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The Hamburg Cell (2004)

A fictionalized account of the September 11 hijackers.



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Cast overview, first billed only:
Maral Kamel ...
Mohammed Atta (as Kamel)
Aysel (as Agni Tsangaridou)
Ramzi bin al Shibh
Kamel Boutros ...
Mohammed Atta (as Kamel)
Tamer Doghem ...
Omar El-Saeidi ...
Mark Clifton ...
Flight Simulation Instructor
Salim (as Navíd Akhavan)
Joel Kirby ...
FBI Agent
Pan Am Instructor


Ziad Jarrah, a young Lebonese man from a good family goes to Germany to attend college and starts dating a Turkish girl named Aysel. Although not very religious and accustomed to Western ways, Ziad becomes "brothers" with some fundamentalist Muslims and is slowly drawn into becoming "a Good Muslim". Mohamed Atta and others instill Ziad with a hatred of Jews and "Infidels", which leads to a desire for Jihad and martyrdom. He moves to Hamburg to study aeronautical engineering, attends an Al-Qaeda training camp in Afghanistan, and deceives his girlfriend and family about his involvement. He eventually attends flight school in Florida with Atta and others, waiting for and preparing for "the big wedding" (the 9/11 attack). Meanwhile, US government and law enforcement officials fail to act despite believing that a major terrorist attack is imminent, and despite noticing a number of suspicious persons involved in flight training. Written by TimeNTide

Plot Summary | Add Synopsis


Drama | War





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Release Date:

10 January 2005 (USA)  »

Also Known As:

A hamburgi sejt  »

Company Credits

Show detailed on  »

Technical Specs

Sound Mix:


Aspect Ratio:

1.78 : 1
See  »

Did You Know?


They show the Lincoln Memorial and the Capital and list the date as August 2001, but all the trees are bare. In August the trees would be fully leafed and green. See more »


Ziad Jarrah: [On a cell phone] I'm at the departure lounge.
Marwan Shehhi: Me too.
Ziad Jarrah: Our time has come at last...
See more »


Written by Nick Phillips
Performed by Boxsaga
See more »

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User Reviews

Certainly Pointless
3 September 2004 | by (Isle Of Bute , Scotland) – See all my reviews

Director Antonia Bird and scriptwriters Ronan Bennett and Alice Pearman have made this year's most controversial drama production which deals with the terrorists behind 9/11 . It's also the most pointless production of the year down to the fact that it's a work of fiction . Okay it's based on true events and characters but that doesn't mean there's any truth in the details . Take for example when terrorist to be Ziad Jarrah discusses Lebanon his country of birth to a Jihadist . The Jihadist mentions the atrocities carried out by Christian phalangists at the Shatilla and Shebron Palestinian refugee camps in Southern Lebanon in September 1982 which seems to motivate Ziad . But ask yourself this . Why would a Muslim be motivated to become a terrorist through this conversation ? These Christian phalangists were under the command of the Lebanese Christian government at the time , while the civilians they murdered were vaguely associated with relatives who were in the PLO , a secular Marxist Leninist organization . Christians murdering atheists , now why would that stir Muslim feelings of revenge ? We also have no proof this discussion took place and is almost certainly an invention on the part of the scriptwriters

I do feel there is an agenda with this movie as portraying the hi-jackers as too human , as if they were victims of indoctrination misguided by more extreme world jihadists who were using them as pawns and that they weren't fundamentally cruel . There's a point where this view should be allowed but THE HAMBURG CELL over steps the mark . Take the scene where the terrorists are being shown physical methods on taking over the jets . " Surprise is your greatest weapon " says one of the instructors as he grapples with a volunteer showing him restraining methods . From what we know of the hijackings themselves surprise wasn't the greatest weapon - Sticking knives through the eyes and throats of the cabin crew were , not unarmed combat . Shock and horror was used to intimidate the passengers , not surprise . Trying to tell me someone capable of stabbing a air stewardess to death is misguided ? That they never had the potential to become a cold blooded murderer all along ?

As stated there's no scenes of the terrorists murdering anyone ( The footage of the twin towers negates to show the shocking scenes of people trapped jumping hundreds of feet to their death ) but shows Bosnian muslims with their heads and limbs blown off . The Balkans conflict was terrible especially for the muslims living there . Perhaps I should point out if it wasn't for NATO intervention in Bosnia in 1995 and Kosovo in 1999 there would have been few if any muslims left in the Balkans today . What country leads NATO ? The same one that suffered on 9/11

There are a few positive points to THE HAMBURG CELL . One is that the script via one of Ziad's relatives points out that these Islamic terrorists are corrupting the words of Allah , but I feel this is down to political correctness where the producers don't want to be accused of showing all muslims as terrorists . It's also Antonia Bird's best film as director which considering her volume of work is only a backhanded compliment . I will also give faint praise to the script for pointing out that Osama Bin Laden was behind the atrocity . Even today some people deny he had any involvement despite all the evidence

I'm sorry if this review isn't as complex as it should have been . I had planned to make it very analytical but I'm not really in the mood since I spent the afternoon seeing a real life horror show coming out of a school in Southern Russia where as many as several hundred schoolchildren have been murdered or mutilated by terrorists . The only happy story I have heard today is that some of the fleeing terrorists were beaten to death by Russian mobs . I'm not proud of these feelings

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Interesting subject, needless imagery ukaskew
Uh, why are they all speaking English? changeover3
does anyone know if it will ever be released on DVD national2
propaganda again? casadepensii
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The Hamburg Cell on HBO towohlfahrt
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