John Frankenheimer's eerily plausible adaptation of the Thomas Harris thriller of terrorists at the Super Bowl stars Robert Shaw as Mossad agent Major David Kabakov. Loosely inspired by the events of the 1972 Munich Olympics, the film concerns a group of Arab terrorists, calling themselves Black September, who plan to create havoc at the Super Bowl by sailing the Goodyear blimp into the huge crowd and raining 200,000 steel darts on the spectators. To this end, their leaders, Fasil (Bekim Fehmiu) and Dahlia (Marthe Keller), have decided that she will seduce Michael Lander (Bruce Dern), a disturbed Vietnam POW who pilots the blimp on weekends, and plant the darts without his knowledge. However, during a raid on a Black September stronghold, Kabakov finds a taped message left behind that warns the United States that it will pay dearly for turning its back on the Black September group. Kabakov heads for Washington, where he teams up with FBI agent Sam Corley (Fritz Weaver), desperate to know how and when the threat will be carried out before it happens. This is another excellent political thriller from Frankenheimer, in the tradition of THE MANCHURIAN CANDIDATE and SEVEN DAYS IN MAY. Veteran screenwriter Ernest Lehman (NORTH BY NORTHWEST) fashions an uncomfortably convincing scenario, with well-developed characters played with utter conviction by Dern, Shaw, and Weaver.
Palestinian terrorists attempt to wipe out a Super Bowl crowd in this 1976 thriller directed by John Frankenheimer (Seconds). Frankenheimer's unique facility with action--the unusual breadth of his view of violence, which stresses sustained drama over escalating thrills--makes this taut movie engrossing from start to finish. The lengthy cat-and-mouse stuff during the big game--much of which was shot at a real Super Bowl--is quite exciting. --Tom Keogh
Top Customer Reviews
Robert Shaw plays Kabakov, an Israeli operative tracking a dangerous Palestinian terrorist named Dahlia to the United States after recovering a tape recording intended for use after a terrorist attack on American soil. With help from Sam Corley (Fritz Weaver) of the FBI, he begins a race against time to stop the attack before it can be unleashed on the unsuspecting American public. Meanwhile, Dahlia (Marthe Keller) along with disgruntled Vietnam Vet Michael Lander (Bruce Dern) works to create a device that could cause the worst massacre on American soil since Pearl Harbor.
About the Movie:
Black Sunday is one of those movies you see shown on independent TV stations on Sunday afternoon. It's a surprisingly complex movie, but one that is deeply flawed in a few vital spots, causing it to be relegated to the budget DVD section.
All that said, there's a lot going for it. John Williams wrote the musical score for Black Sunday, and like most of his work, it is excellent, providing much of the intense tension a viewer will feel while watching this movie. It also proves that not all of his compositions sound like Star Wars.
Directed by the legendary John Frankenheimer, Black Sunday shows much of his talent in constructing a compelling film. At the time of release, the plot undoubtedly seemed far fetched, but now, after September 11, 2001 it almost seems plausible and has gained new relevance that makes it worth watching.
In some ways, this is a deeply psychological movie. The two main characters, Kabakov and Michael Lander are both deeply flawed characters, pushed by events into the actions they take, and the movie attempts to analyze them in some depth.Read more ›
I doubt they could've picked a better guy than Bruce Dern to play the disgruntled manic-depressive-former-Vietnam-POW-blimp-pilot (how's that for a character description!) whose plans to blow up the Super Bowl with the help of his mideast terrorist connection/lover gets the whole ball of wax rolling. If you've seen him do his thing in "The Incredible Two-Headed Transplant" and "Silent Running", it's apparent he's good at playing smoldering section eight types who come unhinged as the movie runs its course. This talent is showcased at several points throughout "Black Sunday", most notably after his character's test-firing of a sample weapon on an unsuspecting groundskeeper. His excited, almost child-like joy over the success of his efforts combined with his cold disregard for the life he snuffed out is one of the more disturbing action-cinema moments I've witnessed.
On the opposite end of the casting spectrum, I'm not fully convinced the late Robert Shaw was the right fit for the ruthless Israeli commando protagonist, despite his reputed skill at playing similar characters. It didn't help that he looked like he was reading off of cue cards in a few scenes.Read more ›
Robert Shaw (in his last major performance) plays the Israeli agent Kabakov with a convincing strength, despite his disconcerting Welsh accent.
Bruce Dern plays a deranged Vietnam vet (a role which led to a career of typecasting) who decides to destroy the Super Bowl by rigging the obligatory blimp with explosives and detonating it above the game. He is helped in this mad plan by Palestinian terrorist Dahlia Iyad (Marthe Keller), who turns in a fine performance.
The film seems slow-moving now, compared to the pace of a Jerry Bruckheimer movie, but for 1974, it was absolutely breathless. The plot, once considered impossible, is too much of a probability now.
An excellent film, with excellent production values, and a story that won't quit, BLACK SUNDAY holds its own after three decades.
After a somehwhat slow start, BLACK SUNDAY turns into a real nail-biter of an international thriller, shot with a kind of mid-70s documentary style. The film is actually much tenser today than it was in 1977 because of the unfortunate way that terrorism has become a day to day concern in America; it is all too easy to imagine terrorists hatching a plot similiar to the one used here. Irish actor Robert Shaw, fresh from JAWS, would seem to be an odd choice to play an Israeli government agent, but he attacks the part with tight-jawed, unflappable conviction; I certainly would pick him to lead a counter-terrorism operation. The last 40-minutes are one prolonged agony of suspense (shot at the actual Superbowl X) marred only by some clumsy special effects at the very end. The only real flaw in the film is Bruce Dern's occasional over-the-top performance.
The DVD has a crystal-clear transfer and nice 5.1 sound to blare the thundering John Williams score (his last score before writing the music for STAR WARS), but there are no extras to be found anywhere -- not even a trailer!
Most recent customer reviews
Excellent movie. Good quality and playback. I won't bother with a review of the movie. I'm only commenting on the product itself.Published 4 months ago by Parsha Lee
The Black sunday kept its freshness despite the many years since its original release. It will still keep one glued to the screen. This movie keepspace withthe times we are living.Published 22 months ago by Gheorghe Weisz
Dated thriller but very exciting. The plot to kill everyone attending the Super Bowl, Including the president, is well crafted and well acted. Read morePublished 24 months ago by Russ C
I've really enjoyed Black Sunday, Robert Shaw...I recommend it for everybody to see. fantastic acting, every minute is a suspense.Published on May 21 2010 by LITTLE DOVE
in"Black Sunday" a terrorist plot to blow up the stadium during the
Super Bowl in Miami is discovered.the only problem is,only the
terrorists know how it will be done. Read more
Contrary to prior reviews, this is not Frankenheimer's last good film (check Andersonville 1996), nor is the video quality shabby- its actually a perfect 2. Read morePublished on June 8 2004
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