The Taking of Flight 847: The Uli Derickson Story
The Taking of Flight 847: The Uli Derickson Story, also marketed as The Flight on video, is a 1988 made-for-TV film based on the actual hijacking of TWA Flight 847 as seen through the eyes of Uli Derickson, the chief flight attendant. Derickson herself acted as a consultant for the movie. The film was directed by Paul Wendkos.
|The Taking of Flight 847: The Uli Derickson Story|
Home video cover using the title The Flight
|Directed by||Paul Wendkos|
|Produced by||Francis Ford Coppola (exec. producer)
|Written by||Norman Morrill|
|Music by||Gil Melle and Demis Roussos|
|Edited by||James Galloway|
|Distributed by||Columbia TriStar Television|
|Language||English, Arabic, German|
- Lindsay Wagner — Uli Derickson (Chief Flight Attendant)
- Eli Danker — "Castro" (Lead hijacker; based on Mohammed Ali Hammadi, real life hijacker of TWA 847)
- Sandy McPeak — John Testrake (Captain)
- Ray Wise — Phil Maresca (First Officer)
- Leslie Easterbrook — Audrey (Flight Attendant)
- Laurie Walters — Jane (Flight Attendant)
- Joseph Nasser — Saiid (Hijacker)
- Steven Eckholdt — Robert Stethem (U.S. Navy Diver)
The movie showcases the first 48 hours of the hijacking, until Derickson's liberation. After the aircraft leaves Athens, Derickson is forced at gunpoint to the flight deck door by "Castro", one of the terrorists. She is able to defuse the situation by communicating with him in German, convincing him to release hostages upon landing in Beirut and Algiers and pleading for the other hijacker to stop harming the passengers. Her efforts are shown to save the lives of all but one hostage, Robert Stethem, whose body was thrown on the tarmac in Beirut.
The film was featured in the documentary Reel Bad Arabs because the producers claim it showcases low key Arab stereotypes and portrays "The Middle East" as one large homogenous region.
- In the movie, the aircraft is accurately depicted as a Boeing 727-200 from the outside, but the mid-cabin galley shown in the cabin scenes is a feature of the Boeing 727-100.
- The phrase "Bundesrepublik Deutschland" is misspelled on Uli's passport.
In 1988, at the 40th Primetime Emmy Awards, the film was nominated for five Emmys: Outstanding Television Movie; Outstanding Directing for a Limited Series, Movie, or Dramatic Special; Outstanding Makeup for a Limited Series or Movie (Non-Prosthetic); Outstanding Single-Camera Picture Editing for a Limited Series or Movie; and Outstanding Sound Editing for a Limited Series, Movie, or Special.