Victory at Entebbe
Within months after the spectacular July 4, 1976 rescue of hostages from Uganda's Entebbe airport, there were two competing TV movies on the subject. The longest (and least) of the two was Victory at Entebbe, hurriedly shot on videotape. The story begins when Arab terrorist capture a civilian airliner and force a landing at Entebbe. Ugandan president Idi Amin (Julius Harris, substituting for recently deceased Godfrey Cambridge), struts about at the airport, insisting that he can do nothing--but apparently siding with the terrorists, especially when the Arabs begin separating and mistreating the Jewish passengers. A surprise Israeli commando raid masterminded by defense minister Shimon Peres (Burt Lancaster, who more than compensates for his miscasting with an excellent performance) rescues most of the hostages, though at least one of the passengers (played by Helen Hayes with a Jewish accent that wouldn't convince a duck) is apparently killed out of retribution while en route to hospital. The teleplay's bad dialogue, and the producers' Airport-like decision to use only big stars in the major roles (Richard Dreyfuss, Elizabeth Taylor, Kirk Douglas et. al.) tends to trivialize one of the most auspicious acts of selfless heroism of the 1970s. A far better dramatization of the incident, Raid on Entebbe, was telecast a few months later.