Partly Cloudy

Partly Cloudy

max temp: 6°C

min temp: 0°C

Search

JFK – A life explored on the big screen

PUBLISHED: 06:45 17 November 2018

Kevin Costner is investigator Jim Garrison in JFK uncovering the detauils of the Kennedy asassination Photo: Warner Bros

Kevin Costner is investigator Jim Garrison in JFK uncovering the detauils of the Kennedy asassination Photo: Warner Bros

Archant

John F Kennedy remains a towering figure in world history and is without doubt Hollywood’s favourite President. He had the looks, the charisma, the speeches and best of all a dramatic exit. Arts editor Andrew Clarke takes a look at his story on the big screen

Bruce Greenwood as President Kennedy in Thirteen Days - the stiory of the Cuban Missile Crisis told from tapes recorded inside The White HouseBruce Greenwood as President Kennedy in Thirteen Days - the stiory of the Cuban Missile Crisis told from tapes recorded inside The White House

The presence of John Fitzgerald Kennedy, the 35th President of the United States, continues to cast a long shadow over world history – but JFK also continues to be an important figure in modern cinema.

From dramas to documentaries, from political thrillers to space race reconstructions, from cold war intrigues to bio-pics JFK continues to be a major player in modern Hollywood.

His distinctive voice and his ability to deliver an inspiring speech puts him on a par with Winston Churchill when it comes to offering up a leader who people still revere and look up to. Not that he was a man without vices. His alleged affair with Marilyn Monroe has not only left his image untarnished but has managed to make him appear more human.

Burt Lancaster in the Kennedy conspiracy theory drama Executive Action Photo Warner BrosBurt Lancaster in the Kennedy conspiracy theory drama Executive Action Photo Warner Bros

To Americans the office of President is seen to reflect and endorse the high-minded qualities that they love about their nation and principles the nation was founded on, which is why there is such distress when someone like Richard Nixon is seen to betray those ideals.

But, JFK neatly captures the contradiction that surrounds the office and the man. The American people want someone with the judgement of Soloman and yet they also want someone who is recognizably just like them.

In JFK they got this elusive mix. He set America the challenge to go to the moon, he safely negotiated the world away from the brink of nuclear war during the Cuban Missile Crisis, his speeches inspired, and yet even his suspected infidelities leant him some extra Hollywood glamour.

Kevin Costner is investigator Jim Garrison in JFK uncovering the detauils of the Kennedy asassination Photo: Warner BrosKevin Costner is investigator Jim Garrison in JFK uncovering the detauils of the Kennedy asassination Photo: Warner Bros

His charisma and the manner of his death also leant him the sort of timeless mystique that Hollywood loves. He’s become Hollywood’s ideal President. Virtually every film set in the early 60s has echoes of him. He appears in the background on television sets, speeches are played on radios or as narration on the soundtrack.

He is a ghostly President haunting the liberal optimism of the 1960s. As we approach the 55th anniversary of his assassination on November 22 here are JFK’s best moments in cinema.

Michelle Pfeiffer who was nominated for an Oscar for her role in the film Love Field about JFK's fateful visit to Dallas. Photo OrionMichelle Pfeiffer who was nominated for an Oscar for her role in the film Love Field about JFK's fateful visit to Dallas. Photo Orion

Executive Action (1973)

Dir: David Miller; starring: Burt Lancaster, Robert Ryan, Will Geer

The ultimate conspiracy movie. A look at how the high level covert conspirators in the JFK assassination might have planned and plotted the assassination based on facts known at the time. This was the first film to openly question the veracity of the Warren Commission’s report into the death of Kennedy. It suggests that a covert group of rogue intelligence agents, ultra-conservative politicians, unscrupulously greedy business interests, and free-lance assassins become increasingly alarmed at President Kennedy’s policies, including his views on race relations, winding down the Vietnam War, and ending the oil depletion allowance. They decide to terminate him through an “executive action” utilizing three teams of well-trained snipers during JFK’s visit to Dallas and place the blame on supposed CIA operative Lee Harvey Oswald as the lone assassin.

Clint Eastwood and Rene Russo in the political thriller In The Line of Fire. Photo: Columbia PicturesClint Eastwood and Rene Russo in the political thriller In The Line of Fire. Photo: Columbia Pictures

JFK (1991)

Dir: Oliver Stone; starring: Kevin Costner, Gary Oldman, Jack Lemmon, Sissy Spacek, Walter Matthau

Stephen Culp as Bobby Kennedy, Bruce Greenwood as President Kennedy and Kevin Costner as Kenny O'Donnell in Thirteen Days - the stiory of the Cuban Missile Crisis told from tapes recorded inside The White HouseStephen Culp as Bobby Kennedy, Bruce Greenwood as President Kennedy and Kevin Costner as Kenny O'Donnell in Thirteen Days - the stiory of the Cuban Missile Crisis told from tapes recorded inside The White House

President John F. Kennedy has been 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. Oliver Stone’s compelling conspiracy theory movie.

Love Field (1992)

Natalie Portman as The First Lady Jackie Kennedy in Jackie which examines the immediate aftermath of Kennedy's assasination. Photo Entertainment OneNatalie Portman as The First Lady Jackie Kennedy in Jackie which examines the immediate aftermath of Kennedy's assasination. Photo Entertainment One

Dir: Jonathan Kaplan; starring: Michelle Pfeiffer, Dennis Haysbert, Stephanie McFadden

Dallas housewife (Pfeiffer) Lurene Hallett’s life revolves around the doings of Jacqueline Kennedy. She is devastated when President Kennedy is shot a few hours after she sees him arrive at Love Field. Despite her husband Ray’s prohibition, she decides to attend the funeral in Washington D.C. Forced to travel by bus, she befriends Jonell, the young black daughter of Paul Couter. Sensing something wrong, her good intentioned interference leads the mixed race threesome on an increasingly difficult journey to Washington with both the police and Ray looking for them.

In the Line of Fire (1992)

Dir: Wolfgang Petersen; starring: Clint Eastwood, John Malkovich, Rene Russo

A film which, at first glance, doesn’t appear to be about JFK at all, until you realise that it’s all about the effects of the assassination on the minds of his security detail at Dallas and how it affected them afterwards. Then Kennedy’s ghost looms large across the film. Frank Horrigan (Eastwood) is a secret service agent nearing the end of his career and he still haunted by the events in Dallas. Now, former CIA assassin Mitch Leary is stalking the current President, who is running for re-election. Mitch has spent long hours studying Horrigan, and he taunts Horrigan, telling him of his plans to kill the President. Horrigan has no intention of failing his President this time around, and he’s more than willing to take a bullet if that is what it takes to balance the books.

Thirteen Days (2000)

Dir: Roger Donaldson; Starring: Kevin Costner, Bruce Greenwood, Steven Culp

In October, 1962, U-2 surveillance photos reveal that the Soviet Union is in the process of placing nuclear weapons in Cuba. These weapons have the capability of wiping out most of the Eastern and Southern United States in minutes if they become operational. President John F. Kennedy and his advisors must come up with a plan of action against the Soviets. Kennedy is determined to show that he is strong enough to stand up to the threat, and the Pentagon advises U.S. military strikes against Cuba--which could lead the way to another U.S. invasion of the island. However, Kennedy is reluctant to follow through, because a U.S. invasion could cause the Soviets to retaliate in Europe. A nuclear showdown appears to be almost inevitable but behind the scenes people are starting to communicate.

Parkland (2013)

Dir: Peter Landesman; Starring: Zac Efron, Tom Welling, Billy Bob Thornton

Like many films about JFK, this movie recounts 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 and changing the outlook and naive innocence of a generation..

Jackie (2016)

Dir: Pablo Larraín; starring: Natalie Portman, Peter Sarsgaard, Greta Gerwig, Billy Crudup, Richard E Grant

Although, not mentioned in the title, JFK’s presence looms over every frame of this film. Jackie is a portrait of one of the most important and tragic moments in American history, seen through the eyes of the iconic First Lady, then Jacqueline Kennedy. Jackie places us in her world during the days immediately following her husband’s assassination. Known for her extraordinary dignity and poise, here we see a portrait of the First Lady as she fights to establish her husband’s legacy and the world of “Camelot” that she created and loved so well.

A lorry crashed into another HGV after a tyre blow out on the A14 this morning, causing tailbacks towards the Orwell Bridge.

A car lost its front bumper aftera crash in Ipswich town centre during today’s rush hour.

Mental health campaigners will head to London to demand better mental health care in the region.

Motorists are being advised by Suffolk police to expect delays across the county’s roads on two separate occasions during the festive period.

Ipswich MP Sandy Martin has joined councillors and schoolchildren from Rushmere Hall to plant trees as part of an scheme to mark The Queen’s work for the Commonwealth.

A man who was last seen at work two days ago is still missing, causing concern for his whereabouts.

A school is set to create a new teaching block to help it meet a growing demand for pupil places.

Detectives investigating reports of an attack outside an Ipswich restaurant have arrested two people.

The prime minister might have won a confidence vote but, asks political editor RICHARD PORRITT, what now for her leadership, Brexit and the country?

Theresa May has won the confidence vote on her leadership of the Conservatives – but has promised MPs she will not lead the party into the next General Election.

Most read

Hot Jobs

Show Job Lists

Topic pages

Newsletter Sign Up

Ipswich Star daily newsletter
Sign up to receive our regular email newsletter

Our Privacy Policy

MyDate24 MyPhotos24