Recounting the chaotic events that occurred in Dallas, Texas on November 22, 1963, Parkland weaves together the perspectives of a handful of ordinary individuals suddenly thrust into extraordinary circumstances: the young doctors and nurses at Parkland Hospital; Dallas' chief of the Secret Service; an unwitting cameraman who captured what became the most watched and examined film in history; the FBI agents who nearly had the gunman within their grasp; the brother of Lee Harvey Oswald, left to deal with his shattered family; and JFK's security team, witnesses to both the president's death and Vice President Lyndon Johnson's rise to power over a nation whose innocence was forever altered.Written by
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As Forrest Sorrels, head of the Secret Service in Dallas, actor Billy Bob Thornton provided an anchor for the multiple stories threaded through the film. Producer Steve Shareshian, head of production for Playtone, said: "Billy Bob is someone we were dying to work with. His character is one of the few that spans the various strands of the film. Sorrels takes on the responsibility for the loss and Billy brings so much depth and wisdom to him." Writer-director Peter Landesman said "Billy's level-headed, smart and erudite. He is a brilliant film-maker and writer, as well as an actor, which made him an enormous asset to the production. He was a champion of the script from the very beginning. And because he's from Texas, it's a particularly important story for him. The part could have been written for him. He brings dignity and grace to that character that nobody else could. He can do so much with just with a look and you don't even notice until you're watching dailies." Thornton believed that, in Sorrel's mind, it was entirely his fault. "It was his detail and his guy died," the actor said. "But he didn't have time to be a broken man. The real Sorrel was a very mysterious character. Not many people know much about him. I think he felt so devastated by what happened that he kind of dropped out. He kept to himself and never really resurfaced." The frenetic pace of filming for the film was exhilarating for the actor. "It was a little bit like guerrilla warfare," Thornton said. "This was a short schedule for such a big movie. I admire Peter for tackling something this daunting. It's a huge undertaking and I wanted to be part of it because I think it will be a movie that will live on in history. It portrays one of the most iconic American tragedies in an entirely new way." See more »
The 1964 Cadillac hearse used in the movie does not have chrome crosses on both sides of the back, like the real-life hearse. See more »
On November 22, 1963, John Fitzgerald Kennedy, the 35th President of the United States, made a political trip to Dallas, Texas with his wife, Jacqueline, and Vice President Lyndon B. Johnson.
Less than an hour after landing in Dallas, Kennedy was assassinated.
This story is based on the true events that took place on that day, and the three that followed.
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Although based on a true story and depicting real-life people the end credits state: "All characters in this film are fictional and any resemblance to persons living or dead is purely coincidental." See more »
A subtle yet powerful film about one of the most infamous days in American history
The assassination of John F. Kennedy has been recanted in countless movies and television shows for the past 20 years. So what makes Parkland any different from Oliver Stone's JFK or the miniseries The Kennedys? The difference is that this film is in no way, shape or form a political film. This is NOT a conspiracy film, this is not a political family saga, this is a story that we have never been shown. The people who surrounded JFK on his final hours are the people that saw the true horrors of November 22 and Parkland puts us right there with them. The cast is masterful, Billy Bob Thorton, Zac Effron, and Paul Giamatti being the stand outs of the impressive list. The story is impactful, showing the audience what Parkland hospital was really like that fateful day when President Kennedy was brutally murdered. The hysteria, the sweat, the tears and the blood fill the emergency room as a determined Zac Effron pounds on the chest of Kennedy's body. It is moments like these that save Parkland from the cheesier scenes, notably any with Ron Livingston. The film succeeds partially to Effron's small but commanding performance and a latter half of the film focused on a brooding Robert Oswald, who is played pitch perfectly by James Badge Dale. The film doesn't break any new ground in the dramatic factor but instead reminds us of how good these actors can be in the right setting. The story is split between the actual events of the assassination, the search and capture of Oswald, and the colossal screw up at the FBI that may or may not have prevented Kennedy's assassination. In any sense, Parkland works with the 90 minute running time despite so much information coming at you at once, which sometimes works against its advantages, making for a confusing watch for a couple minutes before you can have time to process what is going on. Despite a jarring narrative at times, Parkland succeeds in performances alone and is worth it for that alone.
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