The Day of the Jackal (1973) - Rotten Tomatoes

The Day of the Jackal1973

The Day of the Jackal (1973)



Critic Consensus: No consensus yet.

The Day of the Jackal Photos

Movie Info

In this involving political thriller, a secret French paramilitary organization plans to assassinate French President Charles De Gaulle (Adrien Cayla-Legrand) because of their disagreement with his policies during the Algerian War. They hire a professional killer, known only as "The Jackal" (Edward Fox). The police learn of the plot from an informer, and police investigator Lebel (Michel Lonsdale) cleverly pieces together the clues to the Jackal's identity. The complicated plot uses parallel editing to cross-cut between the details of the Jackal's preparations for the assassination and Lebel's efforts to find him before it is too late. Fred Zinnemann presents the story, faithfully adapted from the book by Frederick Forsyth, with precise, dramatic flair. Edward Fox is coldly alluring as the Jackal. Well acted and directed, Day of the Jackal is a tense and engrossing political thriller with a surprising ending. ~ Linda Rasmussen, Rovi

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Edward Fox
as "The Jackal"
Alan Badel
as The Minister
Michel Auclair
as Colonel Rolland
Tony Britton
as Inspector Thomas
Cyril Cusack
as Gunsmith
Maurice Denham
as General Colbert
Vernon Dobtcheff
as Interrogator
Barrie Ingham
as St. Clair
Eric Porter
as Col. Rodin
Donald Sinden
as Mallinson
Jean Sorel
as Bastien-Thiry
David Swift
as Montclair
Timothy West
as Berthier
Adrien Cayla-Legrand
as Charles de Gaulle
Jean Martin
as Rodin's Bodyguard Wolenski
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Critic Reviews for The Day of the Jackal

All Critics (21) | Top Critics (5)

It's a polished and exciting thriller, mercifully unburdened with heavy political/philosophical digressions.

November 1, 2007 | Full Review…

The major asset of the film is that it succeeds in maintaining interest and suspense despite obvious viewer foreknowledge of the outcome.

November 1, 2007 | Full Review…

Low on documentary conviction and political context, but an intriguing exercise in concealing the obvious.

January 26, 2006 | Full Review…
Top Critic

I wasn't prepared for how good it really is: it's not just a suspense classic, but a beautifully executed example of filmmaking.

October 23, 2004 | Rating: 4/4 | Full Review…

The details are minutely observed and, to me, just a bit boring.

May 20, 2003 | Rating: 2.5/5

Director Fred Zinnemann, scripter Kenneth Ross, and editor Ralph Kemplen (earning this film's sole Oscar nomination) all deserve high marks.

September 30, 2018 | Rating: 3.5/4 | Full Review…

Audience Reviews for The Day of the Jackal

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.

Alex roy
Alex roy

Super Reviewer

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.

Alexis Nomm
Alexis Nomm

Super Reviewer


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.

Cassandra Maples
Cassandra Maples

Super Reviewer

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