Operation Entebbe (Film)

Operation Entebbe is an Israeli film produced in 1977, directed by Menachem Golan. The film dramatizes the hijacking of the "Air France" flight to Entebbe, Uganda, and the subsequent rescue mission known as "Operation Entebbe." The film achieved significant success both in Israel and internationally.

It won the David's Harp Award for Best Film in 1977 and was also nominated for an Oscar in the Best Foreign Language Film category. It stands as one of the most watched films in the history of Israeli cinema. The film features the iconic song "Eretz Tzvi" by Tzvika Pick, performed by the lead actor, Yehoram Gaon. The song was composed in response to the events depicted in the film.

The film presents the Operation from three perspectives:

    1. The German Hijackers: In the film, the name of the German terrorist is portrayed as Gabriel Heller, while in reality, her name was Brigitte Kuhlmann. However, the primary terrorist's name in the film remains the same as in reality.

    2. The Hostages: The film explores the relationships among the German hostages who, due to their nationality, faced tensions from both their captors and the Nazi sympathizers. Reuven Bar Yotam portrays a Holocaust survivor whose character challenges the misconception that the Holocaust was solely an Ashkenazi Jewish tragedy. His character represents a stereotypical portrayal of Jews from Middle Eastern backgrounds.

Behind the Scenes:

The film was produced in cooperation with the Israeli Air Force and the Israeli government. Prominent Israeli leaders, including Yitzhak Rabin, Shimon Peres, Yigal Allon, and Gad Yaacobi, made appearances in the film after granting permission for their likenesses to be used.

Scenes depicting the hijacked plane were filmed at Ben Gurion Airport in Israel, where an exact replica of Entebbe Airport was constructed for the film. Ethiopian soldiers played the role of Ugandan soldiers during the rescue mission. The entire film was shot in an English-language version for international distribution.

On March 17, 1977, the film premiered at the opening of the "Cinema City" complex at Atarim Square in Tel Aviv. The premiere was attended by President Ephraim Katzir, Chief of Staff Motta Gur, and senior IDF officers. The guest of honor was Lieutenant Colonel Yonatan Netanyahu, the commander of Operation Entebbe.

Two days later, on March 19, 1977, the film was released nationwide.

The film was nominated for an Academy Award for Best Foreign Language Film but lost to the French film "Madame Rosa" directed by Israeli-born filmmaker Moshe Mizrahi.

Operation Entebbe also received the David's Harp Award for Best Film in 1977.

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