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The Day of the Jackal (1973)

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A professional assassin codenamed "Jackal" plots to kill Charles de Gaulle, the President of France.



(book), (screenplay)
Nominated for 1 Oscar. Another 1 win & 10 nominations. See more awards »





Cast overview, first billed only:
... The Jackal
Terence Alexander ... Lloyd
... Colonel Rolland
... The Minister
Tony Britton ... Inspector Thomas
Denis Carey ... Casson
Adrien Cayla-Legrand ... The President
... The Gunsmith
Maurice Denham ... General Colbert
... The Interrogator
... Pascal (as Jacques Francois)
... Denise
Raymond Gérôme ... Flavigny (as Raymond Gerome)
... St. Clair
... Caron


It is the early 60s in France. The remaining survivors of the aborted French Foreign Legion have made repeated attempts to kill DeGaulle. The result is that he is the most closely guarded man in the world. As a desperate act, they hire The Jackal, the code name for a hired killer who agrees to kill French President De Gaulle for half a million dollars. We watch his preparations which are so thorough we wonder how he could possibly fail even as we watch the French police attempt to pick up his trail. The situation is historically accurate. There were many such attempts and the film closely follows the plot of the book. Written by John Vogel <jlvogel@comcast.net>

Plot Summary | Plot Synopsis


The Jackal spent 71 days, 56 minutes thinking a bullet into the brain of de Gaulle. See more »


Crime | Drama | Thriller


PG | See all certifications »

Parents Guide:






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Release Date:

30 July 1973 (USA)  »

Also Known As:

Chacal  »


Box Office

Gross USA:

See more on IMDbPro »

Company Credits

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Technical Specs


Sound Mix:

(Westrex Recording System)



Aspect Ratio:

1.85 : 1
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Did You Know?


The remake with Richard Gere and Bruce Willis did not meet with the approval of Frederick Forsyth and Fred Zinnemann who fought to make sure that the newer film did not bear the same title. See more »


In the first minutes of the movie the man on the scooter turns right and passes a Peugeot 504 parked on the corner, this car came on the market only in 1969. The Renault 16, available from 1965, can be seen in different scenes of the movie. In the section of the movie where the Jackal makes his preparations for the assassination in Paris you can clearly see one passing the café on the Place de Rennes from where he observes the concierge. See more »


[first lines]
Commentator: August 1962 was a stormy time for France. Many people felt that President Charles de Gaulle had betrayed the country by giving independence to Algeria. Extremists, mostly from the Army, swore to kill him in revenge. They banded together in an underground movement, and called themselves the OAS.
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Crazy Credits

The closing credits roll over a lion statue at the Élysée Palace, the residence of the President of France. See more »


Referenced in Metal Gear Solid: Peace Walker (2010) See more »


Colonel Bogey March
(1914) (uncredited)
Music by Kenneth Alford
Played by an accordionist
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Frequently Asked Questions

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User Reviews

" Except for the President, we are now the most powerful men in France "
17 July 2009 | by See all my reviews

Frederick Forsyth is the imaginative author behind this suspenseful and riveting tale concerning the attempt on the life of the Former President of France, Charles de Gaulle. From first to last, the director has embed this dramatic film with the believability of actual fact. Years ago, during his tenure as President of the Republic of France, De Gaulle gave Algeria its Independence. French army veterans felt betrayed by him and the government decide to assassinate him. There were several attempts, all of which were either botched or failed miserably. Thus the basis for this movie. " The Day of the Jackal " is the story of a secret group of retired Agerian officers called the O.A.S. who promised to kill de Gaulle, opt to hire an expert assassin to carry out the deed. That man is an Englishman, Paul Duggan, (Edward Fox) who is given the code name 'The Jackal'. He is a professional marksman with a perfect record of assassinations around the world. Aware that OAS officers want de Gaulle dead, the French police put a 24 hour surveillance on them. They capture and torture one courier who reveals the new attempt and discover the contract killer is little more than a ghost. Nevertheless, they hire the best detective in all of France, Commissioner Claude Lebel (Michael Lonsdale) to discover the identify of the killer before he kills the president. Derek Jacobi plays Caron his assistant and both men have the impossible task of finding a nearly invisible man. While the police are informed of his task, they do not know much else and therefore allow the Jackal to find a perfect location for the deed. Once in place the assassin waits for his target, who is precisely on time and only a few seconds separates the two cops from their quarry. The entire film is well paced as is the storyline. The acting is superb and contains some well known actors like Cyril Cusack as The Gunsmith, Alan Badel, Tony Britton, Adrien Cayla-Legrand as The President and Maurice Denham as General Colbert. It is easy to recommend this film and the selection of Edward Fox was a stroke of genius. ****

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