13 user 5 critic

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 »


Menahem Golan


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




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


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


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


Action | Drama | History


PG | See all certifications »

Parents Guide:

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Did You Know?


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


Exterior shots of an actual Air France Airbus A300 are accurately used at the beginning of the movie. Once the plane lands in Benghazi and for the rest of the movie, a Boeing 707 in grossly inaccurate Air France colors is shown, supposedly depicting the same aircraft. See more »


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


Featured in Campfire (2004) See more »


Eretz Tzvi
Lyrics by Telma Alyagon-Roz
Music by Dov Seltzer
Performed by Yehoram Gaon
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User Reviews

A story of heroism against all odds!
3 May 2004 | by rshaySee all my reviews

This 1977 Oscar nominated film in the category of "Best Foreign Film" is based on the true story of the rescue mission led by a young Israeli Army officer, Jonathan "Yoni" Netanyaho that astounded the world. Yoni's brother, Benjamin Netanyaho would go on to become the Prime Minister of Israel. This film still stands today with the other films about the Entebbe rescue as an inspiration of what can be accomplished when heroic people of honor and determination, the Israel Defense Forces, come face to face with the forces of evil, in this case German and Palestinian terrorists. There is no fluff in this movie, just an honest portrayal of heroism by the innocent civilian hostages, the Air France flight crew and the IDF soldiers, pilots and flight crews. To truly define this film I would like to quote in part a letter from Benjamin Netanyaho which come with each 25th Anniversary DVD. "........The story of Yoni and his comrades in Entebbe sheds light on the other heroes of Israel, known and unsung alike, who through their sacrifice and courage delivered our people time and again from the abyss of disaster, in the wars of Israel as at Entebbe. I can only hope that their great spirit, as captured in this film, will serve to meet the great challenges that still await us."

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Frequently Asked Questions

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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 »


Box Office


$2,500,000 (estimated)
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Company Credits

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Technical Specs


Sound Mix:



Color (Eastmancolor)

Aspect Ratio:

1.66 : 1
See full technical specs »

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