The Terrorists (1975)

PG | 88 mins | Drama | 16 April 1975

Director:

Casper Wrede

Writer:

Paul Wheeler

Producer:

Peter Rawley

Cinematographer:

Sven Nykvist

Production Designer:

Sven Wickman

Production Company:

Twentieth Century-Fox Film Corp.
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HISTORY

       Principal photography began 14 Jan 1974 in Oslo, Norway, according to the 23 Jan 1974 and 27 Feb 1974 editions of Var.
       The 26 Mar 1975 Var noted that the film was titled Ransom during its original release in Great Britain, but changed to The Terrorists for the U.S. market. However, the 18 Nov 1974 Box reported that 20th Century-Fox briefly considered calling it Double Ransom. When screened in London, the film was ninety-seven minutes long, but according to the 15 Apr 1975 HR, the American version was initially 108 minutes long. 20th Century-Fox edited it down to eighty-eight minutes for its general American release, the 16 Apr 1975 LAT reported, and that version was viewed for the Summary. Regardless of editing, U.S. film critics uniformly found The Terrorists “confusing,” “incoherent,” and “impenetrable,” not least because almost all the characters, regardless of being British or “Scandinavian,” have British accents, and Sean Connery speaks with his native Scottish burr.
      The film opens with this identification: "Scandinavia Department of the Interior." End credits contain the following information: "Made on location in Norway and at Shepperton Studios, ... More Less

       Principal photography began 14 Jan 1974 in Oslo, Norway, according to the 23 Jan 1974 and 27 Feb 1974 editions of Var.
       The 26 Mar 1975 Var noted that the film was titled Ransom during its original release in Great Britain, but changed to The Terrorists for the U.S. market. However, the 18 Nov 1974 Box reported that 20th Century-Fox briefly considered calling it Double Ransom. When screened in London, the film was ninety-seven minutes long, but according to the 15 Apr 1975 HR, the American version was initially 108 minutes long. 20th Century-Fox edited it down to eighty-eight minutes for its general American release, the 16 Apr 1975 LAT reported, and that version was viewed for the Summary. Regardless of editing, U.S. film critics uniformly found The Terrorists “confusing,” “incoherent,” and “impenetrable,” not least because almost all the characters, regardless of being British or “Scandinavian,” have British accents, and Sean Connery speaks with his native Scottish burr.
      The film opens with this identification: "Scandinavia Department of the Interior." End credits contain the following information: "Made on location in Norway and at Shepperton Studios, England.”
More Less

GEOGRAPHIC LOCATIONS
LOCATION
SOURCE CITATIONS
SOURCE
DATE
PAGE
Box Office
18 Nov 1974.
---
Daily Variety
11 Dec 1973
p. 13.
Hollywood Reporter
7 Mar 1975.
---
Hollywood Reporter
15 Apr 1975
p. 6.
Los Angeles Times
16 Apr 1975
Section H, p. 12.
Variety
23 Jan 1974
p. 24.
Variety
27 Feb 1974
p. 27.
Variety
13 Mar 1974
p. 36.
Variety
26 Jun 1974
p. 3.
Variety
26 Mar 1975
p. 20.
CAST
PRODUCTION CREDITS
NAME
PARENT COMPANY
PRODUCTION TEXTS
A 20th Century-Fox/Lion International Film
A Peter Rawley Production
Released by 20th Century-Fox Film Company
DISTRIBUTION COMPANY
NAME
CREDITED AS
CREDIT
DIRECTORS
Prod mgr
1st asst dir
PRODUCER
WRITER
PHOTOGRAPHY
Dir of photog
ART DIRECTOR
Art dir
FILM EDITORS
Asst ed
COSTUMES
Ward supv
MUSIC
SOUND
Dubbing ed
Dubbing ed
Completion rec by
VISUAL EFFECTS
Spec eff
Official Photofit Technique as invented by
MAKEUP
Make-up
PRODUCTION MISC
Prod supv
Prod accountant
Continuity
Asst to prod
Prod secy
Unit pub
COLOR PERSONNEL
Col by
DETAILS
Alternate Titles:
Ransom
Double Ransom
Release Date:
16 April 1975
Premiere Information:
Los Angeles opening: 16 April 1975
Production Date:
began 14 January 1974 In Oslo, Norway
Copyright Claimant:
Twentieth Century-Fox Film Corporation
Copyright Date:
26 November 1974
Copyright Number:
LP45067
Physical Properties:
Sound
Color
Duration(in mins):
88
MPAA Rating:
PG
Countries:
United Kingdom, United States
Language:
English
PCA No:
23976
Passed by NBR:
No
SYNOPSIS

Ships are blown up in a harbor, oil tanks burn, a bomb destroys a storefront, and London, England, police round up several suspects. At the “Scandinavia Department of the Interior,” in “Scandinavia,” a British policeman, Captain Frank Barnes, informs Scandinavia official Mr. Bernhard that Martin Shepherd, the man behind the bombings, has taken British Ambassador Palmer and his two servants hostage at Palmer’s Scandinavian residence. Shepherd demands that London police release his five imprisoned colleagues, and that the Scandinavian government provide him and his three fellow terrorists with parachutes and an airplane to Amsterdam, the Netherlands. Barnes goes to Palmer’s residence with Scandinavia’s Head of Security, Colonel Nils Tahlvik, and agrees to the deal. However, Tahlvik insists that the kidnappers will not take the ambassador’s Scandinavian servants on the airplane. Barnes tells Tahlvik privately that an insider has provided the location of Shepherd’s drop zone. Meanwhile, Ray Petrie and three other men hijack a Mey-Air airliner from London, just before it lands in Scandinavia, but the pilot, Captain Denver, purposely switches off the plane’s “anti-skid” mechanism and blows out the tires as he touches down. Petrie informs the pilot that his terrorist team has rigged the airplane to blow up. Then, as Barnes and Tahlvik listen in, Petrie calls the ambassador’s residence and tells Shepherd that he hijacked the plane for the kidnappers’ escape, because British intelligence discovered their airdrop location from one of the captives in London. Petrie suggests that Shepherd stay put until the airliner’s tires are replaced. When Tahlvik arrives at the airport, Bernhard tells him to keep out of the terrorists’ way, but Tahlvik’s boss, a Scandinavian general, pulls him aside to give him permission ... +


Ships are blown up in a harbor, oil tanks burn, a bomb destroys a storefront, and London, England, police round up several suspects. At the “Scandinavia Department of the Interior,” in “Scandinavia,” a British policeman, Captain Frank Barnes, informs Scandinavia official Mr. Bernhard that Martin Shepherd, the man behind the bombings, has taken British Ambassador Palmer and his two servants hostage at Palmer’s Scandinavian residence. Shepherd demands that London police release his five imprisoned colleagues, and that the Scandinavian government provide him and his three fellow terrorists with parachutes and an airplane to Amsterdam, the Netherlands. Barnes goes to Palmer’s residence with Scandinavia’s Head of Security, Colonel Nils Tahlvik, and agrees to the deal. However, Tahlvik insists that the kidnappers will not take the ambassador’s Scandinavian servants on the airplane. Barnes tells Tahlvik privately that an insider has provided the location of Shepherd’s drop zone. Meanwhile, Ray Petrie and three other men hijack a Mey-Air airliner from London, just before it lands in Scandinavia, but the pilot, Captain Denver, purposely switches off the plane’s “anti-skid” mechanism and blows out the tires as he touches down. Petrie informs the pilot that his terrorist team has rigged the airplane to blow up. Then, as Barnes and Tahlvik listen in, Petrie calls the ambassador’s residence and tells Shepherd that he hijacked the plane for the kidnappers’ escape, because British intelligence discovered their airdrop location from one of the captives in London. Petrie suggests that Shepherd stay put until the airliner’s tires are replaced. When Tahlvik arrives at the airport, Bernhard tells him to keep out of the terrorists’ way, but Tahlvik’s boss, a Scandinavian general, pulls him aside to give him permission to delay the hijackers. Tahlvik gets a list of passengers, establishes a command post in the airport tower, and talks to Petrie over the cockpit radio. Petrie demands two-way radios, one for himself and one for Shepherd, and when Tahlvik complies, he also gets a third radio to overhear their conversations. Tahlvik wonders how the hijackers got their guns through London airport security, especially since Petrie’s name on the passenger list should have raised red flags. Privately, Tahlvik brings in several commandos, and one of them sneaks up behind the airplane and reaches an entry plate beneath the cockpit. However, one of the hijackers steps out of the plane with a gun and sends him away. When Petrie radios Tahlvik and promises the next man will die, Barnes suddenly takes the walkie-talkie and warns that if there is any ”loss of life,” all bets are off. Realizing that only a “spotter” could have seen the commando, Tahlvik focuses on a line of small airplanes sitting on a nearby parking ribbon. When a Scandinavian agent lands a small jet and taxis into the line, the spotter, George Rawlings, takes off. The agent follows, gets the plane’s identification number, and radios ahead to the small airfield where Rawlings lands. Apprehended, he refuses to say anything, but a check of his criminal record shows he was arrested for smuggling, but the British government mysteriously dropped all charges. When mechanics finally replace the airliner’s tires, Petrie radios Shepherd to bring the captives. However, as Shepherd, his three fellow terrorists and their hostages drive to the airport in a minivan, Tahlvik’s men arrange for a jackknifed truck to trap them in a tunnel, where Shepherd cannot radio Petrie. Tahlvik’s commandos, with stockings over their faces, ride ahead in a similar minibus and prepare to board the airplane, but a mistake by one of the men alerts Petrie to the ruse, and before the commandos can overwhelm them, a terrorist puts a gun to a flight attendant’s head and forces Tahlvik to order his men off the plane. Tahlvik becomes suspicious when he sees a British diplomatic car waiting for the passengers to disembark, and learns that a courier is on board. He wonders why no shots were fired during the two aborted commando sorties, why Petrie and Rawlings were operating with the connivance of British authorities, and why Barnes warned Petrie that the deal was off if he caused any loss of life. He realizes that Petrie is an underground British agent who infiltrated the terrorist network, and that the hijacking was a British operation designed to get Shepherd, because they really did not know where the drop zone was. Once the passengers have been released and the terrorists and Ambassador Palmer have boarded the plane, Tahlvik arrests the British courier for bringing guns aboard in his diplomatic pouch. When Petrie requests that Captain Barnes replace the diplomat, Tahlvik puts on Barnes’s coat and hat, and boards the airplane. Shepherd, the only one who recognizes Barnes, spots the ruse, and in the resulting shootout, both Petrie and Shepherd are killed. The other terrorists are captured, and the ambassador is freed. +

Legend
Viewed by AFI
Partially Viewed
Offscreen Credit
Name Occurs Before Title
AFI Life Achievement Award

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