The film, set in the aftermath of the massacre of 11 Israeli athletes, is set for release on 23 December, the studio said in a statement.

It tells the story of the Israeli agents sent to track down and assassinate 11 Palestinians believed to have planned the attack, and "the personal toll this mission of revenge takes on the team and the man who led it", the statement added.

The 5 September 1972 attack by the Black September faction of the Palestine Liberation Organisation on the Olympic Village ended in carnage at a German airfield, when German troops tried to storm the helicopters provided for the abductors.

Educational 

Aside from the 11 Israelis, five of the eight assailants and a German police officer were killed.

"The attack at Munich by Black September and the Israeli response to it was a defining moment in the modern history of the Middle East," the statement quoted Spielberg as saying.

"It's easy to look back at historic events with the benefit of hindsight. What's not so easy is to try to see things as they must have looked to people at the time.

"By experiencing how the implacable resolve of these men to succeed in their mission slowly gave way to troubling doubts about what they were doing, I think we can learn something important about the tragic standoff we find ourselves in today," the statement read.

Spielberg is a two-time Oscar-winner. His latest film, The War of the Worlds, has made more than $110 million less than a week after being released in the US.