8.0/10
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472 user 126 critic
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New Orleans District Attorney Jim Garrison discovers there's more to the Kennedy assassination than the official story.

Director:

Oliver Stone

Writers:

Oliver Stone (screenplay), Zachary Sklar (screenplay) | 2 more credits »
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Popularity
2,883 ( 58)
Won 2 Oscars. Another 17 wins & 41 nominations. See more awards »

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Cast

Cast overview, first billed only:
Sally Kirkland ... Rose Cheramie
Anthony Ramirez Anthony Ramirez ... Epileptic
Ray LePere Ray LePere ... Zapruder
Steve Reed Steve Reed ... John F. Kennedy - Double
Jodie Farber ... Jackie Kennedy - Double (as Jodi Farber)
Columbia Dubose Columbia Dubose ... Nellie Connally - Double
Randy Means Randy Means ... Gov. Connally - Double
Kevin Costner ... Jim Garrison
Jay O. Sanders ... Lou Ivon
E.J. Morris E.J. Morris ... Plaza Witness #1
Cheryl Penland Cheryl Penland ... Plaza Witness #2
Jim Gough Jim Gough ... Plaza Witness #3
Perry R. Russo Perry R. Russo ... Angry Bar Patron
Mike Longman Mike Longman ... TV Newsman #1
Edward Asner ... Guy Bannister
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Storyline

On November 22, 1963, president John F. Kennedy is assassinated in Dallas. Lee Harvey Oswald is arrested for the crime and subsequently shot by Jack Ruby, supposedly avenging the president's death. An investigation concludes that Lee Harvey Oswald and Jack Ruby acted alone in their respective crimes, but Louisiana district attorney Jim Garrison is skeptical. Assembling a trusted group of people, Garrison conducts his own investigation, bringing about backlash from powerful government and political figures. Written by Cole Matthews

Plot Summary | Plot Synopsis

Taglines:

He's a District Attorney. He will risk his life, the lives of his family, everything he holds dear for the one thing he holds sacred... the truth. See more »


Motion Picture Rating (MPAA)

Rated R for language | See all certifications »

Parents Guide:

View content advisory »
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Details

Official Sites:

Official Oliver Stone Site

Country:

France | USA

Language:

English | Spanish

Release Date:

20 December 1991 (USA) See more »

Also Known As:

Project X See more »

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Box Office

Budget:

$40,000,000 (estimated)

Opening Weekend USA:

$5,223,658, 22 December 1991

Gross USA:

$70,405,498

Cumulative Worldwide Gross:

$205,405,498
See more on IMDbPro »

Company Credits

Show more on IMDbPro »

Technical Specs

Runtime:

| (director's cut)

Sound Mix:

Dolby SR

Aspect Ratio:

2.39 : 1
See full technical specs »
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Did You Know?

Trivia

The film alludes to the so-called "umbrella man" as being part of the conspiracy, possibly as some type of signal for the shooters since he is standing very near to the limousine as Kennedy is shot. The implication is he and/or his motives were never identified. However, in the late 1970s, around ten years after Clay Shaw's trial, he was identified as Louie Steven Witt, and testified before the House Select Committee on Assassinations. According to filmmaker Errol Morris, and published with the New York Times, this mystery man opened his umbrella as Kennedy drove by, not for any sinister reasons, but to protest against Kennedy's father, Joseph P. Kennedy, who was an ambassador to Britain, and is a reference to former British Prime Mister Neville Chamberlain's umbrella. Morris' short film describing this is titled "The Umbrella Man". See more »

Goofs

When the Assstant DA says "looks like someone saved a pile of work to the DA" when they witness the shooting of Oswald live on TV, Oswald is still alive and being taken in an ambulance to the hospital. Oswald will eventually die in the ambulance. See more »

Quotes

[first lines]
title card: "To sin by silence when we should protest makes cowards of men." - Ella Wheeler Wilcox
President Eisenhower: ...We have been compelled to create a permanent armaments industry of vast proportions. And to do this three and a half million men and women are directly engaged in the defense establishement. We annually spend on military security alone...
Narrator: January, 1961. President Dwight D. Eisenhowers's Farewell Address to the Nation.
President Eisenhower: ...This conjunction of an immense military establishment and arms industry ...
[...]
See more »

Crazy Credits

Closing dedication: Dedicated to the young in whose spirit the search for truth marches on See more »

Alternate Versions

New flashbacks of Oswald's life in Dallas with his wife after his return from Russia and his contacts with George De Mohrenshildt, Janet and Bill Williams (the man who gets Oswald a job at the book depository). See more »

Connections

Referenced in Gone Home (2013) See more »

Soundtracks

Drummers' Salute
Arranged by D. G. McCroskie
Performed by The Royal Scots Dragoon Guards (as The Royal Scots Dragoon Guards)
Courtesy of Fiesta Records Co. Inc.
See more »

Frequently Asked Questions

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User Reviews

 
A Stunningly Well Planned and Articulated Film
11 January 2003 | by dustbrother204See all my reviews

Oliver Stone is undoubtedly one of the most controversial directors of all time, his work has included horrifyingly real stories of Vietnam, stories of the corruption of politics and a much-despised account of Jim Morrison's life. No matter the subject matter, Stone always gives it his all and sometimes the world's response is positive and sometimes it's negative. With JFK we are faced with one of his films that was probably one of his most successful (next to Platoon of 1986). This is a rare instance in which the public loved the concept of conspiracy in their own country, and took special interest in the debates that it caused amongst the government upon release. The best thing about this film is that it is and was treated as so much more than a film. My honest opinion is that this response was created not because of a more plausible theory but because of Stone's fantastic and unique job putting the story together.

The film opens on a surprisingly suspenseful scene of the murder of John F. Kennedy. The chopped style of the scene lets you know that something is not right, dramatic black and white shots spliced with the blurry grain shots of the home video taken by a witness (it won Academy Awards for Best Film Editing and Best Cinematography). This, accompanied by John Williams' excellent original score helped do an excellent job of creating a mood, just for this very first scene. Often times a director will stop after this, give it his all for style and then stop after the first scene, but Stone doesn't do this. He makes the film so much more than a boring investigation; he takes you in to each of the puzzle pieces (indeed, it feels like you're with Kevin Costner "digging" through hundreds of events.) For 90% of these clips that lace the film's concepts together, the camera is not kept steady, it is, indeed, like you are there witnessing it. The human eye doesn't only look at what is important, and a situation of trauma can make everything seem broken, confused. Oliver Stone doesn't try to make sure you understand what's going on. Some frown upon this, but it's realistic and that's what counts.

Kevin Costner plays Jim Garrison, the district attorney of New Orleans who investigates the murder of John Kennedy. Sometimes you are expected to disagree (at first) with some of Garrison's presumptuous statements, and when you do there is always at least one character around who will agree with you. Stone realizes most viewers aren't devoted enough to believe everything Garrison says no matter what it is throughout the film. Stone has said that he wants people to "rethink history" and that this film is not guaranteed fact, but an "alternate myth" to the myth that has been presented before. The story is not solid because very few ideas or people or events in life are. What I mean to say is that Garrison's comments are not necessarily ridiculous, it's just a matter of how hard he tries to support them. The focus constantly changes -- yes, Costner will smile a bit when he makes a ridiculous remark that everyone rolls their eyes at, yes, even at the end of the film some clips will be left unchecked, and yes, you will see that there is no way that the question "who killed JFK" is answered as simply, solidly, and, dare I say it, Hollywood-esquely as a one man killing. If you watch this movie looking for real life, without dramatization and without guaranteed entertainment and fun, you will be impressed. This is not a popcorn movie.

And finally a word should be said about the actors' enhancement of the realism of the film. Most notable are Joe Pesci as the frantic David Ferrie who pretends to be a victim but truly (we see) had much more to do with it than he pretends (although convincingly was not an assassin -- he blows the whole thing out of proportion "this is too f*cking big for you, you know that?") and Tommy Lee Jones as the wry ring leader Claw Shaw, who seems to be a pompous upscale member of society that has been doing the dark business of conspiracy behind closed doors. The fact that these characters can appear real to us and not just appear as familiar actors taking on a role (as you might feel in Ocean's Eleven) truly does the film justice in driving it forward.

This is in fact one of my top three favorite movies, but I tend to refrain from mentioning it as just this to my friends-- I'm sooner to mention Memento or Fight Club. The reason for this is that the movie is almost an acquired taste, and certainly not normal entertainment for a teenager. It's honestly written for a generation above me, but everything that makes it (up to and including the "kings are killed" and other political themes) are intriguing to me, and for me anything intriguing grows to be a favorite. Even if the subject is not something that ever really impacted me, I take themes to heart, and I always love a good "enigma wrapped in a riddle."

NOTES: -Maybe a point off for being inconsistent in goal. Though as admirable in a movie as any other characteristic, I found this to be the most restricting on ability to follow along. -Also notable is the fact that it's very release sparked opening of sealed governmental records on the subject.

OVERALL: A+


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