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An imprisoned IRA fighter is freed to help stop a brutal, seemingly "faceless" assassin from completing his next job.

Writers:

(earlier screenplay Day of the Jackal), (screen story) | 1 more credit »
1 win & 4 nominations. See more awards »

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Cast

Cast overview, first billed only:
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FBI Agent McMurphy
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FBI Director Donald Brown
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The First Lady
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Woolburton
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Douglas
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Jamaican Girl
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Terek Murad
Steve Bassett ...
George Decker
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Storyline

In Moscow, the FBI and their Russian counterpart, the MVD, are working on a joint mission to apprehend Russian mobster Ghazzi Murad specifically for the murder of Mayor Nikolai Semankho. During the arrest, they are forced to kill Ghazzi. Ghazzi's brother, Terek Murad, also a mobster, begins his own form of deadly retribution against the MVD for Ghazzi's death. But the FBI and MVD also get wind that Terek has hired an assassin by the code name Jackal to carry out a hit on a high profile but unknown American target for the Americans sticking their nose in Russian affairs. Intelligence points to that target being Donald Brown, the Director of the FBI. The Jackal is known only by name and reputation but no one in authority knows who he is, what he looks like or if he even really exists. They learn of only one person alive who they know has had ties to the Jackal: former Basque separatist Isabella Zanconia, whose whereabouts are unknown. As such, the FBI and MVD decide to turn to the one ... Written by Huggo

Plot Summary | Add Synopsis

Plot Keywords:

jackal | fbi | russian | assassin | ira | See All (174) »

Taglines:

How do you stop an assassin who has no identity?


Motion Picture Rating (MPAA)

Rated R for strong violence and language | See all certifications »

Parents Guide:

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Details

Country:

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Language:

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Release Date:

14 November 1997 (USA)  »

Also Known As:

The Day of the Jackal  »

Box Office

Budget:

$60,000,000 (estimated)

Opening Weekend:

$15,164,595 (USA) (14 November 1997)

Gross:

$54,910,560 (USA) (13 February 1998)
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Company Credits

Show detailed on  »

Technical Specs

Runtime:

Sound Mix:

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Color:

Aspect Ratio:

2.35 : 1
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Did You Know?

Trivia

Frederick Forsyth, who wrote the novel "The Day of the Jackal", insisted his name be taken off the credits of this film, which is why it is billed as "based on the screenplay". See more »

Goofs

(at around 12 mins) When discussing the bounties over the Russian and FBI officers, Koslova says that the city of Porvoo is 60 kilometers west from Helsinki. In reality, Porvoo is about 50 kilometers northeast of Helsinki. See more »

Quotes

FBI Agent T. I. Witherspoon: Look, we know that certain gang elements in this prison want you dead.
Declan Mulqueen: An entire government wants me dead, mister, yet here I am.
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Connections

Referenced in The Nostalgia Chick: You've Got Mail (2011) See more »

Soundtracks

Red Tape
Written by John Gosling, Cleo Matthews, Matthew Ashman
Performed by Agent Provocateur
Courtesy of Epic Records/Sony Music Entertainment (UK) Ltd.
By Arrangement with Sony Music Licensing
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Frequently Asked Questions

See more (Spoiler Alert!) »

User Reviews

Daft, noisy and senseless - but it's still quite fun
17 December 2001 | by (United Kingdom) – See all my reviews

In retaliation for the FBI war against the mob in Russian, the mob pay famous assassin Carlos the Jackal to kill a senior figure in the US government. FBI deputy director Preston discovers that the Jackal has been contracted out he contacts one of the few men who can identify him - IRA gunman Declan Mulqueen. With the Jackal moving freely within the US it is a race against time to find and stop him before he reaches his target.

Before he died, the director of "The Day of the Jackal", Zinnermann approached Universal to have the name changed so that it wouldn't be so closely associated with his own film. They didn't change it and it's easy to see what his point was. The plot of this is a bit silly and doesn't have any intelligence or subtlety. The Jackal is careful is some scenes but takes on FBI agents in others, he covers all his tracks in designing his gun, but he kills the builder and leaves the plans for the FBI to find! It doesn't totally make sense - things are tidied up too easily - Mulqueen finds the Jackal too easily when the film needs a boost of action.

Willis is OK as the Jackal but he's not totally convincing because he usually plays roles where he runs round shooting, rather than being a very clinical hitman who only fires one shot then leaves undetected. Even here he does some planning but he only looks comfortable when in running gun battles. Gere is good in an action man role (I'm not a big fan), but he has one of the worst Northern Irish accents even put on the big screen - it goes from N.Ireland to Southern Ireland and back again from one scene to the next. Poitier is a classy inclusion in the pack but doesn't have much to do but act tough beside Gere. Support is interesting, but they don't have much to do - Jack Black was great in High Fidelity, but is cannon fodder here. J.K. Simmons is amazing in Oz but is just an agent here. Venora is good despite a very heavy accent. Sophie Okonedo is beautiful as she was in various British TV series but only has a few fleeting lines of dialogue. And Leslie Phillips is wasted in such a small cameo of little significance that you wonder why he bothered.

The whole plot sits funny with me - I really don't understand why Gere's character had to be an IRA murderer. There's an early scene where he's verbally attacked by one of the FBI for killing women and children, but he's given time to defend himself. After that we all forget who he is and everyone loves him. The final act of the film left a bitter taste in my mouth (I grew up in NI), and you can't help but wonder who in America wants to promote the IRA as somehow honourable or sympathetic (also see "The Devil's Own") - I wonder if Hollywood understands now how offending it is to see terrorists displayed in this way?

Overall, it's quite fun in a brash, loud sort of way - but ultimately it'll leave you wondering what you just watched and "how did that happen" and "hang on that bit doesn't work". As a distracting blockbuster it's quite good but as a relative of 1973's "Day of the Jackal" it's an illegitimate third cousin.


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