Black Sunday


2h 23m 1977

Brief Synopsis

Terrorists threaten to unleash a deadly plague at the Superbowl.

Film Details

MPAA Rating
Genre
Drama
Action
Thriller
Release Date
1977

Technical Specs

Duration
2h 23m
Sound
Mono
Color
Color
Theatrical Aspect Ratio
2.35 : 1

Synopsis

An Israeli counter-terrorism operative tries to stop an unbalanced Vietnam vet and a Black September activist who plot to murder the entire Super Bowl stadium audience by flying the Goodyear blimp into the capacity Orange Bowl crowd and firing thousands of poisoned darts into the fleeing spectators.

Film Details

MPAA Rating
Genre
Drama
Action
Thriller
Release Date
1977

Technical Specs

Duration
2h 23m
Sound
Mono
Color
Color
Theatrical Aspect Ratio
2.35 : 1

Articles

Ernest Lehman (1915-2005)


Ernest Lehman, the acclaimed screenwriter who did everything from stranding Cary Grant in a cornfield (North by Northwest) to seeing Julie Andrews help the Von Trap family escape the Nazis in (The Sound of Music) died on July 2 in Los Angeles following an undisclosed illness. He was 89.

Born on December 8, 1915 in New York City, Lehman graduated from New York's City College with a degree in English. After graduation he found work as a writer for many mediums: radio, theater, and popular magazines of the day like Collier's before landing his first story in Hollywood for the comedy, The Inside Story (1948). The success of that film didn't lead immediately to screenwriting some of Hollywood's biggest hits, but his persistancy to break into the silver screen paid off by the mid-'50s: the delicious Audrey Hepburn comedy Sabrina (1954, his first Oscar® nomination and first Golden Globe award); Paul Newman's first hit based on the life of Rocky Graziano Somebody Up There Likes Me; and his razor sharp expose of the publicity world based on his own experiences as an assistant for a theatre publicist The Sweet Smell of Success (1957).

Lehman's verasitily and gift for playful dialogue came to the fore for Alfred Hitchcock's memorable North by Northwes (1959, his second Oscar® nomination); and he showed a knack for moving potentially stiff Broadway fodder into swift cinematic fare with West Side Story (1961, a third Oscar® nomination); The Sound of Music (1965); Who's Afraid of Virginia Woolf? (1966); and Hello, Dolly! (1969, the last two being his final Oscar® nominations for screenwriting).

Lehman took his turn as a director when he adapted Philip Roth's comic novel Portnoy's Complaint (1972) for film, and despite some good reviews, it wasn't a commercial hit. He wrote just two more screenplays before retiring: an underrated comic mystery gem for Hitchcock Family Plot (1976); and the big budget Robert Shaw espionage drama Black Sunday (1977). Lehman served as president of the Writers Guild of America from 1983-85. After going zero for five with his Oscar® nominations, the Academy made it up to him in 2001, by presenting him with an honorary Academy Award for his "body of varied and enduring work." Lehman is survived by his wife Laurie and three children.

by Michael T. Toole
Ernest Lehman (1915-2005)

Ernest Lehman (1915-2005)

Ernest Lehman, the acclaimed screenwriter who did everything from stranding Cary Grant in a cornfield (North by Northwest) to seeing Julie Andrews help the Von Trap family escape the Nazis in (The Sound of Music) died on July 2 in Los Angeles following an undisclosed illness. He was 89. Born on December 8, 1915 in New York City, Lehman graduated from New York's City College with a degree in English. After graduation he found work as a writer for many mediums: radio, theater, and popular magazines of the day like Collier's before landing his first story in Hollywood for the comedy, The Inside Story (1948). The success of that film didn't lead immediately to screenwriting some of Hollywood's biggest hits, but his persistancy to break into the silver screen paid off by the mid-'50s: the delicious Audrey Hepburn comedy Sabrina (1954, his first Oscar® nomination and first Golden Globe award); Paul Newman's first hit based on the life of Rocky Graziano Somebody Up There Likes Me; and his razor sharp expose of the publicity world based on his own experiences as an assistant for a theatre publicist The Sweet Smell of Success (1957). Lehman's verasitily and gift for playful dialogue came to the fore for Alfred Hitchcock's memorable North by Northwes (1959, his second Oscar® nomination); and he showed a knack for moving potentially stiff Broadway fodder into swift cinematic fare with West Side Story (1961, a third Oscar® nomination); The Sound of Music (1965); Who's Afraid of Virginia Woolf? (1966); and Hello, Dolly! (1969, the last two being his final Oscar® nominations for screenwriting). Lehman took his turn as a director when he adapted Philip Roth's comic novel Portnoy's Complaint (1972) for film, and despite some good reviews, it wasn't a commercial hit. He wrote just two more screenplays before retiring: an underrated comic mystery gem for Hitchcock Family Plot (1976); and the big budget Robert Shaw espionage drama Black Sunday (1977). Lehman served as president of the Writers Guild of America from 1983-85. After going zero for five with his Oscar® nominations, the Academy made it up to him in 2001, by presenting him with an honorary Academy Award for his "body of varied and enduring work." Lehman is survived by his wife Laurie and three children. by Michael T. Toole

Quotes

My mother once said "Anyone who has a nervous breakdown has got to have something wrong with them".
- Robert Moshevsky
Cancel the Super Bowl? That's like canceling Christmas!
- Joseph Robbie

Trivia

the TV director covering the Miami Superbowl game.

The actual game that was being played in the film was Superbowl X between the Pittsburgh Steelers and the Dallas Cowboys at Miami. Respective scores: 21 to 17.

Movie cameras used in filming during the Super Bowl game were disguised as TV cameras with CBS logos.

The climactic scene in which the blimp descends onto the Orange Bowl was filmed the day before the actual game to avoid setting off a real panic.

At least some parts of the climatic scene were filmed after the Superbowl, including shots of the nose of the blimp coming onto the field as extras ran about wildly. Only the front portion of the blimp and gondola were recreated for this "head-on" shot and the whole thing was controlled by a crane.

The Goodyear blimp used in the filming was the airship "Mayflower".

Miscellaneous Notes

Released in United States Spring March 1, 1977

Released in United States April 1981

Actor-director John Frankenheimer died July 6, 2002 of a stroke at the age of 72.

Released in United States Spring March 1, 1977

Released in United States April 1981 (Shown at FILMEX: Los Angeles International Film Exposition ("Scared to Death": Horror Movie Marathon) April 2-23, 1981.)