More in-depth film festival coverage than any other website!
Home Reviews  Articles  Release Dates Coming Soon  DVD  Top 20s Criticwatch  Search
Public Forums  Festival Coverage  Contests About 

Overall Rating

Awesome: 19.23%
Worth A Look: 26.92%
Pretty Bad: 0%
Total Crap: 0%

2 reviews, 14 user ratings

Latest Reviews

Mortal Engines by Jay Seaver

Vox Lux by Peter Sobczynski

Spider-Man: Into The Spider-Verse by Peter Sobczynski

Vox Lux by alejandroariera

Parallel (2018) by Jay Seaver

Witch: Part 1 - The Subversion, The by Jay Seaver

Lôi Báo by Jay Seaver

Bohemian Rhapsody by Rob Gonsalves

Fireworks (2017) by Jay Seaver

Knuckleball (2018) by Jay Seaver

subscribe to this feed

Black Sunday
[] Buy posters from this movie
by Scott Weinberg

"Robert Shaw, Bruce Dern and a blimp crashing into a stadium = Fun"
3 stars

Sort of a Spy Thriller mixed with a Disaster Epic, John Frankenheimer's Black Sunday is a taut and tight little political thriller...that sorta slides right off the rails in its third act.

Given the current-day post-9/11 perspectives, this rather dated flick from 1977 takes on a creepy new attitude when looked at with modern eyes. Upon its original release, Black Sunday was offered as a harrowing "what if..." tale of terrorism run rampant, but nowadays the movie takes on an eerie prescience that nobody would have suspected.

The late, great Robert Shaw (Jaws) is Major David Kabakov, an Israeli anti-terrorist operative hot on the trail of the nefarious Dahlia Iyad. Along with her maniacal henchman (Bruce Dern as a Vietnam veteran with a taste for sniping), Dahlia aims to wipe out a huge percentage of the folks gathered to enjoy the Super Bowl. Using the Good-Year blimp.

Though Black Sunday leans a little towards the forced and the obvious (aw, gee, a CRAZY Vietnam vet? Brilliant!), many of these detriments were also evident in Thomas Harris' source material. One shortcoming that the movie holds is that it's pretty darn bloated, and frequently rather dull. Sure, things get pretty intense by the time we hit the Super Bowl finale, but those scenes are marred by special effects so silly that they pull one right out of the drama. I know these were effects created in 1976 and all, but c'mon. Star Wars was made in 1975!

Throughout the handful of exciting moments and the lengthy moments of exposition and general chit-chat, Black Sunday's superlative cast capably buoys the flick beyond its intermittent dry spells. Dern is a kooky hoot as the maladjusted veteran; Shaw is gruff and effortlessly commanding as the heroic soldier; familiar faces like Williams Daniels, Fritz Weaver and Michael Gazzo deliver strong supporting work. Hell, the movie even presents one of the earliest scores from master musician John Williams!

Though it doesn't rank near the finest efforts of director John Frankenheimer (The Manchurian Candidate, Seven Days in May, Ronin), Black Sunday is just crafty and creepy enough to earn some new fans even 25 years after its release.

It's not as campy as the Airport flicks and its not as thrilling as are the exploits of James Bond, but taken as a sort of combo between the two, you could certainly do a lot worse.

link directly to this review at
originally posted: 04/29/04 16:12:13
[printer] printer-friendly format  

User Comments

4/21/17 morris campbell a exciting well acted action yarn 4 stars
3/17/08 Pamela White disaster movie at its best great filming 4 stars
2/08/08 action movie fan after a muddled start, it becomes a tense powerful thirller with great visuals and personna 4 stars
4/17/05 Jeff Anderson Very compelling, well made & smart. Dern is great as always. One of J. Frankenheimer's BEST 5 stars
11/10/04 D. Kremer Overly deliberate pacing explodes too suddenly. Surprisingly poor Alonzo cinematography. 3 stars
12/08/03 john an intense and intelligent thriller 5 stars
4/07/03 Jack Sommersby A first-rate action thriller. Superb direction and perfs by Shaw and Dern. 4 stars
1/11/03 Paul Coleman This is a spectacular, frightening and timely motion picture! 4 stars
10/15/02 Charles Tatum This is ripe for a really decent remake 5 stars
4/04/02 R.W. Welch Pretty fair race-against-disaster flick, keeps you glued. 4 stars
5/24/01 Erik North Tremendous suspense epic from director John Frankenheimer 5 stars
5/01/00 Gus Van Sant GREAT SHITE! 5 stars
Note: Duplicate, 'planted,' or other obviously improper comments
will be deleted at our discretion. So don't bother posting 'em. Thanks!
Your Name:
Your Comments:
Your Location: (state/province/country)
Your Rating:

Discuss this movie in our forum

  02-Jun-1977 (R)



Directed by
  John Frankenheimer

Written by
  Ernest Lehman

  Robert Shaw
  Bruce Dern
  Marthe Keller
  Fritz Weaver
  Steven Keats
  Bekim Fehmiu

Home Reviews  Articles  Release Dates Coming Soon  DVD  Top 20s Criticwatch  Search
Public Forums  Festival Coverage  Contests About Australia's Largest Movie Review Database.
Privacy Policy | HBS Inc. | |   

All data and site design copyright 1997-2017, HBS Entertainment, Inc.
Search for
reviews features movie title writer/director/cast