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21 Hours at Munich (1976)

Not Rated | | Drama, History, Sport | TV Movie 7 November 1976
A dramatization of the incident in 1972 when Arab terrorists broke into the Olympic compound in Munich and murdered eleven Israeli athletes.


William A. Graham


Edward Hume (screenplay), Howard Fast (screenplay) | 1 more credit »
Nominated for 2 Primetime Emmys. Another 1 nomination. See more awards »




Cast overview, first billed only:
William Holden ... Chief of Police Manfred Schreiber
Shirley Knight ... Anneliese Graes
Franco Nero ... Issa
Anthony Quayle ... General Zvi Zamir
Richard Basehart ... Chancellor Willy Brandt
Noel Willman ... Interior Minister Bruno Merk
Georg Marischka Georg Marischka ... Genscher
Else Quecke Else Quecke ... Golda Meir
Michael Degen Michael Degen ... Mohammed Khadif
Djamchid 'Jim' Soheili Djamchid 'Jim' Soheili ... Touny (as Djamchid Soheili)
Walter Kohut Walter Kohut ... Feldhaus
Jan Niklas ... Schreiber's Aide
Ernest Lenart Ernest Lenart ... Ben Horin
Osman Ragheb Osman Ragheb ... Prime Minister Sedki
James Hurley James Hurley ... Avery Brundage


The infamous attack on Israeli athletes and coaches in the Olympic Village during the 1972 Munich Olympics is chronicled in this made-for-television movie and supplemented with archive footage from the actual games. Members of the Palestinian Black September Movement kill two and hold nine others as hostages to exchange for hundreds of Arab prisoners in Israeli jails. The Israeli government adheres to its policy of not negotiating with terrorists, and German Holocaust guilt will not permit West German officials to allow the terrorists to leave the country with the hostages. Therefore, it falls to Chief of Police Manfred Schreiber to delay fulfilling the Palestinian demands through on-going negotiation, but sooner or later he knows that tough decisions will have to be made. Written by duke1029

Plot Summary | Add Synopsis


The most violent episode in the history of terrorism. See more »


Not Rated | See all certifications »

Did You Know?


Although it's not mentioned in this movie, the terrorist also demanded the release of Andreas Baader and Ulrike Meinhof, founders of the German Red Army Faction, who were being held in German prisons. See more »


Issa: Your German guilt runs deep, hmmm?
Interior Minister Bruno Merk: You, sir, you don't know the meaning of guilt.
See more »


Version of One Day in September (1999) See more »


Osse Shalom
By Nurit Hirsch (as Nurit Hirsh)
See more »

User Reviews

Wordy, but believable
14 April 2006 | by unbrokenmetalSee all my reviews

A semi-documentary movie about the terrorist attack on the Israeli team at the Olympic Games at Munich 1972.

In opposite to later adaptations of the same historical event, "21 Hours at Munich" was shot on the original locations. However, it is a little bit less of a documentary than it seems at first, it does take a bit of creative freedom in the narration. Which has been criticized by some reviewers, but makes it a better movie after all. Excellent performances by William Holden as the police chief and Franco Nero as the terrorist leader, whose motivation is explained remarkably well. He is not just the one-dimensional Hollywood villain firing bullets in all directions. That was important to make the film believable, as well as the discussions between the politicians. Even it makes the movie quite wordy, the reasons why and when and how the police fights the terrorists are explained well. "21 Hours at Munich" is a movie you should watch, first for the tragic history that hopefully will never be repeated, second for its solid story telling and acting which is above the genre average.

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English | Hebrew

Release Date:

7 November 1976 (USA) See more »

Also Known As:

Twenty-One Hours at Munich See more »

Filming Locations:

Munich, Bavaria, Germany

Company Credits

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Technical Specs


Sound Mix:




Aspect Ratio:

1.78 : 1
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