How ''Munich'' matches up with ''Sword of Gideon'' -- Marc Bernardin looks at how Steven Spielberg's epic compares to a 1986 TV movie based on the same source material

By Marc Bernardin
Updated January 06, 2006 at 05:00 AM EST


  • Movie

If the plot of Steven Spielberg’s Munich sounds familiar — Israeli agents hunt down the terrorists who planned the 1972 Olympics massacre — that’s because it was also the story line of Sword of Gideon, and since both were inspired by George Jonas’ 1984 novel Vengeance, they’re bound to share much of the same DNA. But here are some differences.


AVNER’S BACKGROUND Avner (Steven Bauer) is a tank commander recruited by the Mossad.

INTRODUCING THE TEAM We meet Avner’s squad after an ill-conceived training sequence (complete with jumping rope).

THE STORY BEHIND ”PAPA” The French information broker known as Papa (Lino Ventura) spent time in prison with Avner’s father.

THE COST OF FILMING VENGEANCE Considering it was a TV movie (albeit an ambitious, globe-trotting TV movie), the budget couldn’t have been very high.


AVNER’S BACKGROUND Avner (Eric Bana) is an unremarkable agent who once served as Golda Meir’s bodyguard.

INTRODUCING THE TEAM Avner cooks his men a huge traditional meal (complete with brisket).

THE STORY BEHIND ”PAPA” Avner’s initial connection with Papa (Michael Lonsdale) is through Louis (Mathieu Amalric), who would be very popular in prison.

THE COST OF FILMING VENGEANCE Considering it comes from Spielberg and Universal, it looks like Avner Kauffman and the Last Crusade.

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  • 164 minutes