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The Tragedy of Flight 103: The Inside Story (1990)

Examination of the events that led to the 1988 bombing of Pan Am flight 103 over Lockerbie, Scotland.







Cast overview, first billed only:
... Edward C. Acker
... Fred Ford
... Martin Shugrue
... Harry Pizer
... Col. Wilfred Wood
... Ulrich Weber
... Oliver Koch
Richard Howard ... Berndt Meyer
Michael Cronin ... Martin Hübner
Stephen Hoye ... Tommy Dome
Emma Martin ... Beate Franzki
Peter Darling ... Profile Screener 1
Sandra Butterworth ... Profile Screener 2
Rivca Rubin ... Alert Employee
Martyn Read ... X Ray Scanner


On December 21, 1988, Pan American Airways flight 103, a Boeing 747 carrying 259 people on a London-New York flight, was brought down by a bomb over Lockerbie, Scotland, killing all on board, plus 11 people on the ground. This film goes back several years before the bombing, starting with Pan Am's botched "Alert" safety program to boost public confidence. Then, the accidental downing of an Iranian airliner by a US Navy warship pushed an extremist group to prepare a counter-attack, with a bomb disguised as a radio cassette player... while "Alert" is not heeding to the numerous safety concerns. Written by Sergio Ortega

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Documentary | Drama


PG | See all certifications »




Release Date:

9 December 1990 (USA)  »

Also Known As:

Why Lockerbie?  »

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Did You Know?


Pan Am Flight 103 taking-off from Heathrow shows a Boeing 747SP, recognizable by its very short fuselage, when all the other scenes accurately show a Boeing 747-100. See more »


Narrator: [following a bomb threat involving a Finnish woman] Other than screening Finnish passengers, Pan Am's procedures at Frankfurt Airport remained unchanged. There was no briefing of security personnel to update them on threat information.
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User Reviews

A decent portrayal but lacks some emotion!
1 September 2003 | by See all my reviews

As somebody who takes interest in PAn Am 103's tragedy, I find this film plays around the publicly known events. If I had any say, I would have tried to focus on the human emotions of those who lost their relatives and friends in this crash. The film chronicles the events preceding the tragedy. I wished they would have made a conscious effort on examining the humans lost on 103 like on 9-11. Pan Am 103 was really the beginning of a war on terrorism for us. Pan Am 103 was our first warning which we ignored foolishly. If we had paid more attention to the events preceding the tragedy, we could have prevented 9-11. Pan Am 103 did not crash against a building but a small street in Lockerbie, Scotland. The residents there have never recovered emotionally neither have the families of Pan Am 103. 15 years later, we're still asking what happened. I have to say it's first rate casting with Timothy West, Peter Boyle, and others. It seems terrible that nobody paid close attention and we all have to ask why we didn't pay any close attention now. It's still a good film about the tragedy. I think they should have showed the names of those lost on the darkest day of the year.

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