Black Sunday (1977) – Encore Review


“The President isn’t persuaded that attending the Super Bowl will pose a threat to his life. I suppose it’s the more important threat on his mind; he’s slipping in the polls! Eighty-two thousand, five hundred twenty-eight, to be exact!” – FBI Agent Sam Corley

Number of Times Seen – Twice (11 Nov 2013 and 1 Aug 2019)

Link to original reviewHere

Brief Synopsis – An Israeli Mossad agent is sent to America in order to stop a terrorist plot by the organization known as Black September to take place during the Super Bowl.

My Take on it – This is a film that I saw for the first time almost 6 years ago yet was requested to revisit it by Carl of Listening To Film.

I’ve been meaning to rewatch it for the past few months yet my recent quest to watch more Robert Shaw films got me interested in checking it out again.

This is an excellent thriller that works on so many levels in keeping this intriguing, interesting and even after 40+ years  somewhat timeless.

This movies does a superb job balancing the story between the agents from both Israel and the FBI trying to stop this terrorist plot and the terrorists themselves who have their own reason for wanting to commit this act of terror.

Excellent cast helps make this even more fascinating to watch unfold.

The characters of this film are developed really well and we get a clear idea as to why they are all doing what they do here.Shaw is great in the co-lead as the Mossad agent who will do all he can to try and stop this threat.

Bruce Dern is equally as great as a disillusioned former Air Force veteran who was also a POW in Vietnam who wishes to be a part of inflicting this terror on the US and the world as payback for all he has endured.

AS great an actor as Shaw is, Dern outdoes him here in this film because he makes us feel even more sympathetic for his character due to all of the hardships in his past.

This is a n action packed thriller that doesn’t let go until the very end because it is constantly on the move due to the fast pace of things.

It’s great how we get to follow along with Shaw’s character as he tries to solve the perplexing clues of this terrorist act.

Dern has amazing chemistry with his costar Martha Keller and its easy to see how she has manipulated him along the way, yet we know that there is part of him that knows that this isn’t the best decision to be made.

The movie’s climactic scene at the Super Bowl is quite iconic and they are able to find a way to make it seem so realistic.

This actually helps make the film even more enjoyable to watch as things move along.

Bottom Line – Excellent thriller that manages to work on so many levels. They do a wonder job balancing the story between Shaw’s agents and Dern’s reasons for wanting to commit this act of terror.  The characters are developed really well and we get a clear understand as to why they do what they are doing. Shaw is quite powerful in this film, but acting wise Dern outdoes him because he is able to make his character feel even more sympathetic because of all that he has gone through in life. The story is action packed and things move along at a great pace as both we and the Shaw’s character try to find and stop the attack before it happens.  The chemistry between Dern and Keller is superb since it allows us to see the way that things in life can be manipulated in certain ways without it being so clear to Dern’s character that he is being used due to his past. The climactic scene of the film is quite iconic and is filmed in a realistic fashion which helps make things feel even more enjoyable as it all plays out. Highly Recommended!

MovieRob’s Favorite Trivia – John Frankenheimer was able to secure permission from Goodyear to use its blimp in the film because of his relationship with the company’s public relations department from making Grand Prix (1966). He had to promise that the blimp itself would not kill anybody – for example, that no one would be torn up in its propellers. In addition, the pilot was changed from a Goodyear employee to a freelance pilot only hired by Goodyear. Miami Dolphins owner Joe Robbie got the NFL to allow extensive filming at a real Super Bowl game and the use of copyrighted team names and logos. Additional footage of the stampede at the game was shot at the Orange Bowl after the game with thousands of extras provided for free by The United Way. In exchange for providing the extras, Frankenheimer agreed to direct a short film for them with star Robert Shaw narrating it. (From IMDB)

Rating – ??? Worthy (??/10) (no change from original review)

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3 thoughts on “Black Sunday (1977) – Encore Review

  1. Pingback: The Large Association of Movie Blogs | Acting School 101 – August 2019 – Robert Shaw

  2. Pingback: Movies Reviewed Index A-Z | MovieRob

  3. Pingback: Temporal Top Ten – 1977 | MovieRob

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