SPIEGEL: In a long closing sequence you show the — then still standing — Twin Towers of Manhattan, implying that you see a link between September 5, 1972 in Munich and September 11, 2001 in New York.
SPIELBERG: I don’t think that these acts can be compared in terms of their perpetrators. There is no connection between the Palestinian terror of that time and the al-Qaida terror of today. The Israeli-Palestinian conflict and Jihadism have nothing to do with each other.
Spielberg played down the relevance of the closing shot of Munich in an interview with German newspaper Spiegel in 2006, and in one way he was right to; the shot does not suggest that Munich in 1972 and New York in 2001 are equivalents. However, it does connect the events in a less literal sense.
By referencing the World Trade Centre so explicitly, Spielberg breaks down the barriers of history and nationality that could help the audience distance themselves from the film and the events it depicts.
The Munich massacre and the response to it cannot be consigned to a history book and forgotten about, he says, and it is not a problem that is exclusive to the Middle East. Terrorism is global disease, affecting all people in all countries, be that Germany, America, Israel, Palestine or Britain.
The closing shot therefore rhymes with the film’s title sequence, which features the names of cities that have been terrorist targets appearing on screen. Munich is highlighted and slowly the white font it is written in turns red.