7.8/10
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62 user 54 critic

One Day in September (1999)

The Palestinian terrorist group Black September holds Israeli athletes hostage at the 1972 Summer Olympic Games in Munich.

Director:

Kevin Macdonald
Won 1 Oscar. Another 4 wins & 7 nominations. See more awards »

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Cast

Cast overview, first billed only:
Michael Douglas ... Himself - Narrator (voice)
Ankie Spitzer Ankie Spitzer ... Herself
Jamal Al Gashey Jamal Al Gashey ... Himself
Gerald Seymour Gerald Seymour ... Himself
Axel Springer Axel Springer ... Himself
Gad Zahari Gad Zahari ... Himself
Shmuel Lalkin Shmuel Lalkin ... Himself
Manfred Schreiber Manfred Schreiber ... Himself
Walter Troger Walter Troger ... Himself
Ulrich K. Wegener Ulrich K. Wegener ... Himself
Hans-Dietrich Genscher Hans-Dietrich Genscher ... Himself
Schlomit Romajo Schlomit Romajo ... Herself
Magdi Gahary Magdi Gahary ... Himself
Zvi Zamir Zvi Zamir ... Himself
Dan Shilon Dan Shilon ... Himself (as Dan Shillon)
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Storyline

The 1972 Munich Olympics were interrupted by Palestinian terrorists taking Israeli athletes hostage. Besides footage taken at the time, we see interviews with the surviving terrorist, Jamal Al Gashey, and various officials detailing exactly how the police, lacking an anti-terrorist squad and turning down help from the Israelis, botched the operation. Written by Jon Reeves <jreeves@imdb.com>

Plot Summary | Add Synopsis


Motion Picture Rating (MPAA)

Rated R for some graphic violent images | See all certifications »

Parents Guide:

View content advisory »
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Details

Official Sites:

Sony Pictures Classics

Country:

Switzerland | Germany | UK

Language:

English | German

Release Date:

12 July 2001 (Germany) See more »

Also Known As:

En dag i september See more »

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Box Office

Opening Weekend USA:

$15,149, 19 November 2000

Gross USA:

$156,818

Cumulative Worldwide Gross:

$156,818
See more on IMDbPro »

Company Credits

Show more on IMDbPro »

Technical Specs

Runtime:

Sound Mix:

Stereo

Aspect Ratio:

1.85 : 1
See full technical specs »
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Did You Know?

Trivia

Director Kevin MacDonald finally managed to persuade the surviving terrorist Jamal Al Gashey to talk on camera after eight months of fitful negotiation and numerous aborted meetings in secret locations. Al Gashey specified certain conditions prior to their actual meeting in an Arab country insisting MacDonald was to travel alone, not to inform anybody where he was going and provide a wig and moustache for Al Gashey to disguise himself when in front of the camera. The interview piece used in the documentary was filmed by somebody Al Gashey trusted. See more »

Quotes

Michael Douglas - Narrator: With the help of members of the East German team the terrorist leaders had entered and studied the Olympic village in the days prior to the attack. Now they headed straight for the Israeli men's quarters.
Michael Douglas - Narrator: The negotiators knew nothing about the terrorists except what they saw. Three were visible at any one time. Issa, the leader, his face blackened with shoe polish. Tony, second in command, usually at the first floor window wearing a cowboy hat. And another man guarding the balcony door.
See more »

Alternate Versions

Israeli version narrated by Rafi Ginat, and includes updated information regarding the claims of the families against the German authorities in the subtitles at the end of the film. See more »

Connections

Features Olympia Part One: Festival of the Nations (1938) See more »

Soundtracks

Heat
Performed by Kronos Quartet
Composed by Elliot Goldenthal
Copyright New Regency Music/WB Music Corp.
Used by kind permission of Warner/Chappell Music Ltd.
See more »

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User Reviews

From everything I've read here, completely misunderstood...
22 July 2004 | by si-wilkinsSee all my reviews

Everything that I've read below completely misses the point that the film seemed as far as I can tell to be making. If you're desperate for it to be making a political point you're bound to be disappointed, especially as that implies that you have a political viewpoint that you want to be confirmed - this film won't do that. It isn't a film about politics - it is a film about people and how people work; about the nature of good and evil (not of good VS evil, as everyone else seems to be reading it). It is ultimately philosophical more than political, and most of all about the nature and effects of what the religious would call "sin". If there was one point that came across it was that humans aren't born evil in the "original sin" type of sense, but they are born *responsive* into a world that contains evil.

The film forces you to be put into a position where you are made to empaphise with people who you strongly disagree with, and this feels distasteful. That's because it is, but it is most definitely valid. One of the early scenes featured the terrorist describing his childhood and how he had grown up in a refugee camp, knowing that his only chance in life came with the possibility of a Palestinian homeland - much as you hated it, you began to find yourself realising that from his viewpoint he had every right to fight for freedom and the opportunity that every child *should* deserve. You also knew that from an objective moral viewpoint his act was heinous and should be punished (after all he wasn't without choice at the point when the act occurred). You were also presented with the irony that the Israeli athlete most focused on was intent on living at peace with those of other races (i didn't see this as an attempt to make a generalisation about the Israelis so much as an attempt to show that generalisations don't work). And so his wife and child are left with the difficult choice of whether to follow the completely natural response of hatred and bitterness or somehow find an alternative way. And then there were the Germans who were keen to either set right or leave behind their shameful past and ended up just providing a stage for the terrorists and a show of their own incompetence in dealing with them.

I'm not saying this film was perfect, but bizarrely considering its subject i don't think it is primarily making a political point.


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