Movie vs. Reality: Munich
By Felix Quinonez
April 4, 2012
One last detail to consider, though, is the fact that the people who claim that the book is filled with inaccuracies might not want the truth to get out. When Spielberg was discussing the film, he pointed out that although people have questioned the book’s merits, it has never been discredited or as Jonas said, “hearing it from the horse's mouth means little when the horse may have reason not to tell the truth.” But let’s check out the movie.
What the movie got right:
The Hostage Situation:
Although Munich only briefly focuses on these events at the beginning, it returns to the hostage situation and the rescue attempts throughout the movie in various flashback scenes. This was also the part of the movie where the accuracy was least challenged.
As the movie opens, we see the men from Black September - dressed as athletes - about to climb over a fence to gain access to the apartment housing the Israeli team. When they notice a team of athletes, they stop in their tracks in fear of getting caught. But it is soon discovered that those athletes - presumably American - are returning from a night out and are also about to scale the fence to return to their respective apartments. The athletes help the Black September members over the fence and then both teams go on their separate ways.
Once the athletes are out of sight, the Black September members remove the guns from their duffel bags and head into the apartment building. When they reach the room where the Israeli team resides, one of the Black September members jimmies open the door. Before they can enter the room, one of the Israeli athletes sees the gun and tries to shut the door on them by throwing his body in front of the door. He begins screaming and wakes up a teammate who comes to help. That teammate grabs a knife and fights back but is shot in the cheek. Meanwhile, another athlete is seen exiting through a window. He is shot at but is able to safely escape.
The athlete who was shot in the cheek is forced to lead the Black September members to the room of the other athletes. He instead elbows one of the kidnappers in the face knocking him unconscious but he is killed after that. This allows one of the athletes to escape through the parking garage. Meanwhile another Israeli teammate who got free during the mayhem is about to escape through the window. But before doing that he sees a knife on the ground and turns back. He grabs the knife and heads back towards his teammates. On the way, he stabs an intruder in the head and takes his gun. He attempts to rescue his teammates but is killed. Two athletes were killed and the remaining nine were held hostage.
The Rescue Attempts:
German officials try to take charge and rescue the hostages, but the members of Black September discover the plan by watching the news on TV. The athletes were then loaded onto vans blindfolded. When they arrive at the German airport, the athletes are seen begging to talk to their families, just to let them know that they are alright. Their captors assure them that once they get on the planes the athletes will be able to go back home or to the Olympics. But the German Army stages an ambush and a shootout ensues. When the members of Black September realize they won’t escape, they shoot the hostages and throw a grenade into the helicopter where the athletes were being held.