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Movies about assassinations and conspiracies

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Movies about assassinations and conspiracies

JFK is the latest in a rich tradition of dramas about political intrigue stretching back to Shakespeare. Here are the most notable features and documentaries dealing with Nov. 22, 1963, and other assassinations and conspiracies, all available on video.

The Manchurian Candidate (1962)
How the Soviets might have done it. Taut Cold War drama, with a remote-controlled assassin programmed by the Commies to boost the fortunes of a vice-presidential candidate, James Gregory, right. A-

Seven Days In May (1964)
High-ranking right-wing military officers, angered by a liberal President’s policies, plot a coup. Exceptional inside-Washington perspective on the bitterly confrontational political mood of 1963. A

The Day of the Jackal (1973)
If professional assassins were used in the JFK hit, they may have been Europeans like the Jackal and involved in one of the early-’60s attempts on the life of French president Charles de Gaulle. This suspenseful, meticulous account of a ’63 action on De Gaulle is fictional, but full of dark portent. A

Executive Action (1973)
Feature cowritten by Warren Commission critic Mark Lane depicts alleged assassins’ plottings in a semidocumentary style like JFK‘s (here, a wealthy right-winger is the chief culprit). Excellent companion to Stone’s film, but lacking its cinematic flair. B

The Parallax View (1974)
Warren Beatty as a journalist who traces a series of political assassinations to a monolithic killer-recruitment corporation. Stylish melodrama as annoyingly elliptical as its subject. B-

Three Days of the Condor (1975)
Renegade CIA operatives plot against each other, with hunky spook Robert Redford caught in the middle. Insightful take on the above-the-law mentality that has been known to infect the U.S. intelligence community. A-

Winter Kills (1979)
Brother of a slain President finds evidence of Mafia complicity in the assassination. A dark comedy that goes overboard with plot convolutions; the fun is mostly in John Huston’s robust performance as patriarch of a Kennedyesque family. B-

Declassified: The Plot to Kill President Kennedy (1983)
Capable nonfiction overview written and produced by former CBS documentary filmmaker John Sharnik, including interviews with a mercenary who says he spurned offers to shoot JFK. Emphasizes Mafia-Teamsters angle. B

Best Evidence: The Research Video (1990)
Well-made documentary from producer-author David Lifton’s book, showing discrepancies among medical reports and arguing that JFK’s body was altered before its autopsy. A

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