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The Assassination at Sarajevo (1975)

Atentat u Sarajevu (original title)
Historical depiction of the events preceding the political murder of Archduke Franz Ferdinand, would-be emperor of the Austro-Hungarian throne, in Sarajevo, June 28, 1914. A World War would... See full summary »


Veljko Bulajic


Vladimír Bor (screenplay), Stevan Bulajic (screenplay) | 2 more credits »
1 win. See more awards »


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Credited cast:
Christopher Plummer ... Archduke Ferdinand
Florinda Bolkan ... Sophie
Maximilian Schell ... Djuro Sarac
Irfan Mensur Irfan Mensur ... Gavrilo Princip
Rados Bajic Rados Bajic ... Nedeljko Cabrinovic
Ivan Vyskocil Ivan Vyskocil ... Mehmedbasic
Libuse Safránková ... Jelena
Otomar Korbelár Otomar Korbelár ... Emperor Franz Joseph
Wilhelm Koch-Hooge Wilhelm Koch-Hooge ... Franz Conrad
Jirí Holý ... Merizzi
Nelly Gaierová ... Countess Langus
Jirí Kodet ... Morsley
Rest of cast listed alphabetically:
Dusan Blaskovic
Zdenek Braunschläger Zdenek Braunschläger
Otakar Brousek


Historical depiction of the events preceding the political murder of Archduke Franz Ferdinand, would-be emperor of the Austro-Hungarian throne, in Sarajevo, June 28, 1914. A World War would start there, that some claim has not yet ended - merely changed fighting grounds once in a while. Written by raf

Plot Summary | Add Synopsis


The fuse is lit . . . the seconds tick away . . .


Drama | History


R | See all certifications »

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Release Date:

31 October 1975 (Yugoslavia) See more »

Also Known As:

Der Tag, der die Welt veränderte See more »

Company Credits

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Technical Specs

Sound Mix:



Color (Eastmancolor)

Aspect Ratio:

2.35 : 1
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Did You Know?


Semizova Kafana
Verses from the poem written by Rajko Petrov-Nogo
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User Reviews

Overblown and Boring
11 April 2005 | by SgtSlaughterSee all my reviews

This Yugoslav epic is loud, boisterous but, surprisingly, incredibly boring and flat. Even a few great actors can't make this story rise above average.

In 1914, Serbian terrorists head to Sarajevo. Their goal: intercept Austrian Archduke Franz Ferdinand (Christopher Plummer) and assassinate him, hopefully provoking a national uprising against the long-time Austrian menace.

Christopher Plummer ("The Royal Hunt of the Sun") and Maximilian Schell ("The Young Lions") are both fine actors – Schell is almost always brilliant in off-the-wall performances, and Plummer has carried a number of excellent dramas. Here, the two men seem to be sleepwalking through their roles. As Ferdinand, Plummer is both uninteresting and unengaging. There is nothing particularly bad about his performance; he is just weak and shallow.

Schell fares only slightly better in a more limited role as a Serb who provides training and arms to the terrorists. His interrogation is especially good, until the rather hammy conclusion. The young Yugoslav actors try very hard; this was the first "big" international film for all of them. Unfortunately, the script doesn't allow them to dig very deep into their hearts for any real emotion. They're committed to their cause, but the audience doesn't really know why – therefore, we can never really relate and end up feeling completely detached from the on screen action.

Veteran director Bulajic handles the production very well. His camera is always on the move, and the fast-paced editing during the climax is excellent. The last 10 minutes or so of the film are particularly nail-biting and engaging, ending with a bittersweet climax and rather mournful score. Again, though, the dramatic effect of these scenes is seriously hampered by a lack of character development.

This is a historically accurate film, make no mistake about that. In trying to re-create the details so faithfully, however, the producers did not take any creative liberty with the story. There wasn't anything particularly interesting or suspenseful about the events leading up to Ferdinand's assassination, and there is not much suspense or engagement in the film, either. A few encounters with the police or military authorities are resolved quickly with expected results. Plummer's stronger moments – including a great opening scene and, later, a discussion of an invasion of Serbia – fade into the background because they are never developed. Every scene in this film stands alone; while there is a continuous narrative, there is no strong uniting theme or ideal behind the storyline. This is simply a no-holds-barred look at history and the result is a tedious sequence of flat scenes.

"The Day that Shook the World" is a well-meaning movie that gets so caught up in self-importance that it fails to engage the audience in its story. High production values and a cast of stars do not guarantee success if the script is a weak failure. This is enjoyable only for history buffs or perhaps for an audience with a connection to the events. I can understand why foreign audiences may not enjoy patriotic American films; I cannot enjoy a patriotic foreign film if the themes do not apply to me in some way, and that is what this movie is – and inapplicable piece of nostalgia.

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