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JFK (1991)

tomatometer

85

Average Rating: 7.7/10
Reviews Counted: 59
Fresh: 50 | Rotten: 9

As history, Oliver Stone's JFK is dubious, but as filmmaking it's electric, cramming a ton of information and excitement into its three-hour runtime and making great use of its outstanding cast.

82

Average Rating: 7.3/10
Critic Reviews: 11
Fresh: 9 | Rotten: 2

As history, Oliver Stone's JFK is dubious, but as filmmaking it's electric, cramming a ton of information and excitement into its three-hour runtime and making great use of its outstanding cast.

audience

89

liked it
Average Rating: 3.8/5
User Ratings: 61,081

My Rating

Movie Info

The November 22, 1963, assassination of U.S. President John F. Kennedy shocked the nation and the world. The brisk investigation of that murder conducted under the guidance of Supreme Court Justice Earl Warren distressed many observers, even though subsequent careful investigations have been unable to find much fault with the conclusions his commission drew, the central one of which was that the assassin, Lee Harvey Oswald, acted alone. Instead of satisfying the public, one result of the Warren

R,

Mystery & Suspense, Drama

Oliver Stone, Zachary Sklar

Aug 27, 1997

Warner Bros.

Watch It Now

Cast

Latest News on JFK

June 2, 2014:
Oliver Stone Directing Edward Snowden Movie
Back to politics for Stone.
September 20, 2013:
Warner Bros. Re-Releasing JFK to Theaters
The return engagement, scheduled for November, comes alongside a new Blu-ray reissue.

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All Critics (60) | Top Critics (12) | Fresh (50) | Rotten (9) | DVD (30)

Sad to say, Oliver Stone's three hours of bombast did little to raise the level of discussion.

March 27, 2009 Full Review Source: Chicago Reader | Comments (2)
Chicago Reader
Top Critic IconTop Critic

Stone goes for the gut, but the complexity of theories surrounding the Kennedy assassination might have benefited from a cooler assessment.

June 24, 2006 Full Review Source: Time Out
Time Out
Top Critic IconTop Critic

The film's insurmountable problem is the vast amount of material it fails to make coherent sense of.

May 20, 2003 Full Review Source: New York Times | Comment (1)
New York Times
Top Critic IconTop Critic

As speculation, JFK is riveting. As proof, it's bunk. Stone has turned what he considers the crime of the century into a disturbing anomaly -- a dishonest search for truth.

May 12, 2001
Rolling Stone
Top Critic IconTop Critic

Costner may not resemble the real Garrison much ... but the actor, in a low-key but forceful performance, nicely conveys the requisite grit, curiosity and fearlessness.

February 13, 2001 Full Review Source: Variety
Variety
Top Critic IconTop Critic

Compelling info-ganda.

January 1, 2000 Full Review Source: Washington Post
Washington Post
Top Critic IconTop Critic

An often extraordinary movie, not only in its technical prowess but also in the way Stone is able to combine historical facts with his own flights of fancy.

April 18, 2014 Full Review Source: Creative Loafing
Creative Loafing

an imperfect masterpiece

November 22, 2013 Full Review Source: 7M Pictures
7M Pictures

Even aside from what it's saying, and even with the many, many forced moments, JFK has a mad genius about it.

November 12, 2013 Full Review Source: The Dissolve
The Dissolve

It's damn entertaining and thought-provoking.

November 12, 2013 Full Review Source: COED.com
COED.com

Despite the controversial and verbose nature of the material, not to mention lenghty running time, Oliver Stone's JFK is a riveting dramatizaition of various conspiracy theories regarding the Kennedy's assassination

March 4, 2011 Full Review Source: EmanuelLevy.Com | Comment (1)
EmanuelLevy.Com

There's something almost quaint about JFK now.

February 2, 2009 Full Review Source: Slant Magazine
Slant Magazine

...if you can forget some of the hyperbole, JFK comes off as a first-rate mystery thriller.

November 5, 2008 Full Review Source: Movie Metropolis
Movie Metropolis

Lousy history, absolutely perfect filmmaking.

October 19, 2008 Full Review Source: Antagony & Ecstasy | Comments (2)
Antagony & Ecstasy

It is the director's evident passion to expose the deepest, darkest elements at work in society that really makes JFK come alive.

July 23, 2008 Full Review Source: TV Guide's Movie Guide
TV Guide's Movie Guide

Forget about the history, just enjoy the ride.

July 23, 2008 Full Review Source: Film4
Film4

All over the place, but fun

March 16, 2007
Atlantic City Weekly

The film's true power lies in its ability to entertain, fascinate, teach and absorb all in one sitting.

May 6, 2006 Full Review Source: JoBlo's Movie Emporium | Comments (3)
JoBlo's Movie Emporium

You'll pick it apart later, but while it's going, it's one great political thriller.

October 25, 2005 | Comment (1)
Capital Times (Madison, WI)

A powerful, personal exploration of a complicated and crucial period in American history. Whether or not Stone gets all of his facts right, he raises very important questions.

January 15, 2005 | Comment (1)
Looking Closer

No melhor filme de sua carreira, Stone não apenas cria um thriller político brilhante como ainda prova, sem sombra de dúvidas, que a morte de JFK foi um golpe de Estado.

March 12, 2004
Cinema em Cena

Too fraudulent to work as fact; too melodramatic to work as fiction.

January 4, 2004 | Comment (1)
Movie Mom at Yahoo! Movies

Nothing short of a masterpiece!

September 4, 2003
Aisle Seat

Thought-provoking and riveting, as both a poltical thriller and a partial problem solver.

July 19, 2003 Full Review Source: Spirituality and Practice
Spirituality and Practice

Audience Reviews for JFK

three stars
November 24, 2013
spielberg00

Super Reviewer

Director Oliver Stone is no stranger to biopics or documentaries covering the lives of influential or powerful people. He has looked in the lives of Vietnam veteran and political activist Ron Kovic in "Born On The Fourth Of July"; Jim Morrison, the lead singer of "The Doors"; military general and conquerer "Alexander" the great; Cuban revolutionary leader Fidel Castro in "Comandante" and two films on the exploits of American presidents Richard "Nixon" and George "W." Bush. In the films mentioned, Stone explores the lives of these men but in "JFK" he does the opposite and explores the death of the man and in the process, crafts one of his most accomplished films.
In Dallas, Texas on November 22nd 1963, President John F. Kennedy is assassinated. The official explanation released by the F.B.I. doesn't make sense and is very suspicious. As a result, New Orleans District Attorney Jim Garrison (Kevin Costner) decides to investigate and uncovers a dangerous conspiracy that may involve more than he could ever have imagined.
Oliver Stone has done his homework here and bombards the audience with facts, theories and reports from the media, interviews and eyewitness testimonies. He covers the history of events right across the board from the Bay of Pigs to the Warren Report via the questionable marksmanship of "lone gunman" Lee Harvey Oswald. Whether or not you agree with Stone's theories is of little importance. What is of great importance is his ability to pose serious questions on one of the most tragic political events and biggest conspiracies in American history. It could easily come across that Stone (or Garrison) have all the answers but they don't. This is a film that endeavours to get to the root of the truth. Many questions will remain unanswered but it's also not the type of film that claims to provide them. Some information is pure speculation but the very place where Stone succeeds is his ability to instil debate. He welcomes it and the film is far more powerful because of it. It's a tangled web that has been weaved and Stone deserves the utmost respect in tackling it head on. What's most impressive though is that it's never boring. With all the details, it could be in danger of losing the audiences attention but it doesn't and this is thanks-in-large to editor's Pietro Scalia and Joe Hutshing in skilfully piecing all the fragmented narrative strands together. They won an Oscar for their work and deservingly so. Another deserving Oscar winner was cinematographer Robert Richardson for his marvellous attention to detail in capturing the look and feel of the 1960's. Amongst the the brisk pace and attention to detail is an abundant cast of quality actors and no matter how small the role, each of them get a chance to shine; Gary Oldman makes a perfect Oswald and other notable displays from Kevin Bacon, Joe Pesci, John Candy, Donald Sutherland and an Oscar nominated turn from Tommy Lee Jones as eccentric socialite, Clay Shaw. It's Costner who is the main focus here though and he delivers a solid and determined performance. More importantly, he's an appealing presence which is very much required when the film steps over the 3 hour mark. He captures the obsession of Garrison and in a lot of ways makes it our own; his dogged determination for answers reflecting ours. When all the dust has settled, the film culminates into a conventional court room drama but still remains riveting. It's during this time that despite some shocking revelations earlier in the film that Stone finishes with aplomb and takes his chance to disclose some staggering pieces of information.
A conspiracy theorists dream, that may take some criticism for being hypothetical or one-sided but there's no denying Stone's bravery or his skill in encapsulating the paranoia and unrest at this time in history.
October 2, 2012
MrMarakai

Super Reviewer

Please note that this review is over the director's cut of the film, clocking in at about 205 minutes.

Everyone knows John Fitzgerald Kennedy was assassinated, but the case was never open and shut from the beginning, and with this film, Oliver Stone hoped to show that. What we have here is a dramatized take on the efforts of New Orleans District Attorney and his team of colleagues to bring to light various conspiracies surrounding the death of JFK, including the only (to this date) public trial concerning the event.

I knew from the beginning that this film was going to be heavy on historical revision, rejection/ignorance (as in purposely ignoring) of historical fact, and tons of conjecture, a lot of times without evidence, or at least substantial and credible amounts of it. I knew there'd be more questions and answers. And I knew that in general this film was going to be pretty inaccurate and take as much dramatic license as possible in the name of telling a great, engaging, and absorbing story.

And, now that I've seen it, I can easily say that yes, this is a riveting cinematic experience. But, I do think it's overrated and not the full on masterpiece it's been touted as being. However, if you treat the film as having no relation to reality in any way whatsoever, ie as just a fictional investigation into a fictional assassination, it still holds up as a wonderful story about a guy determined to bring about truth and justice. But, it's not totally fictional. It's a look at probably the most well known assassination of all time.

I honestly don't know what to believe in watching the film, and I'm not sure if Stone really knows the truth either. I'm not sure anyone does. That's not the point. The fact that people obsess over this case is a testament to its power. The fact that this is such a talked about and controversial movie is an even further testament to the strength of things.

Despite some dodgy writing and conclusions, this film is a brilliant show of cinematography and editing, especially with the editing. The presentation, like some of Stone's other works, is a frenetic, schizophrenic explosions of various filters, lenses, formats, styles, and techniques, all in the name of artistry, symbolism, or some other sort of important reason. And...it works. It definitely makes for a unique experience, that's for sure.

Don't ask me to name the whole cast. That'd be insane. I think Stone may have out Altmaned Altman on this one. The choices are excellent though, and it's nice seeing so many notable names, especially since a lot of them are in tiny roles or cameos, and many agreed to take pay cuts to be in the film. Costner is absolutely brilliant as Garrison, and Rooker, Knight, Sanders, and Metcalf are all equally strong as his underlings. Gary Oldman knocks it out of the park as Lee Harvey Oswald, which I expected, but for me, the two best performances after Costner belong to Joe Pesci and Donald Sutherland. Pesci's breakdown and Suther;and's monologue rank as some of the best moments of their respective careers, and the final courtroom monologue given by Costner is one of the most epic things ever.

I really enjoyed this film despite its flaws. I feel it is definitely an important piece of work, because it really did open up a lot of eyes, and it did so in such a stellar cinematic way, but it didn't shake me enough to warrant the full grade that this sort of thing typcially illicits from me. Defintiely give it a watch though.
July 2, 2012
cosmo313
Chris Weber

Super Reviewer

I'm not really big into conspiracy theories and all. In fact, I mostly think that conspiracy theorists are nut cases, and quite often lunatics. In regard to Oliver Stone's JFK, the film deals with the conspiracy that there was a second gun man who assisted Lee Harvey Oswald in assassinating John F. Kennedy. JFK is a good conspiracy thriller that I didn't expect to enjoy. However I was pleasantly surprised. Oliver Stone directs an impressive and talented cast of actors here. Kevin Costner and Tommy Lee Jones really shine. I won't go into detail about the films plot as everyone pretty knows the story of this film. I thought that the plot was engaging enough to keep you interested from start to finish. Oliver Stone manages to grab your attention right from the start. The cast that star in this film make this film work well enough, and JFK is a pretty good conspiracy thriller. Though I wasn't particularly blown away by the film, I thought it was pretty good for what it was. JFK is a good film with plenty of twists to keep you guessing till the very end. Oliver Stone manages to keep you interested as the film demands the viewer to answer the questions that the film asks. Though I'm not really big into Oliver Stone films, JFK did entertain me, and if you enjoy conspiracy thrillers, you're most likely going to enjoy this one. The cast is terrific, and there are some great performances here and the film is complimented by a good story. I personally think that there wasn't a conspiracy in the JFK assassination, but to those who are interested in the topic; this film will definitely appeal to you.
November 2, 2011
TheDudeLebowski65
Jeff "The Dude" Lebowski

Super Reviewer

    1. Sen. Russell Long: One pristine bullet? That dog don't hunt.
    – Submitted by Jared B (9 months ago)
    1. Jim Garrison: I don't have much of a case.
    – Submitted by Alex K (21 months ago)
    1. Jim Garrison: Is that why?
    – Submitted by Alex K (21 months ago)
    1. Jim Garrison: Who killed the president?
    – Submitted by Alex K (21 months ago)
    1. X: He must die.
    – Submitted by Alex K (21 months ago)
    1. Jim Garrison: They might even push it back then, hell it may become a generational affair.
    – Submitted by Alex K (21 months ago)
View all quotes (18)

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