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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.


Fred Zinnemann


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





Cast overview, first billed only:
Edward Fox ... The Jackal
Terence Alexander ... Lloyd
Michel Auclair ... Colonel Rolland
Alan Badel ... The Minister
Tony Britton Tony Britton ... Inspector Thomas
Denis Carey Denis Carey ... Casson
Adrien Cayla-Legrand Adrien Cayla-Legrand ... The President
Cyril Cusack ... The Gunsmith
Maurice Denham Maurice Denham ... General Colbert
Vernon Dobtcheff ... The Interrogator
Jacques François ... Pascal (as Jacques Francois)
Olga Georges-Picot ... Denise
Raymond Gérôme Raymond Gérôme ... Flavigny (as Raymond Gerome)
Barrie Ingham ... St. Clair
Derek Jacobi ... 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:

View content advisory »



UK | France


English | Italian | French

Release Date:

30 July 1973 (USA) See more »

Also Known As:

Chacal See more »


Box Office

Gross USA:

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Company Credits

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Technical Specs


Sound Mix:

Mono (Westrex Recording System)


Color (Technicolor)

Aspect Ratio:

1.85 : 1
See full technical specs »

Did You Know?


Although set in 1962-63, little effort was made to adapt the cars to that period. See more »


When the Jackal is in the forest testing the rifle, he fires the first shots looking through the scope with his right eye, making adjustments as needed. When he test fires with the explosive shell he is shown using his left eye.

A professional like this would know about 'eye dominance' and that switching eyes to aim can throw off the aim, substantially over a large distance. 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 Cross of Lorraine, a symbol General Charles de Gaulle used during his lifetime, appears at the beginning of the film. See more »


Referenced in The Contender: The Making of a Political Thriller (2001) See more »


Marche Lorraine
Composed by Louis Ganne
[Heard during the Liberation Day parade in Paris]
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Frequently Asked Questions

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User Reviews

Now this is what a thriller should be like
3 July 2007 | by matjusmSee all my reviews

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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