17 user 6 critic

Sky Riders (1976)

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When an industrialist's wife and kids are kidnapped by terrorists in Greece, the woman's ex-husband comes to the rescue with a plan involving hang gliders.


Douglas Hickox


Jack DeWitt (screenplay) (as Jack De Witt), Stanley Mann (screenplay) | 3 more credits »



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Cast overview, first billed only:
James Coburn ... Jim McCabe
Susannah York ... Ellen Bracken
Robert Culp ... Jonas Bracken
Charles Aznavour ... Inspector Nikolidis
Harry Andrews ... Auerbach
John Beck ... Ben
Zouzou ... Female terrorist (as Zou Zou)
Kenneth Griffith Kenneth Griffith ... Wasserman
Werner Pochath ... Number One Terrorist
Antonis Antypas Antonis Antypas ... Dimitri (as Anthony Antypas)
Telis Zotos ... Bracken's secretary
Nikos Tsachiridis ... Gatekeeper
Ernie F. Orsatti ... Joe (as Ernie Orsatti)
Barbara Trentham ... Della
Henry Brown ... Martin


Robert Culp plays Bracken, a rich industrialist whose life seems perfect until his wife, Ellen, and their children are kidnapped by terrorists. After failed attempts by the police to capture the terrorists, Ellen's ex husband enters the fray and plans his own rescue attempt. James Coburn plays McCabe, Ellen's ex-husband who hires a crew of professional hang gliders to help him rescue her and the kids from the terrorists' mountain top lair. Written by Patrick Knightly <pjknight@polsci.umass.edu>

Plot Summary | Add Synopsis


He's got to get her out, if its the last thing he does! See more »


Action | Adventure


PG | See all certifications »



USA | Greece



Release Date:

21 May 1976 (West Germany) See more »

Also Known As:

Hostages See more »

Filming Locations:



Box Office


$350,000 (estimated)
See more on IMDbPro »

Company Credits

Production Co:

Twentieth Century Fox See more »
Show more on IMDbPro »

Technical Specs


Sound Mix:

Mono | Mono (Westrex Recording System)



Aspect Ratio:

2.35 : 1
See full technical specs »

Did You Know?


The monastery location seen in the film is located at Meteora, Greece. Its the same famed region that featured in the later James Bond movie For Your Eyes Only (1981). See more »


During the supposed night-time rescue operation when the rescuers hang-glided in for the rescue, you can clearly see the shadows of the hang gliders on the rocks below them. So, clearly these scenes were shot in the daytime with a dark filter used to make it look like nighttime. See more »


Featured in Dusk to Dawn Drive-In Trash-o-Rama Show Vol. 6 (1999) See more »

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User Reviews

Nail-biting and thrilling picture dealing with hang-gilders versus left wing political extremists in the Greek mountains
21 June 2017 | by ma-cortesSee all my reviews

¨Assault on the forbidden fortress¨ or ¨Sky riders¨ is an entertaining film with interesting plot , glorious Greek exteriors and with no depth characterization . Nice and agreeable thriller with a great cast , noisy action , sensational stunts , thrills and suspense abound in this fun movie . Concerning about an industrialist's (Robert Culp) wife (Susannah York ) and kiddies are abducted by a terrorist organization called ¨World Activists Revolutionary Army¨ commanded by two nasty cutthroats (Werner Pochath , Zou Zou) who even pack bazookas , machine guns and dynamite in their mountain retreat somewhere in Greece . How to get at them ? , the surprising solution results to be the following : a nearby group of hang-gliding freaks (led by John Beck) in Greece , as the woman's ex-husband called Jim McCabe (James Coburn) comes to the rescue with a plan involving hang gliders . As the valiant Jim McCabe , supported by Inspector Nikolidis (Charles Aznavour) , recruits a team of volunteers who attempt to outwit the kidnapping rioters . As the brave hang-gilders using their spectacular ¨Delta wings¨ risk it all to take on a bunch of political abducting people . They'll try anything once ... especially if it's impossible!

Good and typical action movie with an amazing as well as startling finale , including a particular novelty : some impressive scenes about sky riding . Expert stunts , moving script by Jack DeWitt and Stanley Mann and acceptable acting make it a fun movie in any era . Breathtaking hang-gliding footage , emotion , thrills and gorgeous locations make up for garden-variety screenplay . And the last thirty minutes is sheer violence , mindless , mayhem and destruction . Fine acting from James Coburn in his usual laconic style as an intelligent he-man who rescues ex-wife from clutches of nasty kidnappers . This tough action well made by Douglas Hickock contains a stirring and rousing score by Lalo Schifrin , adding Greek sounds . Colorful cinematography by Ousama Rawi and Jim Freeman , shot on location in the Varlaam monastery in Meteora, Greece .

The motion picture was compellingly directed by Douglas Hickox in his ordinary cold-blood style . Hickock was an expert at blazing action scenes and realizing acceptable films until his early death at 59 , being his film debut : ¨It's All Over Town¨ and his final ¨Dirty Dozen: The Series¨, TV series . Being father of directors Anthony Hickox and James D.R. Hickox . Douglas began as an assistant director and second unit director in the 1950's . Before working on feature films , he also directed hundreds of commercials . As part of a bequest , the Douglas Hickox Award is given to a British director on their debut feature . Douglas made all kinds of genres and playing them known actors , such as Drama : ¨Sins¨ (85) with Joan Collins , ¨Mistral's daughter¨ (84) with Stacy Keach ; Black comedy : ¨Entertaining Mr Sloane¨ (70) with Harry Andrews ; Monster movie : ¨Behemoth , the sea monster¨ co-directed by Eugene Lorie with Gene Evans ; Thriller : ¨Blackout¨ (85) with Richard Widmark , ¨Sitting Target¨ with Oliver Reed ; Warlike : ¨Zulu dawn¨ (79) with Peter O'Toole ; a Sherlock movie : ¨The Hound of Baskervilles¨ with Ian Richardson , Action : ¨Brannigan¨ with John Wayne , and his best film was ¨Theatre of blood¨ an ironical terror/comedy with Vincent Price .

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