Black Sunday


Black Sunday

Critics Consensus

A smart, tense thriller from director John Frankenheimer, Black Sunday succeeds on a technical level, even if it fails to bring its characters to vivid life.



Total Count: 24


Audience Score

User Ratings: 3,896
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Movie Info

With the help of international terrorists, angry Vietnam vet Lander plots to cause trouble at the Super Bowl by sending in a Goodyear Blimp armed with steel darts. An Israeli officer fights to prevent this violence.

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Critic Reviews for Black Sunday

All Critics (24) | Top Critics (6)

  • Black Sunday may well make a bundle, thanks to the technical skill with which it manages its long-delayed payoff. But it is getting tiresome to be forced to admire, for want of anything else to do, the skill with which moviemakers jerk audiences around.

    Aug 23, 2016 | Full Review…
  • Violence (more than 30 on-screen deaths) makes a poor substitute for suspense, while sloppy, rear projection work drains most of the excitement from the climax.

    Aug 23, 2016 | Full Review…
  • Black Sunday takes such a plodding literal-minded approach with an extravagant thriller premise that we have more than enough time to watch the gears working and all too often jamming.

    Aug 23, 2016 | Full Review…
  • John Frankenheimer's film of Black Sunday is an intelligent and meticulous depiction of an act of outlandish terrorism -- the planned slaughter of the Super Bowl stadium audience.

    Mar 26, 2009 | Full Review…

    Variety Staff

    Top Critic
  • Unfortunately, all the major characters have a whiff of Hollywood artifice, largely because (as has happened too often before in his career) Frankenheimer gets carried away by their verbosity.

    Feb 9, 2006 | Full Review…

    David Pirie

    Time Out
    Top Critic
  • Why doesn't it work for me? I suspect it has to do with the constant awareness that the story is more important than anybody in it.

    May 20, 2003

Audience Reviews for Black Sunday

  • Jun 06, 2013
    Tense, thrilling and highly entertaining action thriller, Black Sunday is one of the defining films of the 1970's. With a brilliant cast and a well crafted plot based on the novel by Thomas Harris, this is an exciting and taut thrill ride from start to finish. Director John Frankenheimer direction is terrific and he delivers a picture that can stand up to any other action film of the period. Robert Shaw is terrific in his performance along with that of Bruce Dern who is a suicidal Former P.O.W who teams up with a Black September terrorist to orchestrate a terrorist attack at a Super Bowl. Shaw is on Dern's trail as a Mossad agent who has to stop the plot. Brilliant movie that has some great characters and an action packed plot that will entertain you from the start right up till the memorable climax. This is a standout film that is aided by a strong cast to deliver a picture that is among the most action packed thrillers I've seen in recent memory. Black Sunday is a great film that is action in its basic form. The film uses basic action film elements to create something intense and doesn't overdo anything like so many recent action films. This is a great picture that is brilliantly directed and is constantly thrilling. Movies like this are rare, and it's always a treat to watch something that has a great cast and effective action that doesn't boast computerized sequences. Black Sunday is a great ride from start to finish, one that will delight cinema buffs looking for a traditional action thriller that boasts a great story, instead of elaborate effects. Films like this are wonderful to watch, and they pack for thrills than many other films in the genre.
    Alex r Super Reviewer
  • Jan 02, 2010
    John Frankenheimer's intelligent thrilling film based upon Thomas Harris's best selling novel. About an Israeli commando named Robert Kabakov, played by the late great Robert Shaw who delivers a brilliantly realistic performance, during a raid on a terrorist headquarters he discovers a plot by the Black September terrorist organization to annihilate 80,000 people at the Super Bowl; with a Goodyear blimp loaded with a powerful projectile weapon of mass destruction. Masterful direction by the late Frankheimer, with outstanding performances by the entire cast, Marthe Keller and the lare Bekim Fehmu deliver superlative turns as the head terrorists, Fritz Weaver is solid as a F.B.I agent, and Bruce Dern is a standout as a deranged Vietnam War veteran who is a key player in the terrorist plot. Nail-biting suspense with marvelous action sequences, and a incredible aerial chase finale between a the deadly Goodyear blimp; and a cargo helicopter with Shaw and Weaver abroad trying to stop the blimp before it reaches the stadium. A thoroughly engrossing motion picture thriller. Highly Recommended.
    Danny R Super Reviewer
  • Dec 23, 2009
    Pretty damned tense and enjoyable, although it runs slow in some parts.
    Tim S Super Reviewer
  • Mar 22, 2009
    Gave up halfway through. Very not exciting.
    Marcus W Super Reviewer

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