The Taking of Flight 847: The Uli Derickson Story

The Taking of Flight 847: The Uli Derickson Story (also marketed as The Flight[1] for home video releases) is a 1988 American made-for-television drama film based on the actual hijacking of TWA Flight 847 as seen through the eyes of Uli Derickson, the chief flight attendant.[2] Derickson herself acted as a consultant for the film. The film was directed by Paul Wendkos.[3]

The Taking of Flight 847: The Uli Derickson Story
Original print ad
Also known asThe Flight (home video release
DVD and Blu-Ray reissue)
Written byNorman Morrill
Directed byPaul Wendkos
StarringLindsay Wagner
Eli Danker
Sandy McPeak
Music byGil Mellé
Demis Roussos
Country of originUnited States
Original language(s)English, Arabic, German
Executive producer(s)Jim Calio
David Hume Kennerly
Producer(s)Jay Benson
Production location(s)Stage 20, Warner Brothers Burbank Studios - 4000 Warner Boulevard, Burbank
CinematographyChuck Arnold
Editor(s)James Galloway
Running time100 minutes
Production company(s)Columbia TriStar Television
Original networkNBC
Picture formatColor
Audio formatMono
Original releaseMay 2, 1988


The film 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[4] and singing a folk song[5], 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.



In 1988, at the 40th Primetime Emmy Awards, the film received five Emmy nominations: for Outstanding Television Movie[6]; Outstanding Directing for a Limited Series, Movie, or Dramatic Special[7]; Outstanding Makeup for a Limited Series or Movie (Non-Prosthetic); Outstanding Single-Camera Picture Editing for a Limited Series or Movie; and David Yewdall[8] for Outstanding Sound Editing for a Limited Series, Movie, or Special.[9]


  1. López, Daniel (1 January 1993). "Films by genre: 775 categories, styles, trends, and movements defined, with a filmography for each". McFarland & Co. via Google Books.
  2. Kamalipour, Yahya R. (1 January 1997). "The U.S. Media and the Middle East: Image and Perception". Greenwood Publishing Group via Google Books.
  3. "The Taking of Flight 847: The Uli Derickson Story". Turner Classic Movies. Atlanta: Turner Broadcasting System (Time Warner). Retrieved August 13, 2016.
  4. Pearl, Jonathan; Pearl, Judith (1 January 1999). "The Chosen Image: Television's Portrayal of Jewish Themes and Characters". McFarland via Google Books.
  5. Cabot, Meg (4 September 2008). "The Princess Diaries: Give Me Five". Pan Macmillan via Google Books.
  6. Desk, TV News. "CBS's 48 HOURS Presents 'The Spymasters - CIA in the Crosshairs' Tonight".
  7. Roberts, Jerry (5 June 2009). "Encyclopedia of Television Film Directors". Scarecrow Press via Google Books.
  8. Pedersen, Erik; Pedersen, Erik (6 July 2017). "David Yewdall Dies: 'The Fifth Element' & 'The Thing' Sound Editor Was 66".
  9. "Nominees/Winners". Television Academy.
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