Critics Consensus

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.



Total Count: 62


Audience Score

User Ratings: 62,511
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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 Commission Report was that an unimaginable number of plausible conspiracy theories were bruited about, and these have supported a sizeable publishing mini-industry ever since. In making this movie, director Oliver Stone had his pick of supposed or real investigative flaws to draw from and has constructed what some reviewers felt was one of the most compelling (and controversial) political detective thrillers ever to emerge from American cinema. Long before filming was completed, Stone was fending off heated accusations of artistic and historical irresponsibility, and these only intensified after the film was released. In the story, New Orleans District Attorney Jim Garrison (Kevin Costner) is convinced that there are some big flaws in the investigation of Oswald (Gary Oldman), and he sets out to recreate the events leading up to the assassination. Along the way, he stumbles across evidence that a great many people had reason to want to see the president killed, and he is convinced that some of them worked in concert to frame Oswald as the killer. Among the suspects are Lyndon Baines Johnson (the next president), the CIA, J. Edgar Hoover, and the Mafia. Over the course of gathering what he believes to be evidence of a conspiracy, Garrison unveils some of the grittier aspects of New Orleans society, focusing on the shady activities of local businessman Clay Shaw (Tommy Lee Jones). Garrison's investigations culminate in his conducting a show trial that he knows he will lose and which he is sure will ruin his career in order to get his evidence into the public record where it can't be buried again. This movie won two of the many Academy Awards for which it was nominated: one for Best Photography (Robert Richardson) and the other for Editing (Joe Hutshing). ~ Clarke Fountain, Rovi

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Kevin Costner
as DA Jim Garrison
Sissy Spacek
as Liz Garrison
Joe Pesci
as David Ferrie
Tommy Lee Jones
as Clay Shaw
Gary Oldman
as Lee Harvey Oswald
Laurie Metcalf
as Susie Cox
John Candy
as Dean Andrews
Jack Lemmon
as Jack Martin
Walter Matthau
as Sen. Russell Long
Edward Asner
as Guy Bannister
Michael Rooker
as Bill Broussard
Sally Kirkland
as Rose Cheramie
Kevin Bacon
as Willie O'Keefe
Jim Garrison
as Earl Warren
Gary Grubbs
as Al Oser
Beata Pozniak
as Marina Oswald
Vincent D'Onofrio
as Bill Newman
Tony Plana
as Carlos Bringuier
Tomás Milian
as Leopoldo
Anthony Ramirez
as Epileptic
Ray LePere
as Abraham Zapruder
R. Bruce Elliott
as Bolton Ford Dealer
E.J. Morris
as 1st Plaza Witness
Cheryl Penland
as 2nd Plaza Witness
Jim Gough
as 3rd Plaza Witness
Perry R. Russo
as Angry Bar Patron
Mike Longman
as 1st Newsman
Steve Reed
as John F. Kennedy - Double
Wayne Knight
as Numa Bertel
Jodie Farber
as Jackie Kennedy - Double
Tom Howard
as L.B.J.
Ron Jackson
as FBI Spokesman
Columbia DuBose
as Nellie Connally - Double
Sean Stone
as Jasper Garrison
Randy Means
as Gov. Connally - Double
Amy Long
as Virginia Garrison
Scott Krueger
as Snapper Garrison
Allison Pratt Davis
as Elizabeth Garrison
Red Mitchell
as Sergeant Harkness
John William Galt
as Lyndon B. Johnson
Michael Ozag
as 3rd Hobo
John C. Martin
as Prison Guard
Henri Alciatore
as Maitre d'
Willem Oltmans
as George DeMohrenschildt
Gail Cronauer
as Janet Williams
Gary Carter
as Bill Williams
Roxie M. Frnka
as Earlene Roberts
A.G. Zeke Mills
as J.C. Price
Ellen McElduff
as Jean Hill
Sally Nystuen
as Mary Moorman
Jo Anderson
as Julia Ann Mercer
Marco Perella
as Mercer Interrogator
Edwin Neal
as Mercer Interrogator
Spain Logue
as 1st FBI Agent with Hill
Darryl Cox
as 2nd FBI Agent with Hill
T.J. Kennedy
as Hill Interrogator
James N. Harrell
as Sam Holland
J.J. Johnston
as Mobster with Broussard
Barry Chambers
as Man at Firing Range
William Larsen
as Will Fritz
Alec Gifford
as 2nd TV Newsman
Eric A. Vicini
as French Reporter
Michael Gurievsky
as Russian Reporter
Caroline Crosthwaite-Eyre
as British Reporter
Helen Miller
as Garrison Receptionist
Wayne Tippit
as FBI Agent-Frank
Dale Dye
as General Y.
Norman Davis
as Colonel Reich
Errol McLendon
as Man with Umbrella
John Seitz
as General Lemnitzer
Bruce Gelb
as Board Room Man
Jerry Douglas
as Board Room Man
Ryan MacDonald
as Board Room Man
Duane Grey
as Board Room Man
George R. Robertson
as White House Man
Baxter Harris
as White House Man
Alex Rodzi Rodine
as White House Man
Sam Stoneburner
as White House Man
Odin K. Langford
as Officer Habighorst
Bob Gunton
as 3rd TV Newsman
Nathan Scott
as John Chancler
Roy Barnitt
as Irvin F Dymond
Alex Rodine
as White House Man
John Finnegan
as Judge Haggerty
Walter Breaux
as Vernon Bundy
Michael Skipper
as James Teague
Melodee Bowman
as FBI Receptionist
I.D. Brickman
as Dr. Peters
Joseph Nadell
as Dr. McClelland
Wayne Tippet
as FBI Agent Frank
Peter Maloney
as Colonel Finck
Frank Whaley
as Fake Oswald (uncredited)
Christopher Otto
as Assistant DA
Chris Renna
as Bethesda Doctor
Dalton Dearborn
as Army General
Merlyn Sexton
as Admiral Kenney
Steve F. Price Jr.
as 1st Pathologist
Tom Bullock
as 2nd Pathologist
Ruary O'Connell
as 3rd Pathologist
Christopher Kosiciuk
as FBI Agent at Autopsy
John Reneau
as A Team Shooter
Stanley White
as B Team Shooter
Richard Rutowski
as Fence Shooter
Bill Bolender
as Prisoner Powell
Larry Melton
as Patrolman Joe Smith
Carol Farabee
as Carolyn Arnold
Willie Minor
as Bonnie Ray Williams
Ted Pennebaker
as Arnold Rowland
Bill Pickle
as Marion Baker
Mykel Chaves
as Sandra Styles
Gil Glasgow
as Tippet Shooter
Bob Orwig
as Officer Poe
Loys T. Bergeron
as Jury Foreman
Kristina Hare
as Reporter
John Galt
as Lyndon B. Johnson
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News & Interviews for JFK

Critic Reviews for JFK

All Critics (62) | Top Critics (13)

  • While Stone has certainly stirred up the waters, with good conscience and, in JFK's own parlance, "with vigah," most people are likely to regard JFK as BS.

    Dec 20, 2016 | Full Review…
  • Sad to say, Oliver Stone's three hours of bombast did little to raise the level of discussion.

    Mar 27, 2009 | Full Review…
  • Stone goes for the gut, but the complexity of theories surrounding the Kennedy assassination might have benefited from a cooler assessment.

    Jun 24, 2006 | Full Review…

    Geoff Andrew

    Time Out
    Top Critic
  • The film's insurmountable problem is the vast amount of material it fails to make coherent sense of.

    May 20, 2003 | Rating: 2.5/5
  • 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
  • Oliver Stone has created a maelstrom of images here. Seamlessly blending real black and white footage of Kennedy's murder with his own re-staged scenes, and working the two together results in a film that can't decide which way to go.

    Apr 17, 2001 | Rating: 3/5 | Full Review…

    Ali Barclay

    Top Critic

Audience Reviews for JFK

  • Nov 30, 2016
    Having read two dozen books about the JFK assassination, and after hiring a team of researchers to further investigate, Oliver Stone seemed deeply devoted to finding his own answers. That answer is presented to us in his 1991 film JFK. Kevin Costner does a damn good job of playing Jim Garrison, the detective who reopened the case a few years later. Stone and company provide a thoroughly compelling case, claiming that there were others involved other than Lee Harvey Oswald. Clocking in at over 3 hours, JFK is very long, and my patience oftentimes runs thin for investigative films/shows. Luckily, it pays off in the end with an incredible courtroom scene where Garrison presents his case to a jury. Stone has convinced me with relentless amounts of evidence that the legal declaration stating that Oswald acted alone in the killing of JFK had to be a farce, to some degree.
    Kevin M Super Reviewer
  • Jun 30, 2016
    If you ever needed proof Costner can't act, look no further than this paranoid gobbledygook. Absurd premise and stupid characters. But the lighting is good....
    Christian C Super Reviewer
  • Dec 24, 2015
    Absolutely loved this film. Watched it whilst on the plane to London. Not sure why I have not seen it until now. An all star cast which is well acted and based on a true story. One of Oliver Stone's best.
    Ian W Super Reviewer
  • Feb 26, 2015
    In true Costner style, JFK is drawn out to in excess of three hours. It presents speculation as fact and the cast of usually stellar actors phones in many of their scenes. Still it is an interesting approach to the 'biopic' genre, and not outright disappointing.
    Gimly M Super Reviewer

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