The Kidnapping of the President

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The Kidnapping of the President
Kidnapping of the president.jpeg
Theatrical film poster
Directed by George Mendeluk
Produced by George Mendeluk
John Ryan
Written by Richard Murphy
Charles Templeton
Starring William Shatner
Hal Holbrook
Van Johnson
Ava Gardner
Music by Nash the Slash
Paul Zaza
Cinematography Mike Molloy
Edited by Michael MacLaverty
Distributed by Crown International Pictures
Release date
  • 15 August 1980 (1980-08-15) (U.S.)
  • 19 September 1980 (1980-09-19) (Canada)
Running time
114 minutes
Country Canada
United States
Language English

The Kidnapping of the President is a 1980 Canadian-American political thriller film starring William Shatner, Hal Holbrook, Van Johnson and Ava Gardner. It was produced and directed by George Mendeluk and co-produced by John Ryan from a screenplay by Richard Murphy and Charles Templeton, based on Templeton's novel. The original music was by Nash the Slash and Paul Zaza and the cinematography by Mike Molloy. The film was made by Presidential Films and Sefel Films and distributed by Crown International Pictures.


During a diplomatic visit to Toronto, the U.S. President Adam Scott (Hal Holbrook) is abducted by a South American terrorist, Roberto Assanti (Miguel Fernandes), and his female accomplice, and is held captive in an armored truck booby-trapped with high explosives. The elaborate bomb keeps the Secret Service at bay until Assanti is killed. However, the explosives are timed to detonate at midnight, so Secret Service agent Jerry O'Connor (Shatner) has to find a way into the truck to rescue the President before it detonates. Also involved are U.S Vice-President Ethan Richards (Johnson) and his wife Beth (Gardner).


The film differs in a number of ways from the novel by Charles Templeton on which it was based. The novel set the kidnapping in New York City's Herald Square, and the subsequent siege in nearby Times Square, whereas the film moved the action to Templeton's home city of Toronto.

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