87 user 58 critic

Black Sunday (1977)

R | | Adventure, Crime, Drama | 1977 (Italy)
Black Sunday is the powerful story of a Black September terrorist group attempting to blow up a Goodyear blimp hovering over the Super Bowl stadium with 80,000 people and the president of the United States in attendance.


John Frankenheimer


Thomas Harris (based on the novel by), Ernest Lehman (screenplay by) | 2 more credits »
2 nominations. See more awards »




Cast overview, first billed only:
Robert Shaw ... Kabakov
Bruce Dern ... Lander
Marthe Keller ... Dahlia
Fritz Weaver ... Sam Corley
Steven Keats Steven Keats ... Robert Moshevsky
Bekim Fehmiu ... Mohammed Fasil
Michael V. Gazzo ... Muzi
William Daniels ... Pugh
Walter Gotell ... Colonel Riat
Victor Campos Victor Campos ... Nageeb
Joseph Robbie Joseph Robbie ... Joseph Robbie
Robert J. Wussler Robert J. Wussler ... Robert Wussler (as Robert Wussler)
Pat Summerall ... Pat Summerall
Tom Brookshier ... Tom Brookshier
Walter Brooke ... Fowler


Terrorist organization Black September is planning an attack on the United States. A woman called Dahlia is the one overseeing the operation. She was in the Middle East with the other members of the organization, discussing the operation when some Israelis came in; the leader, Major Kobakov had his gun on her but didn't shoot her. Kobakov then informed the US what they found. Though they don't know what their operation is, Kobakov assures them that it will be devastating. So, with FBI man, Corley, they try to find out what it is before it's too late. But they both have different ways of doing things, and since Kobakov is the visitor, he is warned to watch it. Dahlia's "partner in crime" is Michael Lander, a Vietnam P.O.W., who is psychologically scarred by that experience, thus making him very susceptible to her machinations. Written by <rcs0411@yahoo.com>

Plot Summary | Plot Synopsis


It could be tomorrow! See more »


R | See all certifications »

Parents Guide:

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Did You Know?


Lynn Swann's (Super Bowl MVP) touchdown can be seen from behind the end zone in one of the scenes. See more »


When the blimp takes off from the base after loading the bomb, Robert Shaw's character runs to the brown unmarked car and pulls the dead agent out. You can see that the emergency red light on the roof is operating. As he's getting into the car, you can see the light is off but as he's driving towards the helicopter, it's operating again. See more »


Major David Kabakov: Mr. Corley, what exactly is this Super Bowl?
See more »


Featured in Hollywood Vietnam (2005) See more »


The Stars and Stripes Forever
(1896) (uncredited)
Written by John Philip Sousa
Played by the band at the Super Bowl
See more »

User Reviews

One of the best political thrillers ever.
18 February 1999 | by SanDiegoSee all my reviews

I'm a sucker for movies with blimps and hot air balloons (from Jules Verne to James Bond). A movie where the Goodyear Blimp plays a major role is right up my alley. But that's not all. This is one of the most realistic political thrillers ever filmed. Each actor regardless of the size of role in this film simply blows away most of what passes for acting today. Frankenheimer's direction (style later copied on Hill Street Blues and NYPD Blue) was perhaps ten to fifteen years ahead of its time, and the editing at times perhaps second only to Jaws and maybe a Hitchcock film or two (though it does slow down in the middle). This is a film where the obvious villain, played by a colorful Bruce Dern, is the central character driving the story, and Robert Shaw's underplayed hero somewhat of an antagonist getting in the way. Dern's character is not glorified (as many of that film era were such as in Bonnie and Clyde, The Sting, and Butch Cassidy). The camera is there so we may understand his character without romanticism or sympathy. We are left to make up our own mind about his villainy, and Dern's performance leaves little to question that he is a deranged lunatic. Perhaps this is why the film is not so known today. Vietnam vets returning home was a fairly new topic for films at the time (ironically "Coming Home" with Bruce Dern as a sympathetic vet was the first big film about this subject). The "crazed Viet Vet" became a stereotype and politically incorrect. It is too bad this film was lumped into that group, because it is as good as a thriller can get. Next to "Jaws," this is Shaw's best performance. This is a film that can be watched over and over because it is so complex. I recommend buying the film as opposed to renting it, so you can savor it like a good wine.

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Release Date:

1977 (Italy) See more »

Also Known As:

Black Sunday See more »


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2.39 : 1
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