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The Tragedy of Flight 103: The Inside Story (1990)

Examination of the events that led to the 1988 bombing of Pan Am flight 103 over Lockerbie, Scotland.


Leslie Woodhead


Michael Eaton


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Cast overview, first billed only:
Ned Beatty ... Edward C. Acker
Peter Boyle ... Fred Ford
Harry Ditson ... Martin Shugrue
Vincent Gardenia ... Harry Pizer
Timothy West ... Col. Wilfred Wood
Michael Wincott ... Ulrich Weber
Sean Pertwee ... Oliver Koch
Richard Howard Richard Howard ... Berndt Meyer
Michael Cronin Michael Cronin ... Martin Hübner
Stephen Hoye Stephen Hoye ... Tommy Dome
Emma Martin Emma Martin ... Beate Franzki
Peter Darling Peter Darling ... Profile Screener 1
Sandra Butterworth Sandra Butterworth ... Profile Screener 2
Rivca Rubin Rivca Rubin ... Alert Employee
Martin Read Martin Read ... X Ray Scanner (as Martyn Read)


On December 21, 1988, Pan American Airways flight 103, a Boeing 747 carrying 259 people on a London-New York flight, was brought down by a bomb over Lockerbie, Scotland, killing all on board, plus 11 people on the ground. This film goes back several years before the bombing, starting with Pan Am's botched "Alert" safety program to boost public confidence. Then, the accidental downing of an Iranian airliner by a US Navy warship pushed an extremist group to prepare a counter-attack, with a bomb disguised as a radio cassette player... while "Alert" is not heeding to the numerous safety concerns. Written by Sergio Ortega

Plot Summary | Add Synopsis


Documentary | Drama


PG | See all certifications »






Release Date:

9 December 1990 (USA) See more »

Also Known As:

Why Lockerbie? See more »

Filming Locations:

Malta See more »

Company Credits

Production Co:

Granada Television See more »
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Technical Specs



Sound Mix:



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Did You Know?


The Air Malta baggage tag on the brown suitcase flying from Malta to Frankfurt says "Flight KM182", but the narrator later says this same suitcase starts its journey on flight KM180. See more »


Ulrich Weber: Koch, you typed up that agenda for tomorrow's meeting?
Oliver Koch: Yes, I'm just doing it. Ulli?
Ulrich Weber: Hm?
Oliver Koch: I noticed there's nothing in here about security.
Ulrich Weber: It's an administrative session!
Oliver Koch: Well, I was just thinking about that warning we got a couple of weeks back.
Ulrich Weber: What are you talking about?
Oliver Koch: Well, you know, that... they picked up that cell and terrorist setup in Neuss. Something about bombs in tape recorders.
Ulrich Weber: Pan Am didn't expect us to do anything special with that one.
Oliver Koch: I recommend it should be on today's agenda...
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User Reviews

Not likely as an in flight movie
15 April 2007 | by rps-2See all my reviews

This a brutally honest, compellingly accurate, brilliantly crafted film. It's not exactly a docudrama. But it examines the facts behind the Lockerbee bombing in a dramatic fashion without preaching. And who among us, whether in the airline business, cigarettes, cat food or something else has not been trapped in the pressures of the sort of corporate culture that is so well documented here. Do you resign in conscience or do you reluctantly do what you're told in order to save your job. There are no real bad guys here; just a lot of disillusioned ones. Even the terrorists have their redeeming qualities. A whole lot of people got trapped in a situation that inevitably took on a life (and death) of its own. I am astounded this superb film has had such limited exposure. But don't expect to see it as in flight entertainment.

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