How reliable is this film (source E) as a representation of the assassination of J.F.K?


Oliver Stone is very strongly Pro-Kennedy, who believes that American and World History would have been improved if Kennedy had lived. Stone wants to persuade the audience that the American government is corrupt and that they are behind Kennedy’s death. He believes that they were behind the conspiracy that was used to cover up the truth. This is why he portrays Linden Johnson in a bad light, for example casting Tommy Lee Jones in the role. A man who looks very suspicious in the way he plays this part. Johnson become President as a result of Kennedy’s death, and so Stone believes he was involved in a conspiracy as he had something to gain.


Stone has made films in the past that have been extremely critical of the American government, for example, “Platoon” and “Born on The 4th of July”, these films both criticise the American governments involvement in Vietnam. As a result of these films Stone knows that controversial films of his own theories gets the public interested and therefore also do well at the Box-Office. The main reason why any filmmaker takes on or starts a project is to make money. Stone knew that he would be the first to make a full motion picture about the Kennedy assassination. He knew there was still speculation and rumours about who killed him and why he was killed, everyone has their own theory. But he would be the first to present his visually as fact. People watch the film and think it must be true, because it doesn’t seem to hide anything, but does it?


The film, J.F.K is a drama documentary, a variation of fact and fiction. This is often called faction, not fact. Stone has mixed real life footage of the Kennedy assassination and reconstruction of the event. He has confusingly had the reconstruction in black and white and put the real footage of the assassination in colour. An audience watching this film would, without thinking, take for granted that the black and white footage of the Kennedy Assassination will be real because it is old, supposedly. Whenever they see the colour footage, they will come to the conclusion that the black and white is fact and the colour is reconstruction, much to the advantage of Stone.


The evidence used in the film was gathered from two books, “Crossfire” by Jim Marrs and “On the Trail of The Assassinations” by J. Garrison. “On The Trail of The Assassination” was written by the lawyer (played by Kevin Costner) in the film. Both these books support Stones theory of a conspiracy. Stone has only used evidence which backs up his own theories on the assassination. Stone also used the fact that a lot of evidence went missing to his advantage. It gave him the opportunity to fill in blanks with the way he thought it happened. Stone uses the Zapruder film in this movie, there was no sound in the original but Stone has added four shots into it to make the audience think there really was four shots. Also some of the key witnesses in the film have been discredited as reliable evidence. For example Gordon Arnold. Arnold, a young soldier on leave claimed he was standing on the slope of the grassy knoll and said: “The shot came from behind me.” Although he is not visible in pictures taken of the grassy knoll on that day. Arnold says this is because he was lying flat on the ground but photo enhancements show there is no such person.


J.F.K is a Hollywood movie and in Hollywood, moviemakers want big blockbusters and J.F.K was. One may ask: “Can Stone be a historian and also an entertainer?” This film highlights problems with the Warren Commission, it also has educational value as it stimulates interest. But the main downfall of the film is that is does not give a definitive final statement of truth, it just leaves us with further questions that are not answered by Stone, for example: “Who killed Kennedy?” This is a question that may never be answered and this film is only one of hundreds of theories of what could and may have happened on that