The Taking of Flight 847: The Uli Derickson Story

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The Taking of Flight 847: The Uli Derickson Story
The Flight (1988 film).jpg
Home video cover using the title The Flight
Directed by Paul Wendkos
Produced by Francis Ford Coppola (exec. producer)
Fred Roos
Tom Sternberg
Written by Norman Morrill
Starring Lindsay Wagner
Eli Danker
Sandy McPeak
Music by Gil Melle and Demis Roussos
Cinematography Chuck Arnold
Edited by James Galloway
Distributed by Columbia TriStar Television
Release date
  • 1988 (1988)
Running time
100 minutes
Country United States
Language English, Arabic, German

The Taking of Flight 847: The Uli Derickson Story, also marketed as The Flight for home video releases as well as DVD reissues, 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.[1]


Print ad showing the original broadcast title

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.[citation needed]


  • 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.[2]


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