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Operation Thunderbolt (1977)

Mivtsa Yonatan (original title)
In July 1976, an Air France flight from Tel-Aviv to Paris via Athens was hijacked and forced to land in Entebbe, Uganda. The Jewish passengers were separated and held hostage in demand to ... See full summary »

Director:

Menahem Golan

Writers:

Ken Globus (dialogue), Menahem Golan | 1 more credit »
Reviews
Nominated for 1 Oscar. See more awards »

Photos

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Cast

Cast overview, first billed only:
Yehoram Gaon ... Col. Yonatan Netanyahu
Gila Almagor ... Nurit Aviv
Assi Dayan ... Shuki (as Assaf Dayan)
Klaus Kinski ... Wilfried Boese
Sybil Danning ... Halima
Arik Lavie ... Gen. Dan Shomron
Shmuel Rodensky ... Family Representative
Shaike Ophir ... Gadi Arnon (as Shai K. Ophir)
Reuven Bar-Yotam ... Avraham Ben-David
Gabi Amrani ... Gavriel, a passnger (as Gaby Amrani)
Mark Heath Mark Heath ... Idi Amin Dada
Henri Czarniak Henri Czarniak ... Michel Bacos
Rolf Eden Rolf Eden ... Air France Co-Pilot
Shoshana Shani-Lavie ... Alma Raviv (as Shoshana Shani)
Oded Teomi ... Dan Zamir
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Storyline

In July 1976, an Air France flight from Tel-Aviv to Paris via Athens was hijacked and forced to land in Entebbe, Uganda. The Jewish passengers were separated and held hostage in demand to release many terrorists held in Israeli prisons. After much debate, the Israeli government sent an elite commando unit to raid the airfield and release the hostages. This movie is based on the true facts and follows the events since the flight's take-off and until the hostages' return to Israel. Written by Yuval Kfir <yuval@valor.com>

Plot Summary | Add Synopsis

Taglines:

The world watched... The world waited... And then the world cheered

Genres:

Action | Drama | History

Certificate:

PG | See all certifications »

Parents Guide:

View content advisory »
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Details

Country:

Israel

Language:

Hebrew | English | German | Arabic | Spanish

Release Date:

27 January 1978 (USA) See more »

Also Known As:

Operation Thunderbolt See more »

Filming Locations:

Eilat, Israel See more »

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Box Office

Budget:

$2,500,000 (estimated)
See more on IMDbPro »

Company Credits

Show more on IMDbPro »

Technical Specs

Runtime:

Sound Mix:

Mono

Color:

Color (Eastmancolor)

Aspect Ratio:

1.66 : 1
See full technical specs »
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Did You Know?

Trivia

This movie was produced with the cooperation of the Israeli Air Force and the Israeli government. See more »

Goofs

The aircraft interior in this film indicated that the aircraft was a single aisle narrow body aircraft. But the real life aircraft involved in the hijacking (Airbus A300) was a twin aisle wide body aircraft. See more »

Quotes

Wilfried Boese: [when offered to drink some champagne] Thank you. But I have my own label.
See more »

Alternate Versions

The USA theatrical and video release is dubbed entirely into English over the original Hebrew and German languages with the opening credits in English instead of Hebrew and with no end credits aside from a 'The End' caption. See more »

Connections

Version of Raid on Entebbe (1976) See more »

Soundtracks

Eretz Tzvi
Lyrics by Telma Alyagon-Roz
Music by Dov Seltzer
Performed by Yehoram Gaon
See more »

Frequently Asked Questions

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User Reviews

Gotta hand it to the Israelis with this one
2 November 2002 | by AylmerSee all my reviews

While peace in the middle east seems as far away now as it did in 1949, you gotta hand it to em that they sure can still make a hell of a good movie.

While the actual operation of the 1976 rescue of the 100+ hostages held at Entebbe airport is not probed into as much with this film as with RAID ON ENTEBBE, this is the infinitely more fun one of the two to watch. Dov Seltzer's music is really the star with this film, particularly with the really cool opening theme which plays in many variations whenever Yoni is onscreen and the theme that plays at Entebbe airport whenever it shows the guards standing around, etc. The music works best during Yoni's death scene (this is no spoiler since the events of the film are historically accurate, and pretty well-known too) where it really takes his usual theme but drags it out to sound all tragic. Gotta love the ultra-70's style filming and editing. Lots of zoom-ins and odd use of models, stock footage, and stand-ins which is sometimes cheesy, but always entertaining in some way. It's all pretty standard stuff until the ending battle, which is handled in a very high-octane way as opposed to RAID ON ENTEBBE, where they did a lot of standing around and things tended to work out better (It would be more interesting to know which of the two is more historically accurate).

Klaus Kinski and Sybil Danning are the other stars here. Their problem though is that they are underused. Klaus doesn't act quite crazy enough (though he does a lot of running around and has a really cool death scene), and Sybil Danning's stunning unearthly beauty is not exploited enough, hidden behind poofy hair, bulky dress, and a large pair of sunglasses. One might be angry at watching this and not getting their full Kinski or Danning's-worth, but it's better than not having them here at all.

The authenticity involved in much of the rest of the film is amazing, with Rabin and Peres doing some acting (though they never speak, on-camera and the scenes where people are talking to them look suspiciously like they used doubles) and supposedly 12 of the original hostages returned to reprise their roles in this film. However, it goes out of its way to demonize the PLO, Che Guevaranians, and Idi Amin (though with him that's another story). Everything with the villains is a lot darker and more mean-spirited than in RAID ON ENTEBBE, but it all works to make this film more fun. Just take it as entertainment and not as fact, because of course it was the winners that made this. Just a fun and fast-paced little forgotten movie. Where's the DVD?


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