behaviour, so the producers of "One Day In September" used slow motion and zoomed in on Jamal Al Gashey as he was squinting, essentially using a very manipulative technique that would make even Britney Spears look menacing. In fact Jamal Al Gashey, who at the time of the crime was not even 20 years old, was somewhat of a poster boy terrorist, smiling and friendly looking. And by the way, I would like to know which scenes of the Nuremberg trial you are referring to -- generally the Nazis on trial there were noted for being rather ordinary - looking. For Christ's sake, this isn't Hollywood where all the villains have scars and wear black hats.

* "I had no idea just how ill-prepared, unprofessional, and callously negligent German law enforcement was during the whole affair." -- "Callously negligent" implies that German police wasn't too bothered about the Israelis... "hey, they're only Jews, har, har", and that's obviously unfounded crap. "Ill - prepared" and "unprofessional" -- at the time specialised anti - terrorism units didn't exist in Europe, and practically at all world wide.

* "[this documentary shows how] the German response to the attack was, well, one which many W.W. II era German leaders would have enjoyed---total indifference, even obstruction." -- Just for your information, apart from the fact that not even the movie suggests German indifference or obstruction, the political party in power at that time was the SPD (Social Democrats), who were the only party to have voted, and unanimously, against Hitler's Ermächtigungsgesetz, and who were massively prosecuted by the Nazis. Then federal chancellor and peace Nobel prize winner Willy Brandt spent the Nazi era in exile. Exactly who are you accusing of what?

There is no doubt that severe mistakes were being made that led to the terrible killing of all the Israeli hostages, and the documentary would of course have been entitled to point them out. Instead, the film makers seemed to think that the reality hadn't been quite gruesome enough, so they produced a movie that is nothing less but modern - day propaganda. That the Academy Of Motion Pictures felt it necessary to honour this effort with an Oscar was, in my opinion, a grave mistake.

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0 out of 2 people found the following review useful:

Events Are Meticulously Recounted But Where's The Insight?

Author: Bill357 from United States
30 May 2009

Having watched the film 21 Hours At Munich the day before, I expected a little more from this and was slightly disappointed. It recounts the actual events very well but little more. Very little time is spent digging into the thoughts and emotions of the principles involved.

I learned a little more about a few of the Israeli athletes but the interview with the only surviving terrorist was actually quite pointless. Nothing much was gained from talking to him except the fact that he's still quite proud of the atrocities he committed against innocent people. I seriously hope a bullet finds this man before he is allowed to die of natural causes.

I agree with other reviewers that blasting Deep Purple's "Child In Time" while showing a slide show of the burnt and shot corpses of Israeli athletes and their captors was very gratuitous. It would have been more effective and more respectful if that scene were silent.

The most disturbing claim of the film (narrator Michael Douglas could hardly hold his disgust) was the charge that Germany colluded with Black September to have the three surviving terrorists released under false pretenses. It's quite ironic that what started as an attempt to clean up the stain of six million murdered Jews ended up not only with more murdered Jews but Germany denying justice for their murders. Hypocrites!

Now what I'd like to see is a documentary about the reprisal killings. The fiction that was Sword Of Gideon and Munich will not suffice.

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0 out of 2 people found the following review useful:


Author: Jonny_Numb from Hellfudge, Pennsylvania
5 January 2007

"One Day in September," the companion film to Simon Reeve's book of the same title, is a shocking and gripping account of the Palestinian terrorist siege that took place at the 1972 Olympics at Munich. The film mixes archival footage, still photographs, interviews with survivors, and, in one instance, computer imaging (to show the layout of Furstenfeldbruck airport, where snipers were positioned to take out the terrorists) to tell a tale that is still as shocking and relevant today as when it initially happened. Along with Steven Spielberg's more embellished docu-thriller "Munich," "One Day in September" is an impressive documentary that chronicles despair and terror, but also quietly graceful uplift (as shown in a reflective conclusion).

7.5 out of 10

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1 out of 4 people found the following review useful:

Good, not great

Author: nm132 from California, USA
26 October 2001

It had plenty of suspense and action, but could have been a little bit better. I was not blown away by it thus it only receives 8/10. Still worth seeing especially if you weren't alive in 1972. The biggest problem I had with it was the narration of Michael Douglas. Surely they could have found someone better.

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1 out of 4 people found the following review useful:

chilling and really well done

Author: cat01uk from Berks, UK
11 August 2001

i saw this documentary as i had to study it 4 my A-Levels. our teacher showed us, and i was shocked and chilled by what i saw, but also amazed that ne1 could do that to people, i.e. what the palestinians did to the israelis.

i thought that this was really well done and it gets what it wants 2 get across affectively. it aims to shock, and it does. the use of Micheal Douglas as the narrator is irrelevent, the voice that they wanted had to be a no-nonsense voice, this is achieved and the viewer as no time during the documentary to comment, only afterwards can they start to discuss it.

what is strange about this is the silence a the end, but it makes u sit up and pay attention. throughout the whole thing there is some sort of sound, at the end their are still images of the aftermath of the blunder at the airport.

i am 1/4 german, and i usually stick up 4 the germans wen people have a go at them, but after watching this, i couldnt nemore. the germans mucked the whole affair so much, no pity can be given to them. it disgusts me that such an major event in the olympic games, and it wasnt handled properaly and they kept the games going through most of the situation.

this documentary is really well done, it gets its message across well, but i cant understand is that the last remaining terrorist was found and interviewed, and yet he is in hiding from the israeli government, if the documentary makers found him, how come the israelis havent?

the documentary starts of unbiased and unopinionated, but at the end it is very opinionated, the germans were in the wrong, the palestinians did really evil things and the israelis were innocent and didnt deserve die. what i didnt like was the fact that the palestinians were received back in2 their country as heros, which just disgusts me. they did wrong, they deprieved families of their fathers, husbands and sons and still they are heros. WHY?

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2 out of 6 people found the following review useful:

A Wonderful and Powerful Telling of the Truth

Author: gfhaas from California USA
7 December 2003

Critics of this movie bristle at the suggestion that their motives are anti-semitic which, of course, they are. Since the day this long-overdue and powerful documentary was released, Palestinian sympathizers and terrorists everywhere have condemned and derided it. But this is an important film for a number of reasons, and prospective viewers ought not to be put off by the thinly-veiled hatred of the blame-Israel-first crowd.

First, the film methodically sets out details of one of the most brutal and indecent mass kidnappings and murders of the last 50 years. It is in this section of the film we learn just how depraved and fanatical is the mind of the Palestinian extremist. The extent of their depravity helps us to understand our own current problems with Arab extremists.

Second, the film reveals what appears to be incomprehensible incompetence on the part of the German government, as they marshal a law-enforcement response that seems deliberately designed to spare terrorists and kill Israeli's. The viewer already knows, of course, that all 11 hostages died, while 3 of the 8 terrorists survived.

Finally, in what turns out to be the films most shocking revelation, we learn the true connection between the German and Palestinian governments, explaining why what happened at Munich was anything but an accident. Seems like the Germans never get tired of seeing Jews killed.

If this all seems improbable to you, then see this film for yourself. My only hope is that by now the remaining terrorist, last seen in Africa, has fallen quietly into the arms of the Mossad.

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0 out of 3 people found the following review useful:

The fathers of all terrorists

Author: torri from CA
22 February 2002

In this movie History is shown. The massacre of innocents evocated in all its brutality and the crazed excited facial expression of the palestinian killers in the interview near the end of the movie reminds me of the faces of the old nazi on stand at Nuremberg.

Palestinians are shown as they are: excusing their brutal murders with

propaganda words. Nazis did the same, as well as communists, and other legions of mass murderers in History. One popular excuse to assassinate innocents is that "to make an omelette, you need to break eggs". But no omelette is made here. Only the horrific silence of the innocent blood spilled and the psychotic excuses of palestinians to justify their assassinations (and their willingness to escape Justice at every cost.

The movie is a good primer to show the face of terrorism. The movie should be the first of a series, each next one dedicated to one of the mass murders of terrorism: one for Lockerbie, one for Athens, one for Rome, one for the American embassies, one for Yemen, one for 9/11.

We must not forget any of the thousands innocents slaughtered by terrorists. We should create this series to show who terrorists are and the nonsensical message they try to broadcast. All the dead and wounded for terrorism are a reminder that the evil of barbarism is always knocking at our doors.

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1 out of 5 people found the following review useful:

Gross Negligence

Author: poochenator from San Diego California
30 July 2001

Until I saw this movie, I had no idea just how ill-prepared, unprofessional, and callously negligent German law enforcement was during the whole affair. The overall picture is one of shocking carelessness that led to needless loss of life. It's hard to identify which party or parties were the most reckless or misguided. Maybe it was the planners of the abortive assault on the Olympic compound, who launched the "attack" in broad daylight so the terrorists could watch it unfold on TV. Or perhaps it was the organizers of the ambush at Furstenfeldbruck airfield, who the deployed the snipers poorly, failed to coordinate their fire, and neglected to have armor on hand if things got sticky. My favorite group is the bogus flight team aboard the jet, who decided their mission was too dangerous and elected to abandon their posts at the crucial moment. That the German government apparently colluded in the subsequent "hijacking" that freed the surviving terrorists seems to make a hideously bungled tragedy into a very ugly crime.

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2 out of 7 people found the following review useful:

Strangely poor documentary of compelling subject

Author: trpdean from New York, New York
23 March 2004

The human depravity of the Palestinians engaged in violence was revealed so long ago. I write today as the European governments condemn Israel for the assassination of the founder of Hamas which has sent so many children and mothers to their graves - both the mothers and children sent to commit suicide, and the mothers and children killed in those suicides. There is a moral abyss in much of Europe where terrorism against Israel is concerned.

It's revealed well in this poorly made documentary about the astonishing cowardice, incompetence and resignation of the German government, armed forces and police. (I am simply staggered that the German police fled from their assigned roles in the German plan to capture/kill the hijackers on the airplane -- out of stark craven fear of being hurt. Amazing!).

The documentary is poorly made - we seldom know the names or the roles of the speakers. There is no explanation why we see so much of the domestic life of one of the victims and nothing of the others. There is an enormous lapse in the narrative of the scene at the airport after the helicopters are blown up and sprayed with gunfire. (Presumably the remaining hostages simply surrendered - but I have to guess). The most significant revelation of the movie is the alleged complicity of the German government in a subsequent hijacking and their quick surrender to the ostensibly bogus "demands" of the hijackers - yet we hear so little on this subject. (Why not interview everyone at the top of the German security services at the time?). The worst part of the documentary is the grotesque and jarring rock music played at the most inappropriate times.

However, the subject itself is so dramatic, the repeatedly pathetic reaction of the German police so astounding, that the film is still compelling to watch. (Yet again, WHY was the German Army not permitted to participate in the siege of the hijackers at the Olympics site? We are simply told they were not - as is typical in this movie, without explanation).

As far as the demand by some reviewers here for more context into the Israeli-Palestinian dispute, the comments are absurd - should we have had more "context" into whether Jews were really demons in the movies, Schindler's List or Shoah? How about more context on whether 14 million Ukrainians really did deserve to die of imposed famine in the USSR in a movie about Stalin? Such demands are sickening in the face of this barbarity.

The objections by "Karl" to the movie are mostly fallacious. Perhaps he saw the movie too long ago, for he repeatedly incorrectly quotes the movie and then objects to the fallacy he introduces!

It's unfortunate that this poor documentary may be the only one that emerges in which there is an interview of the bestial sole living hijacker. (I kept thinking as I watched, "why can't the interviewer just gun him down as he speaks"?). That hijacker does provide interesting information - particularly about how long before the whole operation was organized, the ease with which they moved in the Olympic Village, and of course the utter moral depravity of the actions taken.

So, I'd recommend seeing it - for the compelling subject matter and the producer's ability to cadge an interview with the hijacker - but it does amaze me that it won an Oscar because it's a pretty bad documentary.

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4 out of 11 people found the following review useful:

thankfully not everybody in the media is blindly left-wing

Author: mickoc from Australia
30 December 2005

It hardly comes as a surprise to find that many a rabid left wingers nose will be firmly knocked out of joint with a film such as 'one day in September'. No rose tinted spectacles here. This is not an Al jazeera offering. They are forced to view the murderous nihilistic reality of their beloved freedom fighters. So faced with cold hard facts which cannot be readily explained away they try another defense, namely accuse the film of being one sided and not show the situation of the Palestinians.

One question: Is it a documentary about Palestine or about Munich in 1972? To be fair there is quiet a bit early on to put the situation in some sort of perspective and the surviving terrorist and his opinions are given plenty of air time.

You don't hear much crying from the same quarters decrying one sidedness or bias when Michael Moore makes one of his ridiculous, so called, documentaries. I think most people are familiar with the Palestinian situation, but i, for one, had not heard anything about the madness that happened in Munich in 1972. When Kevin McDonald set out to make a documentary on what happened there then its hardly surprising that we see a film dealing with the events on that terrible day. If he set out to make a documentary on Palestine and how it was taken off the Arabs by the Jew's then he would have set to that task and not dwelt too much on how the Jew's had been banished from there two thousand years ago after moses had been promised this and that.

As with the BBC journalist crying when Arafat was lifted out of his compound for the last time or those who would attempt a defense of the Palestinian murder spree in Munich there seems to be a different reality or level of understanding needed when it comes to issues about Palestine or its people so its hardly surprising that a documentary like this would raise hackles.

This is an excellent film.

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