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The Day of the Jackal Reviews

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Super Reviewer

June 9, 2010
This movie was so epic in its story. A film surrounding a plot to assassinate French President Charles de Gaulle. It's an ultimate Thriller that keeps you on the edge of your seat. I could easily compare this to the Bourne Movies. But this movie stands in a class by itself. Edward Fox is awesome as the Jackal. The OAS seek to assassinate French President Charles de Gaulle due to the fact that he decided to give Algeria it's independence. After a failed coup, the OAS hire the help of an English Assassin to carry out de Gaulle's demise. Edward Fox delivers something so unique on screen that every time he's on screen, he almost believe he's a cold blooded killer. This film should have further'd Fox's career. He's only played in a handful of films since. Despite this, He was phenomenal in this film, and he is an underrated talent. The Day Of The Jackal is a solidly paced Thriller. Not many films have succeeded in offering something this thrilling, and this film remains in a league of it's own as one of the greatest Thriller films ever made. This film is highly suspenseful from the first jaw dropping five minutes of the film to the exhilarating climax, this film is a smartly crafted film that has an outstanding cast. Director Fred Zinnermann has done a masterful job at adapting Frederick Forsyth's masterwork of pulse pounding thrills. Aside from a few changes, this adaptation is very faithful to the book, and it's just as exciting as the book. So if you're planning on renting this film, be prepared to view one of the greatest Thriller films ever made, not many have come close to this classic. You will be wowed at how great this film is.
Alexis N

Super Reviewer

July 6, 2010
this movie is 2 1/2 hours long.. i fell a sleep a handful of times and there's no music in the whole thing. it's very boring and very long. i like the "remake" with bruce willis called The Jackal much better.
Cassandra M

Super Reviewer

November 8, 2009
The opening five minutes of the film are a marvel. Almost completely devoid of dialogue the scenes portray visually more story than most modern thrillers can fit into two hours. This is about the best book-to-film conversion I've ever seen. The cuts, where they are made, are logical and some locations are combined. From Forsyth's first, and probably best book (written in less than 5 weeks) this film contains nothing that does not drive the story forward. The character of the Jackal is brilliantly finely drawn. He doesn't contain any of the cliches that you would expect to see in a film written in the last twenty years (he doesn't display mental instability, or have flashbacks to some event in his past). He never tries to justify his pernicious occupation to anyone yet, strangely, doesn't come across as an evil man. Simply as a professional doing his job. The French police inspector is wonderfully underplayed and is as far away from the he-breaks-the-rules-but-he-gets-the-job-done cliche as you can possibly imagine. He is first seen attending to his pigeons and upon being told he is being put on the case simply says "Oh God..."....

Zimmemann's direction is great and the scenes are beautifully photographed - particularly in Paris.

This is an all-time great film. Definitely in my top ten. I suppose I must put something in negative so it makes for a balanced review so errr.... I think the French minister is wearing a very bad wig. Beyond that -marvelous.

Super Reviewer

December 17, 2007
Excellent thriller, film making of another era when something didn't have to blow up every five minutes, so it takes its time telling the story. Beautifully shot with solid performances from entire cast and an excellent central perfomance from Edward Fox. Skip the remake.
Aaron N

Super Reviewer

October 14, 2006
Col. Rodin: We are not terrorists, you understand. We are patriots. Our duty is to the soldiers who've died fighting in Algeria, and to the three million French citizens who have always lived there.
The Jackal: [bluntly] And so you want to get rid of him.
Col. Rodin: [after a pause] Speaking as a professional, do you think it's possible?
The Jackal: It's possible. The point is getting away with it. And speaking as a professional, that's a very important consideration.

An extremely well made thriller about a meticulous assassin, codenamed the Jackal, who has been hired to assassinate French President Charles de Gaulle and the efforts by the French government to find this assassin and stop him.

This movie works extremely well due to how well every aspect is executed. The way the story unfolds is not only exciting, but believable. There is no need to have any sort of suspension of disbelief. The way the Jackal moves around Europe and evade the police is all handled in a realistic manner. On the other side of things, the way the government goes trying to find the Jackal is also done through a straightforward and believable approach.

Much of this comes through in how the movie uses all the details to hold itself together. Little things like the function of some papers created in scenes much earlier in the movie, or the purpose of an item purchased at a marketplace all come together very well by the time its purpose must be served. The weapon of choice by the Jackal is also especially cool, due to its practically covert design, and the way the film shows how the Jackal transports it.

The lead performance from Edward Fox as the Jackal is also great. Fox has to play a man who can easily blend into a crowd and not give off any sort of alarm. This isn't the kind of person that will be given deep characterization, but from what we know, he is skilled, orderly, and efficient. The fact that he applies his skills to professional killing gives him a slight sinister quality, but his proper English manner could make anyone believe otherwise.

Minister: How did you know whose telephone to tap?
Lebel: I didn't, so I tapped them all.

Michael Lonsdale as Lebel, the chief inspector going after the Jackal is also very good. He is a confident man, doesn't lose sight in his objective, but doesn't easily find his way to his target either. He goes through all logical processes to discover the Jackal's plans.

Much of the success also comes from how well this film moves along. At two hours and twenty minutes, this movie glides by, remaining constantly entertaining, with important points occurring at almost every way through. This is due to how well the movie is edited. Scenes move straight to the point, with cuts away from obvious results, moving to the resulting scenes, ready for the next actions to take place.

The scenery is great. This film uses the actual locations throughout Europe to show where the Jackal has traveled, which includes London, Paris, and various other parts of Europe.

This is a wonderfully exciting hitman thriller, that unfolds its story appropriately, and is especially superior to the terrible remake.

Minister: Who the hell was he?

Super Reviewer

June 5, 2007
An intelligent euro-thriller concerning an algerian terrorist plot to assassinate De Gaul. This film is carried almost in it's entirety by Edward Fox, who is completely believable as the cold-blooded assassin, ruthlessly setting about his business of professional killer while a multi-national task force blindly pursue him. The documentary style is a little uninvolving and the ending a little anti-climactic but Fox is excellen,t as are the rest of the cast (including a very young Derek Jacobi) and it makes a nice change of pace to the usual pointless explosions and car chases.
Ken S

Super Reviewer

June 20, 2007
Awesome awesome movie...totally different from the re-make...
Roy G

Super Reviewer

November 20, 2006
Great assassination-based thriller
Lanning :

Super Reviewer

May 10, 2006
Although far superior to the abyssmally dismal Bruce Willis remake, this is one that cannot beat the book. Forsyth is a master writer of suspense and intrigue, and the very fact that you know darn well de Gaulle was never assassinated makes even more wonderful Forsyth's attempt to have you believe this actually could happen, right up to the very end.

The movie pales primarily in the casting of Fox. Forsythe's Jackal exudes iron will and a domineering personal force. Fox is not able to pull this off. Still, this is one heck of a suspenseful movie, whether you've read the book or not.

Much applause for Michael Lonsdale as the cool and methodical Lebel, the only man who can and must stop the Jackal before the Jackal succeds in his mission.
Danny R

Super Reviewer

December 13, 2009
A engrossing and exciting thriller based on Frederick Forsysth's best-seller. About a plot to assassinate French President Charles De Gaulle by a master assassin played here with great skill by Edward Fox. Well made and extremely well-acted by the entire cast and brilliantly directed by Fred Zinnemann. Beautiful filmed throughout Europe. Highly Recommended.
Stephen E

Super Reviewer

September 30, 2012
Hands down one of the very best thrillers that I've ever seen, "The Day of the Jackal" works on so many different levels because of the sophistication of its screenplay and direction coupled with the sleekness of Edward Fox's performance as the methodical assassin. It's engaging from start to finish, breaking only from its lighting-like pace to pause for scenes of worthwhile character development. "The Day of the Jackal" closes with a pulse pounding finale that ends just swiftly enough to make it slightly unsatisfying, but it is nevertheless a thrilling, well-made experience that will not be forgotten.
Marcus W

Super Reviewer

June 24, 2008
Classic cat-and-mouse thriller that grabs you from the start and refuses to let go. The more I say, the more I'll ruin it, but I will say that it's a must-see!

Super Reviewer

January 24, 2011
Mesmerisingly detailed, cold and unbiased thriller set around an assassin's efforts to kill Charles De Gaulle and a policeman's efforts to stop him. A brilliant cast also help to make this big screen version of the Frederick Forsyth novel a genuine classic.

Super Reviewer

February 14, 2008
As thrillers go this is up there with the best...brilliant. And the fact they wanna shoot french people is never a bad

Super Reviewer

March 10, 2007
I can watch this over and over, and I know how it ends.
December 27, 2012
Suspenseful and very detailed. My only complaint was that after all the buildup, the ending was very quick and simple.
December 12, 2012
A cool, clever political thriller on an epic scale, suspenseful and historically fascinating all the way through.
June 8, 2011
This is the best movie adaptation of a Frederick Forsythe novel. It's believable and exciting, wholly unlike the insultingly ridiculous remake. Watch this one instead.
April 23, 2010
Gripping thriller with several stand out performances. Edward Fox, Cyril Cusack and Tony Britton stand out. Fred Zinnemann's direction is very detailed and he brings a convincing realism to the film. It has a complex plot, so it is the kind of film that is best followed very carefully. The main flaw of the film is it's length. I think it would have better pacing with some much needed editing. There are some very tense and exciting scenes.
January 30, 2009
Actually this is 1973. There seems to be some confusion here.

Stick to the original. terrible 2002 version is not a remake, but a degrading insult to the title.
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