Nov. 22 is a national commemoration of President John F. Kennedy’s assassination, which occurs every year. In the last 50 years, many films have been made on his life, legacy, and death.
Here are ten films that chronicle the tale of the brief life of this iconic president, listed in no particular order.
1. Thirteen Days (2000)
One of JFK’s defining events as president was the Cuban Missile Crisis of 1962. 13 Days is a film that follows President John F. Kennedy and his brother Robert as they debate whether to go to war with Cuba following the downing of an American plane in Cuban airspace.
Director Roger Donaldson is able to keep the audience on their toes even if the film’s outcome is predictable. It’s more than that: He provides us with an unprecedented view of how Kennedy and his closest confidants shaped American history.
2. Kennedy (1983)
NBC’s The West Wing cast Martin Sheen in the role of fictional President Josiah “Jed” Bartlet, but he also appeared in the 1983 Kennedy miniseries as another president. From his boyhood to his political career, the five-hour film chronicled the life of John F. Kennedy.
Even though Kennedy premiered 30 years ago, it continues to be a fascinating look at one of America’s most fascinating public people. Kennedy Even now, Sheen’s performance as JFK remains one of the most lauded depictions of the former president.
3. JFK (1991)
Kennedy’s legacy is marred by the way he lived and died. Confusion theorists and historians have questioned the Warren Commission’s findings on the assassination for decades. New Orleans District Attorney Jim Garrison is the subject of Oliver Stone’s controversial JFK, a true story about his investigation into the assassination of President John F. Kennedy.
With or without Lee Harvey Oswald, the assassination of JFK is a riveting film about the way the assassination of JFK transformed America.
4. PT 109 (1963)
As the 35thPresident of the United States, John F. Kennedy is well-known, but he also served in the Navy during World War II. PT 109 is one of the few films on the former president that focuses on his military service. One of his torpedo boats was sunk, and the heroic steps taken by Kennedy to save his men are detailed in this book.
Before Kennedy’s death, the first film on him had been released in the movie theaters.
5. The Kennedys (2011)
The “Kennedy curse” is one of the most enduring legends surrounding Kennedy and his family. It’s impossible to deny that this well-known family has been through a lot. Critics were outraged when The Kennedys premiered in 2011 because of its depiction of President Kennedy and how accurate it was to the historical record.
If you can get past the flaws of the miniseries, you get a glimpse into the life of JFK and his family as they rise through politics in a rapidly changing America and see the demise of their ‘Camelot’. That said, even if this isn’t a film in the strictest sense, it deserves a slot on this list.
6. Executive Action (1973)
Executioner Action is a dramatization of how several government and business factions may have worked together to kill President Kennedy. Dalton Trumbo’s picture, starring Burt Lancaster and Robert Ryan and released just 10 years after the killing, was highly controversial at the time of its release.
Critics didn’t seem to like Executive Action, but it bears many similarities with Stone’s JFK, including his theory that Lee Harvey Oswald was a “patsy.”
7. Parkland (2013)
Assassination of JFK in Parkland Hospital was written and directed by Peter Landesman and examines the assassination from the perspective of the Parkland Hospital employees who witnessed the assassination and declared the president dead.
Although Parkland’s decision to look at John F. Kennedy’s killing via atypical angles is refreshing,Parkland never achieves the narrative cohesion its topic demands.” The film now has a 50 percent approval rating on Rotten Tomatoes.
8. Rush to Judgment (1967)
“Rush to Judgment,” based on a book by author Mark Lane, was one of the first films to doubt the findings of the Warren Commission. An interview with Abraham Zapruder, the guy who famously recorded the Kennedy assassination in a videotape is featured in this documentary film directed byEmile de Antonio.
Perhaps the most remarkable aspect of this film is that it helped to re-ignite a debate over the Kennedy assassination conspiracy theories.
9. Killing Kennedy (2013)
It premiered on the National Geographic Channel in November 2013, based on the book by Bill O’Reilly and Martin Dugard. This film, which stars Rob Lowe as John F. Kennedy and Will Rothhaar as Lee Harvey Oswald, traces the events leading up to the tragic day in Dallas.
KILLING KENNEDY also touches on the death of Lee Harvey Oswald, who was the major suspect in the JFK assassination, and who was shot to death by Jack Ruby two days after Kennedy was killed.
10. Zapruder Film
John F. Kennedy’s assassination is unquestionably the most well-known film about him, unfortunately. One of the Warren Commission’s most important pieces of evidence is the film shot by Dallas businessman Abraham Zapruder. The Library of Congress has included it to the National Film Registry.
When it comes to analyzing and debating conspiracy theories, conspiracy theorists may have found the most notorious film in history in a 26-second clip: