The Day of the Jackal (1973)

PG  |   |  Crime, Drama, Thriller  |  30 July 1973 (USA)
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Ratings: 7.8/10 from 27,926 users  
Reviews: 184 user | 40 critic

A professional assassin codenamed "Jackal" plots to kill Charles de Gaulle, the President of France.



(book), (screenplay)
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Nominated for 1 Oscar. Another 1 win & 10 nominations. See more awards »



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Cast overview, first billed only:
Terence Alexander ...
Michel Auclair ...
Alan Badel ...
Tony Britton ...
Denis Carey ...
Adrien Cayla-Legrand ...
Maurice Denham ...
Jacques François ...
Pascal (as Jacques Francois)
Olga Georges-Picot ...
Raymond Gérôme ...
Flavigny (as Raymond Gerome)
Barrie Ingham ...
St. Clair


It is the early 60s in France. The remaining survivors of the aborted French Foreign Legion have made repeated attempts to kill DeGaulle. The result is that he is the most closely guarded man in the world. As a desperate act, they hire The Jackal, the code name for a hired killer who agrees to kill French President De Gaulle for half a million dollars. We watch his preparations which are so thorough we wonder how he could possibly fail even as we watch the French police attempt to pick up his trail. The situation is historically accurate. There were many such attempts and the film closely follows the plot of the book. Written by John Vogel <>

Plot Summary | Plot Synopsis


The Jackal spent 71 days, 56 minutes thinking a bullet into the brain of de Gaulle. See more »


Crime | Drama | Thriller


PG | See all certifications »

Parents Guide:






| |

Release Date:

30 July 1973 (USA)  »

Also Known As:

Chacal  »

Box Office


SEK 1,959,165 (Sweden)

Company Credits

Show detailed on  »

Technical Specs


Sound Mix:

(Westrex Recording System)



Aspect Ratio:

1.37 : 1
See  »

Did You Know?


Director Fred Zinnemann wanted the Jackal to be played by someone anonymous and indistinct, so he eschewed famous names in favour of casting a then-unknown actor named Edward Fox. He later admitted this concept may have led to the film's below-expectations performance when it released in theatres. See more »


when Jackal arrives to Genoa for Rifle we see the "sopraelevata" or elevated section way built in 1964-65. See more »


[first lines]
Commentator: August 1962 was a stormy time for France. Many people felt that President Charles de Gaulle had betrayed the country by giving independence to Algeria. Extremists, mostly from the Army, swore to kill him in revenge. They banded together in an underground movement, and called themselves the OAS.
See more »

Crazy Credits

The closing credits roll over a lion statue at the Élysée Palace, the residence of the President of France. See more »


Referenced in The Man from Auntie: Episode #2.6 (1994) See more »


Colonel Bogey March
(1914) (uncredited)
Music by Kenneth Alford
Played by an accordionist
See more »

Frequently Asked Questions

See more (Spoiler Alert!) »

User Reviews

One of the finest thrillers ever made
15 May 2001 | by (Leicester, England) – See all my reviews

The opening five minutes of the film are a marvel. Almost completely devoid of dialogue the scenes portray visually more story than most modern thrillers can fit into two hours. This is about the best book-to-film conversion I've ever seen. The cuts, where they are made, are logical and some locations are combined. From Forsyth's first, and probably best book (written in less than 5 weeks) this film contains nothing that does not drive the story forward. The character of the Jackal is brilliantly finely drawn. He doesn't contain any of the cliches that you would expect to see in a film written in the last twenty years (he doesn't display mental instability, or have flashbacks to some event in his past). He never tries to justify his pernicious occupation to anyone yet, strangely, doesn't come across as an evil man. Simply as a professional doing his job. The French police inspector is wonderfully underplayed and is as far away from the he-breaks-the-rules-but-he-gets-the-job-done cliche as you can possibly imagine. He is first seen attending to his pigeons and upon being told he is being put on the case simply says "Oh God..."....

Zimmemann's direction is great and the scenes are beautifully photographed - particularly in Paris.

This is an all-time great film. Definitely in my top ten. I suppose I must put something in negative so it makes for a balanced review so errr.... I think the French minister is wearing a very bad wig. Beyond that -marvelous.

150 of 165 people found this review helpful.  Was this review helpful to you?

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How did he kill the hotel woman he slept with? scotty999
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