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 <firstname.lastname@example.org>
The first scene filmed was the Jackal's meeting with the OAS members. It took three days to shoot, as Edward Fox was having a hard time getting into the character. Director Fred Zinnemann eventually realized that he was concentrating too heavily on the scene. He and Fox took a long car ride, and he assured Fox that it wouldn't harm his career if he didn't get it right, since he had been Oscar-nominated. They went back to the set and filmed the scene effortlessly. See more »
(at around 5 mins) In the shooting at the Petit Clamart ambush the lower part of the rear window of the presidential limousine is shattered and falls to pieces, but when the car arrives at the airport the rear window, though badly cracked, is still largely in place. See more »
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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The closing credits roll over a lion statue at the Élysée Palace, the residence of the President of France. See more »
The Jackal (Edward Fox) is a professional hit-man who has been hired by a French terrorists/resistance (depending on your point of view) group to kill Charles De Gaulle. For a tidy sum of money The Jackal accepts the job.
This film has all the elements of what a good thriller should be like. The film is tense and the tension never goes away but that doesn't mean that things are rushed. I wouldn't call the film heart pounding but it certainly does hold your attention. The characters don't make any stupid or illogical decisions but everybody (both the Jackal and the police who are trying to get him) act professionally with every move having been calculated beforehand. We see how the killer prepares for his job, the intricate technical details of what go into such a thing. A very interesting thing to see instead of simply rushing past those things to focus mainly on action scenes.
Edward Fox makes for a great Jackal. He is a focused professional who always knows what he is doing. The French police somehow find out that an attempt will be made on De Gaulle's life so they begin a desperate search for the culprit.
Director Fred Zimmerman is the man who brings all these elements together and weaves them into a solid film that holds up to this day. This film is far superior to the 1997 remake with Bruce Willis.
Recommended if you want a good escapist thriller with which to escape from the world for a few hours.
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