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JFK (1991)

R  |   |  Drama, History, Thriller  |  20 December 1991 (USA)
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Ratings: 8.0/10 from 108,520 users   Metascore: 72/100
Reviews: 443 user | 123 critic | 29 from Metacritic.com

A New Orleans DA discovers there's more to the Kennedy assassination than the official story.



(screenplay), (screenplay), 2 more credits »
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Won 2 Oscars. Another 13 wins & 23 nominations. See more awards »



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Cast overview, first billed only:
Anthony Ramirez ...
Ray LePere ...
Steve Reed ...
Jodie Farber ...
Jackie Kennedy - Double (as Jodi Farber)
Columbia Dubose ...
Randy Means ...
E.J. Morris ...
Plaza Witness #1
Cheryl Penland ...
Plaza Witness #2
Jim Gough ...
Plaza Witness #3
Perry R. Russo ...
Angry Bar Patron
Mike Longman ...
TV Newsman #1


On November 22, 1963, president John F. Kennedy is assassinated in Dallas. Lee Harvey Oswald is arrested for the crime and subsequently shot by Jack Ruby, supposedly avenging the president's death. An investigation concludes that Lee Harvey Oswald and Jack Ruby acted alone in their respective crimes, but Louisiana district attorney Jim Garrison is skeptical. Assembling a trusted group of people, Garrison conducts his own investigation, bringing about backlash from powerful government and political figures. Written by Cole Matthews

Plot Summary | Plot Synopsis


The Story That Won't Go Away See more »

Motion Picture Rating (MPAA)

Rated R for language | See all certifications »

Parents Guide:







Release Date:

20 December 1991 (USA)  »

Also Known As:

Project X  »

Box Office


$40,000,000 (estimated)


$70,405,498 (USA)

Company Credits

Show detailed on  »

Technical Specs


| (director's cut)

Sound Mix:

Aspect Ratio:

2.35 : 1
See  »

Did You Know?


The film alludes to the so called "umbrella man" as being part of the conspiracy, possibly as some type of signal for the shooters since he is standing very near to the limousine as Kennedy is shot. The implication is he and/or his motives were never identified. However, in the late 1970's, around ten years after Clay Shaw's trial, he was identified as Louie Steven Witt, and actually testified before the House Select Committee on Assassinations. According to filmmaker Errol Morris, and published with the New York Times, this mystery man opened his umbrella as Kennedy drove by, not for any sinister reasons, but to protest against Kennedy's father, Joseph P. Kennedy, who was an ambassador to Britain, and is a reference to former British Prime Mister Neville Chamberlain's umbrella. Morris's short film describing this is entitled "The Umbrella Man." See more »


When Jim Garrison and his assistant Lou are in the corner window of the Texas School Book Depository, Lou's line "...hasn't been used for two hundred years" doesn't sync with the movement of his lips, a mishap director Oliver Stone tried to correct by manufacturing an "echo" effect to lengthen the sound of dialogue. See more »


[first lines]
title card: "To sin by silence when we should protest makes cowards of men." - Ella Wheeler Wilcox
President Eisenhower: ...We have been compelled to create a permanent armaments industry of vast proportions. And to do this three and a half million men and women are directly engaged in the defense establishement. We annually spend on military security alone...
Narrator: January, 1961. President Dwight D. Eisenhowers's Farewell Address to the Nation.
President Eisenhower: ...This conjunction of an immense military establishment and arms industry ...
See more »

Crazy Credits

Closing statement: What Is Past Is Prologue See more »


Referenced in Clueless (1995) See more »


Written by Luis Pla
Performed by Valladares y Su Conjunto
Courtesy of Kubaney Publ. Corp.
See more »

Frequently Asked Questions

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User Reviews

Past the controversy
3 July 2004 | by (St. Louis, MO) – See all my reviews

In the time since I first saw the film "JFK", I have found myself inexplicably drawn to the events in Dallas, TX on November 22, 1963. I have researched online and in libraries to learn the truth of these events, and I would say that my outlook on those matters has changed substantially. But underneath that, and the controversy that developed from it, there is one universal and almost indisputable truth regarding the film: JFK is simply an excellent movie. And no difference of opinion can refute this.

I have seen my fair share of films over the years, I'm not a cinema maniac by any means. But I think I can judge a quality product when I see one and that's simply what this picture presents. It is, as Tom Wicker of the New York Times said at it's release, propaganda; but the same can be said for every film by Michael Moore... of whom I'm NOT a fan... but they are still strong pictures.

JFK runs the difficult task of presenting fact, fiction, conjecture and opinion, twisting them all to present the increasingly difficult to dispute conclusion that Lee Harvey Oswald did not act alone (and according to director Oliver Stone, did not act) in the assassination of President Kennedy.

The films accomplishments though, past this controversial thesis, are many: 1.) Kevin Costner turns in one of the greatest performances of his career. While his accent is stronger than Garrison and the physical resemblance not astonishing, Costner three dimensionalizes a character and lives in it throughout the film.

2.) An impressive and versatile cast is used superbly. The film is loaded with quality stars such as Kevin Bacon, Tommy Lee Jones (in an Oscar nominated role), Gary Oldman, and Joe Pesci (who share an intense and crucial scene); as well as character actors and actresses such as Michael Rooker, Sissy Spacek, and Jay Saunders. Stone even navigates a dramatic turn from the late comedy great John Candy and utilizes Hollywood legends Ed Asner, Jack Lemmon, Walter Matthau and Donald Sutherland superbly.

3.) With the possible exception of the lone gunman theory, every possibility of truth is explored, at least in dialogue. Because the case has never been fully elaborated on no one can say for certain what the truth is; Stone presents all views while advancing his theory.

4.) The film is a masterwork of editing. It won the Oscar for film editing in 1991, and deserved it. I once read in Entertainment Weekly that a normal film has roughly 200 cuts in it; there are more than sixty in the opening minutes alone here. Even more impressive when you consider the variety of film used.

JFK is not absolute fact, it does not truly pretend to be. By Stone's own admission, Laurie Metcalf, Michael Rooker, and Kevin Bacon play composites or dramatized characters, not the real thing. But standing alone as a movie, JFK is untouchably excellent. And if it does force you to question, as Costner's Garrison asks in the closing moments "of what is our government made?", then it's all for the better.

153 of 215 people found this review helpful.  Was this review helpful to you?

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Think it was Oswald alone jblain-23485
David Ferrie and the Library Card magnusingi-81568
Never realized what a nut Jim Garrison was until I saw the 60's on CNN vpking77-276-694061
What a boring movie! Lisa_Kay
This film is dishonest dazfiddy
John McCone MatthewKeen
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