In today's The Wall Street Journal's "Weekend Journal" section there is an article by Jon Weinbach, entitled "The Other Munich movie" (p.W4). As the article begins, "Nearly everyone who's seen Steven Spielberg's 'Munich' seems to have a strong opinion about the movie." My own view is strongly negative, and of his screenwriter, unprintable. But as Mr. Weinbach points out, "Now there's something else to add to the discussion: It turns out there was a cable-TV movie made 20 years ago about the same historical events, and some people involved in that production say the Spielberg movie is getting too much credit for originality."
The earlier film is called "The Sword of Gideon" (with Steven Bauer, Michael York, Rod Steiger, and Colleen Dewhurst). It too "focuses on an Israeli agent named Avner who faces a crisis of conscience after helping assassinate Palestinians believed to be behind the Munich slayings." The article points out other similarities, but importantly notes that similarities should be expected because both films are based on the same 1984 book, "Vengeance," by George Jonas, as well as, to some extent, the actual events.
But beyond this, there are some less explainable similarities, including details not found in the book and certain camera angles. Robert Lantos, producer of "Sword of Gideon," is quoted as saying "some parts of the current film are 'almost re-enactments' of his 1986 work. 'It's a testament to the cunning and foresight of Spielberg's publicity machine that 'Sword of Gideon' has not made it onto anyone's radar, he says."
Whether any of this would amount to infringement is highly doubtful, and the kvetching may just be jealousy. But if one truly wants foresight, consider that Universal, which has distribution rights to Munich, owns the film rights to "Vengeance" and the remake rights to Sword of Gideon.