JFK (1991) Poster



Revealing mistakes 

(at around 50 mins) A long shot of Dealey Plaza shows only a small number of people waiting for the motorcade. The actual crowd was much larger.


A banner that says "Louisiana: Tax-Free" is part of a late-1980's tourism campaign in Louisiana.
After hearing of Kennedy's death, Guy Bannister proclaims, "Camelot in smithereens!" No one referred to Kennedy's presidency as Camelot until a week after the assassination, when Life magazine published Theodore H. White's interview with Jacqueline Kennedy, which made the link.
In Garrison's closing speech to the court in Clay Shaw's trial, he refers to the government proving the Magic Bullet theory with "some fancy physics and a nuclear laboratory" This neutron activation analysis of the bullet fragments was carried out by the House Special Committee on Assassinations in 1977 (some 8 years later)
The advertising sign on top of the School Book Depository was not removed until 1979.
During a flashback to the scene at Dealey Plaza, just before the assassination, a 1964 Ford Mustang can be seen clearly in the background. That car did not come out until half way through the following year.
1980s clothes at the Mardi Gras parade.
During the RFK shooting broadcast, Garrison is in the kitchen making a sandwich. On the counter is a jar of Hellmann's mayonnaise with a blue plastic lid. Hellmann's mayo had a metal "twist-off" lid in the '60s, not a plastic "screw-off" one.
During a flashback detailing the running of guns from Dallas to Miami via New Orleans, the Lake Pontchartrain Causeway is shown as a double span. As the time was pre-Kennedy assassination, the Causeway would have been just a single span - the second span was not open for traffic until 1969. Additionally, traffic going to Miami from New Orleans would not have traveled via the Causeway.
When Garrison is in the airplane with Senator Long we see upper hand luggage shelves already fitted with doors. At the time they were plain open.
When Lee Bowers' accident scene is shown, a train is passing in the background. Unfortunately, the type of train passing did not come into being until after 1980 - the scene took place in the mid-1960's.
When Donald Sutherland's military officer character is in the airport in New Zealand on 22 November 1963, a Boeing 737 is visible taking off in the background, an airliner that did not enter service until 1968.
A tracking shot on Camp St. In New Orleans has on the left side of the screen an image of One Shell Square in the background. This office building was not yet built during the film's time frame.
The spy camera shown, supposedly be used prior to the assassination, is a Minox C. This camera was not manufactured until 1969.
Scenes showing the railroad yard behind the wood fence show railroad cars painted and lettered for railroads that did not exist in 1963.

Audio/visual unsynchronised 

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.
When Ferrie is arguing in the hotel room with Garrison, his reflection in the nearby mirror seems to be talking when he is not.

Boom mic visible 

When Ferrie is in the hotel room speaking to Garrison a boom mic can be seen in the mirror.

Character error 

Jim Garrison tells the jury that Dr. James Humes destroyed the notes he took at the JFK autopsy. He actually burned his first draft of the autopsy report and turned the notes over to his commanding officer. They subsequently disappeared.
Garrison says "Back and to the left" repeatedly. Kennedy's head actually goes forward two inches (indicating a shot from behind) and then back and to the left (indicating a shot from the front).
During his closing argument Jim Garrison misspeaks the famous phrase, "Of the people, by the people, and for the people." He instead says, "Of the people, for the people, and by the people."
Garrison tells his staff that "nothing was done" when William Walter, an FBI security clerk, claimed that he received a Teletype from FBI headquarters, warning of a possible assassination attempt against Kennedy 5 days before he was assassinated. In reality, the FBI instituted an investigation at each of its 59 offices, which yielded no evidence indicating the existence of such a Teletype.
Mr. X tells Garrison that the entire cabinet was on a trip to the Far East at the time of the assassination. Several cabinet members, including Robert Kennedy and Robert McNamara, were in Washington at the time.
Mr. X says that "we had one-third of a combat division returning from Germany in the air above the United States at the time of the shooting." He suggests they were to be used for riot control. In October 1963, the 2nd Armored Division flew from Fort Hood to Germany, to take part in maneuvers. All but 550 of the division's personnel returned during 12-21 November. By 4 December, they all were home. Armored troops are not as well suited for riot control as infantry is.


On the DVD edition, when Jim Garrison and his assistant Lou are in the corner window of the Texas School Book Depository, there is an additional piece discussing more CIA connections. They mention "Clay Shaw" although his real name has not yet been discovered.
Gary Carter, the actor who played Bill Williams, is listed twice in the closing credits.
Clay Shaw's lawyer rises to hear the verdict twice.
When Garrison begins his discussion with Willie O'Keefe, Willie puts the cigarette in his mouth twice.
At the end of the movie when the trial is going on, Lou Ivon's suit changes from one color to another then back again.
Willie walks into Clay's house with his jacket on, but before being greeted by the butler he bumps into him with his jacket now off.
In the final courtroom scene, When Liz Garrison enters the courtroom with their son, her hair is up. But by the time Jim Garrison's speech is over, Liz is seen with her hair down.

Crew or equipment visible 

As Oswald is being taken out of the Texas Theater and into the police car, a boom operator in shorts can be seen, as well several other members of the crew in modern dress.

Factual errors 

David Ferrie's "confession" in Fountainbleu Hotel never happened. Ferrie went to his death denying any knowledge of Oswald or the plot to kill JFK.
Garrison says, "We have the epileptic seizure around 12:15 PM ... distracting the police, making it easier for the shooters to move into their places. The epileptic later vanished, never checking into the hospital. But the individual in question hardly "vanished"; his name was Jerry Belknap a man who suffered from fainting spells after being hit by a car several years earlier. He was located by the FBI on May 26, 1964, and to prove his identity, he produced his receipt for the $12.50 he paid for his ambulance ride to Parkland Hospital. He explained that he had left Parkland without registering because he felt better after being given a glass of water and an aspirin. Moments later, the President's motorcade pulled into the hospital's parking lot, and Belknap realized he was not likely to see a doctor anytime soon anyway.
Garrison talks about hobo arrests and implies that they conspired to kill Kennedy. The three tramps had no connection to the assassination. Their names were Harry Doyle, John Gedney, and Gus Abrams.
Garrison's assistant is shown asking why someone like Oswald would order a rifle through the mail. Garrison says that Oswald did not order the rifle, that the order was made by others to "frame him obviously." In real life, Oswald's Mannlicher rifle was mailed to A. Hidell. A. Hidell was Oswald's alias. Oswald was carrying an A. Hidell ID in his wallet when he was arrested by the police.
Garrison shows a sketch drawn by Robert Groden of JFK and Connally in the presidential limousine in which Connally is seen seated directly in front of Kennedy. Garrison then makes fun of the magic bullet. In reality, Connally was seated to Kennedy's left front.
On his flight with Senator Long, Garrison is reading The Washington Post that is dated, Wednesday, 7 November 1966. In 1966, 7 November falls on a Monday.
Jack Ruby did not shout "Oswald!" when he shot Lee Harvey Oswald. He didn't yell anything.
Garrison says there were three cartridges lying "neatly side by side in Sniper's Nest". The cartridges were scattered.
Just before Garrison leaves for the Easter Sunday questioning of Clay Shaw, there is a news report heard on TV saying that Vietnam troop levels have reached 500,000. Troop levels in Vietnam did not reach this level until 1968, over a year later.
When Garrison is in the airplane with Senator Long, it is implied that he looks out the window at the White House below. No civilian airplanes have been allowed to fly within three miles of the White House since World War II.
Garrison is shown taking two assistants to the corner of Camp and Lafayette streets and pointing out that the office address Oswald used on his Fair Play for Cuba leaflets was 544 Camp Street in New Orleans. Garrison then notes that 531 Lafayette Street, the address for Banister's office, is around the same corner in the same building and "both addresses go to the same place, Banister's office upstairs." This is not true. Joe Newbrough, a private detective, told Frontline in 1993 that 544 Camp Street and 531 Lafayette had totally separate entrances and were about 60 steps apart.
Opening scene supposedly takes place in 1962. Car shown is a 1965 Chevy.
Dr. James Humes is depicted as an old man at the time of the JFK autopsy. He was 39 years old at the time.

Incorrectly regarded as goofs 

Garrison claims that Oswald's statements while in custody would be inadmissible in court. Because this assertion in based on a contrary to fact condition, it can never be verified. Neither can the assertion that Oswald's statements made while in custody would be admissible. In 1964, the Supreme Court ruled Danny Escobedo's murder confession to be inadmissible, because he made it in police custody after his requests to obtain a lawyer were refused. If Oswald had been tried, if he had chosen not to testify and if the courts held that giving him only brief opportunities to find a lawyer and continuing to question him after his efforts were unsuccessful constituted a denial of his right to counsel, his statements in custody would have been inadmissible.
Garrison's assistant tells him that it "takes a minimum of 2.3 seconds to recycle this thing {the Carcano}." The HSCA concluded that it was possible to fire the rifle within 1.66 seconds using the open iron sights, but it was not formed until 1976, seven years after the Shaw trial. The Warren Report, published in 1964, five years before the Shaw trial, stated that at least 2.3 seconds were required between shots.
Jack Ruby tells Chief Justice Warren, "My life is in danger. If I am eliminated , there won't be any way of knowing any bit of the truth." In his actual testimony before the Warren Commission Ruby said, "there was no conspiracy." (In the interrogation document Ruby says: "Gentlemen, my life is in danger here. Not with my guilty plea of execution. Do I sound sober enough to you as I say this? ")
Garrison says Oswald was "interrogated for 12 hours and nobody made a record of it". The Warren Report itself states that Oswald's interrogations were not recorded by court reporter or tape recording. The report includes several reports of these interrogations, made after they were over. Most of them were made after Oswald's death.
When Garrison is speaking with David Ferrie, Ferrie's wig frequently changes position from high on his forehead to low, almost to the eyebrows. He's doing this intentionally with his hands because he is nervous.

Plot holes 

In Garrison's version of the assassination, the rifleman in the Dal-Tex Building rests his rifle on a metal frame. No one experienced with rifles would rest one on a hard object when firing it. If he did, the vibrations of the barrel would make the rifle jump up, throwing the aim point off the target.
The audience is told that JFK was killed by professional assassins. What professional assassins would draw attention to themselves by parking halfway up on a curb on a street heavy with traffic?

See also

Trivia | Crazy Credits | Quotes | Alternate Versions | Connections | Soundtracks

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