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Executive Action (1973)

Rogue intelligence agents, right-wing politicians, greedy capitalists, and free-lance assassins plot and carry out the JFK assassination in this speculative agitprop.



(screenplay), (story) | 1 more credit »

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Cast overview, first billed only:
James Farrington
Robert Foster
Harold Ferguson
Gilbert Green ...
Gunman (Chris) - Team A
Operations Chief - Team A
John Brascia ...
Rifleman - Team B
Gunman - Team A
Depository Clerk
Deanna Darrin ...
Gunman - Team A
Lloyd Gough ...
Charlie McCadden


A dramatization about how the high level covert conspirators in the JFK assassination might have planned and plotted the assassination based on the data and facts of the case. It posits that a covert group of rogue intelligence agents, ultra-conservative politicians, unscrupulously greedy business interests, and free-lance assassins become increasingly alarmed at President Kennedy's policies, including his views on race relations, winding down the Vietnam War, and ending the oil depletion allowance. They decide to terminate him through an "executive action" utilizing three teams of well-trained snipers during JFK's visit to Dallas and place the blame on supposed CIA operative Lee Harvey Oswald as the lone assassin. Written by duke1029

Plot Summary | Plot Synopsis


Assassination conspiracy? The possibility is frightening. See more »


PG | See all certifications »




Release Date:

7 November 1973 (USA)  »

Also Known As:

Unternehmen Staatsgewalt  »

Box Office


$1,000,000 (estimated)

Company Credits

Production Co:

Show detailed on  »

Technical Specs


Sound Mix:


Aspect Ratio:

1.66 : 1
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Did You Know?


Critics were given an eight page newspaper when leaving their first screenings that expounded all the conspiracy theories aired in the film. See more »


In the Dealy Plaza scene dated November 12, 1963, cars are heading south on Houston St. At that time (and in Kennedy's motorcade) Houston St. was one way northbound. See more »


[last lines]
TV Commentator: In the three years after the murders of John F. Kennedy and Lee Harvey Oswald eighteen material witnesses died, 6 by gunfire, 3 by motor accidents, 2 by suicide, 1 by a cut throat, 1 by a karate chop to the neck, 3 by heart attacks, 2 from natural causes. An actuary engaged by the London Sunday Times concluded: On November 22, 1963, the odds of these witnesses being dead by Feb. 1967 are one hundered thousand trillion to one.
See more »


Features Nix Film of Kennedy Assassination (1963) See more »

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User Reviews

Cold, emotionless, and gripping
13 October 2011 | by (United Kingdom) – See all my reviews

David Miller's conspiracy-theory 're-enactment' shows the plotting by several oil-barons and intelligence officers to murder the then- President of the United States John F. Kennedy. Kennedy's pushing of the Civil Rights movement and plans to withdraw U.S. forces from Vietnam proves a threat to these emotionless rich folk, and the removal of Kennedy will benefit their business and, to them, their country. Farrington (Burt Lancaster), a black ops specialist, plans out the assassination in minute detail, with the backing of Foster (Robert Ryan), an oil baron. The action cuts between meetings between these men, the preparations of the gunmen and their target practice, and the recruitment and actions of a Lee Harvey Oswald lookalike.

While not being a fact-based and detailed account like the portrayal of Jim Garrison's investigation in Oliver Stone's excellent JFK (1991), Executive Action makes no claims to be historical fact, but instead a theory of how Kennedy's assassination could have been planned. How much is based on fact I don't know, as I had trouble finding much information about it. While it is certainly very interesting from a conspiracy- theorists point-of-view, the film works far better as a straightforward thriller, and certainly manages to build up plenty of tension regardless of the fact that we know what is going to happen, and that what is being played out in front of us is unlikely to be true.

It's a cold and emotionless film, which made me like it more. Lancaster's Farrington prepares the assassination as if he is preparing a holiday - matter-of-factly, routinely. The terrifying thing is that these men believe that what they are doing is patriotic and for the good of the country. Because of this, the film can be seen as a damning commentary of American values - the pursuit of money and desire for security is held in higher regard than doing the right thing, or equality. The film's low budget is certainly noticeable, and some of the supporting acting is often questionable, but this is a riveting thriller that contains many qualities that made the 70's the greatest era for American cinema.


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