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

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Cast

Cast overview, first billed only:
...
James Farrington
...
Robert Foster
...
Harold Ferguson
Gilbert Green ...
Paulitz
...
Halliday
...
Gunman (Chris) - Team A
...
Tim
...
Operations Chief - Team A
Walter Brooke ...
Smythe
John Brascia ...
Rifleman - Team B
...
Gunman - Team A
Sidney Clute ...
Depository Clerk
Deanna Darrin ...
Stripper
...
Gunman - Team A
Lloyd Gough ...
Charlie McCadden
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Storyline

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

Taglines:

Their Goal...Assassination. November 22, 1963...Accomplished! See more »


Certificate:

PG | See all certifications »
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Details

Country:

Language:

Release Date:

7 November 1973 (USA)  »

Also Known As:

Unternehmen Staatsgewalt  »

Box Office

Budget:

$1,000,000 (estimated)
 »

Company Credits

Production Co:

 »
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Technical Specs

Runtime:

Sound Mix:

Color:

Aspect Ratio:

1.66 : 1
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Did You Know?

Trivia

Hugely controversial upon its release because of its depiction of the assassination of Kennedy, the film was unceremoniously yanked from many theaters in its first and second weeks of showing because of the bad press. Many television stations also refused to run trailers for the film. See more »

Goofs

At 20 minutes, Burt Lancaster goes into a Mexican Restaurant and the sound of a door closing is clearly heard, but the door is still open a couple of inches. See more »

Quotes

Foster: Ah well, it's only over. And there'll be nothing can we call our own but death. That small model of the barren earth which serves as paste and cover to our bones. For God's sake, let us sit upon the ground and tell sad stories of the death of kings.
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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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