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Bach Movies: Bach's Life & Documentaries: Index by Title | Index by Year
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Bach Movies



One Day in September






Switzerland / Germany / UK


Film: Oct 1999 (USA)
DVD: Apr 2001; Feb 2004 (9-DVD); Sep 2005
VHS: Sep 2001


Kevin Macdonald



Michael Douglas (Himself / Narrator - voice); Ankie Spitzer (Herself); Jamal Al Gashey (Himself); Gerald Seymour (Himself); Axel Springer (Himself); Gad Zahari (Himself); Shmuel Lalkin (Himself); Manfred Schreiber (Himself); Walter Troger (Himself); Ulrich K. Wegener (Himself); Hans-Dietrich Genscher (Himself); Schlomit Romajo (Herself); Magdi Gahary (Himself); Zvi Zamir (Himself); Dan Shillon (Himself)


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. (Jon Reeves)

On September 5, 1972, eight Palestinian terrorists killed two Israeli athletes and took nine others hostage at the Munich Olympic Village. The event stopped the games, gripped the world, and perhaps for the first time fully illustrated the volatile state of affairs in the Mideast to the world. Kevin Macdonald's 1999 Academy Award(r)-winning documentary painstakingly reconstructs the events, shedding light on what the world saw on television with the exasperating revelation of behind-the-scenes blunders.
This visceral, tense film uses riveting news footage to great effect, weaving in affecting interviews. Macdonald mourns the deaths of the innocent Olympic hostages and dutifully gives a voice to the Palestinian cause through interviews with Jamal al-Gashey, the only survivor of the eight terrorists, who briefly came out of hiding for the film. He earnestly but half-heartedly sketches a picture of the social and political situation that fueled the act, reserving his anger for the grossly unprepared German police force. The tragedy that erupted at the Fürstenfeldbruck air base becomes all the more upsetting in light of the incompetence and unforgivable mistakes: botched rescues, poor planning, bad intelligence, and lack of contingency plans. Even the irresponsibility of the media circus gets off lightly. It's a sobering, angering, often frustrating piece of non-fiction cinema, a thorough piece of historical research brought to life with an angry immediacy. Macdonald simply doesn't know what lessons to draw from it all. (Sean Axmaker,

A skillful, unnerving documentary that re-creates the massacre of eleven Israeli athletes by Palestinian terrorists at the 1972 Munich Olympics. Even today, the ironies are painful to contemplate. The Germans, eager to dispel remaining doubts about the peaceable character of the "New Germany," kept security guards away from the Olympic Village and tried to persuade the Palestinians that the killing of Jews on German soil should not happen again. Later, at an airport near Munich, the local police performed with an ineptitude almost hard to believe. The movie, which is narrated by Michael Douglas, consists of period television footage, a few staged episodes, and interviews with participants, including the sole surviving terrorist and some very sheepish German officials. The massacre is not given sufficient historical context, but as a moment-by-moment report of a horrifying event the movie is both instructive and deeply upsetting. Directed by Kevin Macdonald. Produced by Arthur Cohn. (David Denby, Copyright © 2006 The New Yorker)


English, German


94 min (Film, VHS) / 97 min (DVD) / 91 min (DVD) / 879 min (9-DVD)

J.S. Bach's Music:

"Joy", arranged by Tom Parker and Clive Scott
Performed by Apollo 100
Licensed courtesy of Start Audio; Published by Campbell Connelly & Co Ltd./Belsize Music Ltd.


Film: Black and White / Color, Stereo
DVD: See below.
VHS: See below.


Film: Passion Pictures; Arthur Cohn Productions; British Broadcasting Corporation (BBC); British Screen Productions (collaboration); Dan Valley Film AG; European Co-production Fund (collaboration); Soros Documentary Fund of the Open Society Movement (support)
DVD: Sony Pictures
9-DVD: Homevision
VHS: Sony Pictures


9-DVD Set includes: Arthur Cohn Presents (American Dream/Behind the Sun/Black and White in Color/A Brief Vacation/Central Station/Dangerous Moves/The Garden of the Finzi-Continis/One Day in September/Two Bits)

Watch selections:

Buy movie at:

DVD: [Closed-captioned, Color, Dolby, Dubbed, Subtitled, Widescreen, NTSC, Region 1] | [Anamorphic, Black & White, Closed-captioned, Color, Subtitled, Widescreen, NTSC] | [PAL, Region 2]
9-DVD: [Box set, Color, DVD-Video, NTSC]
VHS: [Black & White, Closed-captioned, Color, Dolby, NTSC] | [PAL] | [PAL] | [NTSC]


Source/Links: IMDB
Contributor: Aryeh Oron (November 2007)

Bach Movies: Bach's Life & Documentaries: Index by Title | Index by Year
Filmed Performances: Index by Work | Index by Main Performer
Bach's Music in Soundtracks: Index by Title | Index by Year
General: Index by Number | Discussions of Movies on Bach


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Last update: Wednesday, May 31, 2017 09:48