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One Day in September
One Day in September
Actors: Michael Douglas, Ankie Spitzer, Jamal Al Gashey, Gerald Seymour, Axel Springer
Director: Kevin Macdonald
Genres: Indie & Art House, Sports, Documentary
R     2001     1hr 34min


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Movie Details

Actors: Michael Douglas, Ankie Spitzer, Jamal Al Gashey, Gerald Seymour, Axel Springer
Director: Kevin Macdonald
Creators: Alwin H. Kuchler, Neve Cunningham, Justine Wright, Andrew Ruhemann, Arthur Cohn, John Battsek, Lillian Birnbaum
Genres: Indie & Art House, Sports, Documentary
Sub-Genres: Indie & Art House, Documentary, Olympics, History
Studio: Sony Pictures
Format: DVD - Black and White,Color,Widescreen,Anamorphic - Closed-captioned,Subtitled
DVD Release Date: 04/24/2001
Original Release Date: 01/01/1999
Theatrical Release Date: 01/01/1999
Release Year: 2001
Run Time: 1hr 34min
Screens: Black and White,Color,Widescreen,Anamorphic
Number of Discs: 1
SwapaDVD Credits: 1
Total Copies: 1
Members Wishing: 0
MPAA Rating: R (Restricted)
Languages: English, German
Subtitles: English
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Movie Reviews

Will Leave You Shaken...
Robert Wellen | CHICAGO, IL USA | 09/18/2001
(5 out of 5 stars)

"Two recent events made me watch this...the recent anniversary (Sept. 5, 1972) and much much more, the terror in America (Sept. 11, 2001). While the events are not related terrorism is terrorism. I didn't know a ton about this horrific event, but after viewing the film, I was shaken.The film makers make an engrossing film. Peter Jennings is featured (shades of 9/11/01). It is like, as another reviewer wrote, like a true thriller. I was astounded by the cruelty of the IOC (well, they are criminals in recent years, but bribes and ignoring death are different crimes). The completely pathetic response of the Germans (Willy Brandt has blood on his hands here)--who, according to one particularly chilling interviewee abandoned the airplane("it was a suicide mission") and may have lead to the Israelis doom. The interview with the lone Palestinian survivor is illuminating and frightening. As mistakes by Germans, Arabs, etc piled up, I wanted to freeze the film and somehow change history. In the end, blame belongs most of all to terrorists. But more than blame, the 11 Israelis were heroes and deserve to be remembered in history.Oh and the next time some idiot complains about the recent suspensions of football or baseball, tell them to rent to this. They won't complain again.A worthy purchase and one that is tragically, even more relevant today than ever."
Riveting account of unfolding tragedy
seasidewanderer | Portland, OR United States | 09/06/2002
(5 out of 5 stars)

"Even though you know the outcome--11 Israeli Olympians and coaches killed by terrorists--this Academy Award-winning documentary will keep you on the edge of your seat. "One Day in September" depicts the tragic hostage crisis at the 1972 Munich Olympics. Among those interviewed is the one surviving terrorist, who describes his training and how thrilled he felt to be doing something for Palestine.The recollections of Ankie Spritzer, widow of the Israeli fencing coach, particularly make the viewer experience the horror of having a loved one held captive. Mrs. Spritzer describes how she wondered whether her husband was alive or dead when the news reported than an unnamed hostage had been murdered, and later, her elation at reports that the remaining hostages were safe at the airport, and finally, how she received the horrible news that the rescue attempt had gone terribly wrong. Seeing the daughters who grew up never knowing their fathers brings home the continuing sadness of this event.Kevin Macdonald's documentary also includes an interview with the head of the Massad who was denied permission to send in an Israeli rescue team and was assured that the Germans could manage the situation. The Massad chief bitterly recalls the numerous unthinkable errors that the Germans made: Extremely light security to avoid the impression of being heavy handed. Failing to seal off the Olympic Village from news crews, which resulted in tipping off the terrorists when an early rescue attempt was broadcast on live TV. Underestimating the number of terrorists and placing insufficient sharpshooters at the airport when the terrorists were allowed to leave with the hostages. Lack of radio communication, rescuers without bulletproof vests and helmets, failure to order the armored cars that were planned to transport the hostages to safety once the "commando" team went into action,.... The "commando" team actually was made up of police officers who volunteered and stated that they were familiar with using firearms--not a specially trained unit.Most interviewed concluded that the German and Olympic officials were more interseted in resuming the Olympic Games than in rescuing the hostages. In fact, the Olympic officials initially didn't hault the games, despite the early deaths of two hostages.The three terrorists who survived the assault at the airport never stood trial. They were released in exchange for a handful hijacked airline passengers and crew. "One Day" reveals that this hijacking and terrorist exchange was a set-up.I watched this documentary in conjunction with "Revenge!"--a History Channel documentary on how the Massad later tracked down and killed all but one of the terrorists believed responsible for the Munich Massacre. "Revenge!" provides more details about the PLO-Black September ties, as well as a Massad assassination against a man who was wrongly believed to have masterminded the Olympic hostage incident."
New release? Not quite. Re-release/re-issue much-recommended
DS0816 | near Detroit | 11/01/2005
(5 out of 5 stars)

"I bought the original DVD release of "One Day in September," director Kevin MacDonald's 1999 Oscar-winner (for Best Documentary Feature; it overtook in the race Wim Wenders's beloved "Buena Vista Social Club") when it first became available. It now appears that the Dec. 20, 2005 DVD release is a re-release (or should I say re-issue?); but it appears to be at a cheaper price ($15-$20 range vs. the older one in the low- to mid-$20s). Based on my research, this DVD will have more features, including Text/Photo Galleries and Bonus Trailers (the original was a bare-bones basic). The DVD looks like a worthy buy, and I intend to get it for a relative of mine who has yet to add it to his/her library. (Side note: Even though this hasn't been released yet, please bear in mind the "5" rating is based on my appreciation for the film -- and enthusiasm for the content of this new DVD release. Amazon reviews force "written reviews" to offer a rating. I would've prefered using a "-" for the time being. Nevertheless, this is a recommended buy no matter the star-rating.)

"One Day in September" is a documentary account of the 1972 Munich Olympics game -- in West Germany -- that was the first in its country since Adolf Hitler was in power. This Olympics was much-anticipated because Germany wanted to make amends for its past; however, it became overshadowed by the hostage crises of Tuesday, Sept. 5 involving [11] Israel athletes, housed in the same building, who were held by Palestinians at gunpoint. (Those who want to read up on what -- and how it all -- transpired can find plenty of info on Web sites related to this topic. I recommend doing the research.)

Due to the price, the amazing film itself (which has been painstakingly researched, and is gutsily directed by MacDonald who doesn't hold back on the gritty reality of how brutal and tragic this hostage situation had materialized), I recommend "One Day in September." Also, when considering that Steven Spielberg is (practically simultaneously) releasing in theaters his "Munich," it further helps to give one a full sense in understanding this specific case in terrorism.
Lessons in History
C. Sihner | SF Bay Area | 11/04/2004
(5 out of 5 stars)

"I remember seeing some of this footage live when I was 12 yrs old watching the Olympics. The games of Mark Spitz and Olga Korbut and terror on Live TV. But this movie shows much more than what we saw on TV back then. It's also somewhat balanced - showing the tragedy of the Israeli athletes, but also giving a glimpse of the plight of the Palestinians. The lone surviving terrorist grew up in a Palestinian refugee camp in Lebanon where he built up his hatred, after his family was pushed out of their homeland. Mainly, I came away with feeling this would be a good training film for SWAT teams and hostage negotiating teams on what NOT to do. My guess is that because this was the first incident of it's kind, the German police were just completely inexperienced and clueless. It was most interesting to hear how the terrorists prepared for this. They were mostly young, trained in Libya, not told of their mission until the day before. Eerily similar to current terrorist acts. There is also a mixed message about negotiating with terrorists. Golda Meier made it clear: if we give in here, every Israeli from now on will be a target. But later the Germans did give in by letting the 3 surviving terrorists go as insurance against future attacks in Germany. Lessons in history."