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CONSPIRACY NIGHT AT THE MOVIES: Raid on Entebbe


Raid on Entebbe is a 1977 NBC television film directed by Irvin Kershner. It is based on an actual event: Operation Entebbe and the freeing of hostages at Entebbe Airport in Entebbe, Uganda, on July 4, 1976. The portrayal of Prime Minister Yitzhak Rabin was Peter Finch's final performance; he died five days after the film's release.


Raid on Entebbe focuses on the basic facts of the rescue of hostages held in Uganda. The film recounts the events and response of the Israeli government along with the controversy that the rescue stirred. A similar production on the Entebbe raid, Victory at Entebbe with an all-star cast that included Elizabeth Taylor, Kirk Douglas, Burt Lancaster and Anthony Hopkins was rushed through production by ABC and broadcast one month earlier in December 1976.


Plot

On 27 June 1976, four terrorists belonging to a splinter group of the Popular Front for the Liberation of Palestine under the orders of Wadie Haddad boarded and hijacked an Air France Airbus A300 at Athens. With President Idi Amin's (Yaphet Kotto) blessing, the terrorists divert the airliner and its hostages to Entebbe Airport in Uganda. After identifying Israeli passengers, the non-Jewish passengers are freed while a series of demands are made, including the release of 40 Palestinian militants held in Israel, in exchange for the hostages.


The Cabinet of Israel, led by Prime Minister Yitzhak Rabin (Peter Finch), unwilling to give in to terrorist demands, is faced with difficult decisions as their deliberations lead to a top-secret military raid. The difficult and daring commando operation, "Operation Thunderbolt", will be carried out over 2,500 miles (4 000 km) from home and will take place on the Jewish Sabbath.


While still negotiating with the terrorists, who now numbered seven individuals including Palestinians and two Germans, the Israeli military prepared two Lockheed C-130 Hercules transports for the raid. The transports refuelled in Kenya before landing at Entebbe Airport under the cover of darkness. The commandos led by Brig. Gen Dan Shomron (Charles Bronson) had to contend with a large armed Ugandan military detachment and used a ruse to overcome the defences. A black Mercedes limousine had been carried on board and was used to fool sentries that it was the official car that President Amin used on an impromptu visit to the airport.


Nearly complete surprise was achieved but a firefight resulted, ending with all seven terrorists and 45 Ugandan soldiers killed. The hostages were gathered together and most were quickly put on the idling C-130 aircraft. During the raid, one commando (the breach unit commander Yonatan Netanyahu (Stephen Macht), brother of future Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu), and three of the hostages, died. A fourth hostage, Dora Bloch (Sylvia Sidney), who had been taken to Mulago Hospital in Kampala, was murdered by the Ugandans on Idi Amin's orders.


With 102 hostages aboard and on their way to freedom, a group of Israeli commandos remained behind to destroy the Ugandan Air Force MiG-17 and MiG-21 fighters to prevent a retaliation. All the survivors of the attack force then joined in flying back to Israel via Nairobi and Sharm El Sheikh.



Posted by George Freund on February 12, 2018 at 6:39 PM 424 Views