Based on a true Military operation by Israeli commandos. An Air France flight is hijacked by the PFLP. The plane has about 100 Jewish passengers. The plane is grounded in Uganda. Israelis would not negotiate. The movie then shows how less than 500 soldiers actually flew so far and rescued the passengers in one of the most successful Military operations in history. The only casualty for Israely soldiers was Lt. Col. Jonathan "Yoni" Netanyahu..
Peter Finch ... Yitzhak Rabin
Martin Balsam ... Daniel Cooper
Horst Buchholz ... Wilfred Boese (as Horst Bucholz)
John Saxon ... Maj. Gen. Benny Peled
Sylvia Sidney ... Dora Bloch
Jack Warden ... Lt. Gen. Mordechai Gur
Yaphet Kotto ... President Idi Amin - Jr.
Charles Bronson ... Brig. Gen. Dan Shomron
Tige Andrews ... Shimon Peres
Eddie Constantine ... Capt. Michel Becaud
Warren J. Kemmerling ... Gad Yaakobi (as Warren Kemmerling)
Robert Loggia ... Yigal Allon
David Opatoshu ... Menachem Begin
Allan Arbus ... Eli Melnick
Mariclare Costello ... Gabrielle Krieger
Director: Irvin Kershner
This is an excellent made for TV movie which will cause even non-Jewish viewers to feel pride. The Isreali government assisted in the production of a similar movie, "Operation Thunderbolt" which is very accurate historically and should also be seen for comparison. That movie used actual Isreali soldiers and several survivors of the incident. "Raid on Entebbe" is a much smoother and more enjoyable production. The cast worked very well together. This was Peter Finch's last movie. Charles Bronson is at his best. An interesting blooper is that Yoni Netanyahu was a Lt. Colonel, but is shown in the uniform of a full Colonel. Don't let that ruin the movie for you, though, it should be in every historical and military collection.
After seeing both versions of the Entebbe movies, 'Raid on Entebbe' is definitely the better of the two. Not only are the production values and sets better, the acting is much more understated and restrained. It really allows the exciting story to shine through.
The performances are really what makes the movie great: Yaphet Kotto is outstanding as President Idi Amin Dada. His fake cheerfulness towards the Jewish hostages is much more frightening than the actual terrorists with their guns. Sylvia Sydney is great as the doomed woman sent to the hospital. As always, Martin Balsam (which is the main reason I watched this) gives a good solid performance as the hostage who develops a sort of uneasy rapport with one of the terrorists, leading to the scene during the rescue mission.
This movie is excellent--a tastefully done account of a real life, courageous mission with an exciting climax. If it's on, I highly recommend it. It's really worth your while.
I remember this very well because it was in the mid 1970's, while I was a child and lived in Nairobi, that one night I went to the Airport, which at that time was Embakassi Airport, which is situated to the now new Airport, Jomo Kenyatta International Airport, with my parents to drop off one of our family members. At that time they had a terminal, a waving base on which the members of the public could go and sit and watch the passengers board aircraft as well as watch aircrafts land and take off. After about 11.00pm, while waiting and sitting around, I noticed a change in the area where the aircrafts were parked and taking in passengers as well as letting them off. No aircrafts were either taking off or landing and that there were several vehicles preparing and heading towards the end of the runway. Suddenly there was loud noise and they were not those of civilian aircrafts and the noise was deafening as a few, what seemed to be Hercules type planes, landed and soon came to a halt at the end of the runway. But only one came near the passenger terminal and was met by an ambulance. An hour later, they took off into the darkness. The markings could not be read.
The next day, it was on all the news papers that there had been a "Raid At Entebee Airport" by Israeli Commandos to free the passengers that had been held as hostages from an Civilian aircraft that had been high jacked weeks before and landed in the Ugandan capital I, then had the opportunity to watch this excellent movie on the TV, and starred one of my old time favourite action actors, Charles Bronson, as one of the Commandos.
The movie is still worthwhile watching and if at all possible, one should try to read the book, "Operation Thunderbolt," which was the code name for this.