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  • wes-connors28 September 2009
    "Based on a true story, 'Steal the Sky' stars Mariel Hemingway as the American-born Israeli spy Helen Mason. Sent to Iraq to coerce an Iraqi pilot into hijacking a Soviet jet for Israeli defense research, she seduces Munir Redfa (Ben Cross) in order to blackmail him - with unexpected results. Helen finds herself falling in love with him, endangering the mission, while he is torn between his love for her and his loyalty to Iraq," according to the DVD sleeve's synopsis. New age artist Yanni provides the soundtrack.

    A dull look at 1960s Middle-Eastern politics, seen through the filter of 1980s United States HBO-TV movie-making lenses. In hindsight, the focus on Iraq is interesting - who would have guessed, during the filming of "Steal the Sky", that the US would go to war with Iraq to find "Weapons of Mass Destruction" and make the country a Western-styled democracy? The best part of the story occurs near the end, after the hijacking. For his good work, Mr. Cross was nominated for a Cable ACE "Best Actor" award.

    **** Steal the Sky (8/28/88) John Hancock ~ Mariel Hemmingway, Ben Cross, Sasson Gabai, Nicolas Surovy
  • The Iraqi pilot did defect to Israel with his jet, but that is about the only thing this movie and the reality has in common.

    The problem is that for a limited budget TV movie like this, most of the money is spent on paying celebrity Mariel Hemingway instead of being spent on making more realistic scenes. As a result, the movie had very serious flaws that is easily recognized by those with limited military and historical background:

    For example, all jets used in this movie are two generations earlier than what was in real life: the Iraqi pilot defected with MiG-21 delta-wing supersonic fighters, but in the movie, this was replaced by obsolete subsonic swept wing MiG-17.

    For Israeli Air Force, its delta winged supersonic fighter derived from the French Mirage III is replaced by the jet three generations earlier in this movie: the straight winged subsonic USA F-80 jet that first entered service at the end of World War II, more than two decades before the actual defection.

    More financial resource should be spent on making this movie more realistic because the story is good enough for any actress, there is no need to hire a celebrity specifically.
  • Okay, historical accuracy is only approximate... Mig 15, Mig 17, Mig 21 well, whatever it was, I'm sure it's not important to get this spot on. What I think is important, the big picture, the story as a whole, the drama, the excitement... that really comes through. The tension builds up, and the timing all adds to a tense climax.

    I do love this film ; the actors are great and the sense of speed and awesome shots of low level flying (I don't think this is enough to qualify as a spoiler) are thrilling. This is my favourite film about warplanes / fighters... and is much better than Top Gun in my opinion. In fact, writing this I've just got myself all excited about it ... and you know what... maybe I'll go upstairs and watch it one more time!! Do not miss it just because one reviewer says the facts are off (because they are... it's just based on a true story).
  • The granddaughter of the great writer, Mariel Hemingway, is neither a great beauty nor a first-rate actress. She only played in mediocre films, mediocre roles, one exception being Woody Allen's "Manhattan" (1979). Here too she is unconvincing in the role of a Mossad agent. Ben Cross, a decent actor in other films, is just as unconvincing as an Iraqi pilot. Andreas Katsulas, an actor with a sinister face, is much more credible. For a moment, in one scene, I recognized the Romanian actor Dan Nutu, who is not even credited. A very boring movie, actually pure pro-Israel propaganda. Yanni's music, very good in many albums, is not great, on the contrary. One star though for Mariel, because she tried hard.