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The Kidnapping of the President (1980)

Based on the novel by Charles Templeton, a secret service chief leads a game of cat and mouse when a gang of third-world terrorists kidnap the President.


George Mendeluk


Richard Murphy (screenplay by), Charles Templeton (based on the book by)
2 nominations. See more awards »




Cast overview, first billed only:
William Shatner ... Jerry O'Connor
Hal Holbrook ... President Adam Scott
Van Johnson ... Vice President Ethan Richards
Ava Gardner ... Beth Richards
Miguel Fernandes ... Roberto Assanti
Cindy Girling Cindy Girling ... Linda Steiner
Elizabeth Shepherd ... Joan Scott
Michael J. Reynolds ... MacKenzie
Gary Reineke Gary Reineke ... Deitrich
Maury Chaykin ... Harvey Cannon
Murray Westgate Murray Westgate ... Archie Standler
Ken Anderson Ken Anderson ... Willis
Sully Boyar ... FBI Chief
Patrick Brymer Patrick Brymer ... Jesus Freak
Jackie Burroughs ... Woman Agent


A South American quasi-revolutionary/guerilla/terrorist and a misled, admiring girl compatriot manage to kidnap the U.S. President during a diplomatic visit to Toronto. With a nondescript armored truck, crudely yet somehow elaborately rigged with high explosives (and the President trapped inside), the two terrorists keep the Secret Service at bay until in the end, Assanti is killed and Shatner has to find a way into the truck anyway. Written by Romulus <romulus@shore.net>

Plot Summary | Add Synopsis


The movie that is a jolting reminder of the profound passions which surround the most powerful man in the world. See more »




R | See all certifications »

Did You Know?


The later similar genre related picture, In the Line of Fire (1993), was made and released in the 30th Anniversary year of the assassination of President John F. Kennedy. The Kidnapping of the President (1980) debuted in theaters in the 17th Anniversary year of that tragic event. See more »


When the guerrilla leader shoots one of his soldiers in both legs in the opening scene, the pistol he uses clearly has a silencer on it. However when he shoots him there is a loud report. See more »


Prime Minister: Alright Mr. O'Connor, if you want the responsibility, proceed. But quietly. Quietly.
See more »


Featured in Terror on Tape (1985) See more »

User Reviews

A reasonably good Canadian political thriller
15 February 2016 | by Red-BarracudaSee all my reviews

Latin American terrorists abduct the President of the United States while he is on a state trip in Toronto. The Secret Service have to devise a plan to get him back alive.

This Canadian political thriller features Captain Kirk - I mean William Shatner - in a starring role as the head of the American Secret Service. It's always kind of fun watching him in contemporary roles and in this one he even gets to utter an f-bomb which was a bonus. He's pretty good value here and the main reason I am guessing anyone would actively seek this one out. Starring alongside him is one of those reliable 70's stalwarts, Hal Holbrook, who gets to play the President. The film itself really starts out pretty well and by the half-way point it has set in motion a pretty intriguing scenario. It would only be fair to say though that in the second half it kind of peters out a bit and the varied action and events of the set-up culminate with a situation that can best be described as a man in a van. Still, it ultimately is decent enough fare and the Toronto setting I quite liked. It certainly had the potential to be better though.

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Canada | USA



Release Date:

15 August 1980 (USA) See more »

Also Known As:

Rare Cult Cinema See more »

Filming Locations:

Los Angeles, California, USA See more »


Box Office


CAD3,500,000 (estimated)
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Company Credits

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Technical Specs


Sound Mix:




Aspect Ratio:

1.85 : 1
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