Zapruder: The most powerful film ever made

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That the Zapruder film gets 7.9 stars on IMDB.com raises several questions, not the least of which is why it’s on there in the first place.

And why not ten stars? I’ve always called the 26 seconds of footage shot by Abraham Zapruder of the assassination of JFK, the most memorable film I’ve ever seen, and many of my generation probably feel the same.

Tomorrow  Sunday is the 51st 52nd anniversary of the assassination.

Zapruder was one of reportedly seven witnesses with home-movie cameras in Dallas on Nov. 22, 1963 whose footage  gave birth to a thousand conspiracy theories.

The Zapruder film was sold to Life magazine, which reprinted still photos and then shelved it.

In 1975, the film was shown on TV by Geraldo Rivera, and congressional hearings into the assassination followed. That same year, Life sold the film back the Zapruder family.

I’ve written about the Zapruder film several times and in 2010 wrote:

“For a while, I had my own pristine version. It came in the mail at work from an anonymous source in an unmarked envelope after I had done a column about it. It was an eerily stark, 4-minute-long film of the shooting, from various angles.

It was without narration and showed events in slow motion, close up and with certain graphic flourishes to illustrate details, like, for instance, what looks like a man in a hat holding a rifle in the bushes.  

I would show it in class when I taught at the University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee, and students would react audibly to shocking footage of “the pink mist” spraying from Kennedy’s head. 

The unmarked tape was eventually stolen from my car – conspiracy, no doubt.”

It was stupid of me to not make a second copy, and I tried and failed for years to find a similar version of the film whose stark presentation made its impact even more powerful.

Most of the others I’ve come across felt obligated to amplify its brevity with narration, music and other explanatory details, which only diluted its significance.

Watch one version of the Zapruder film below.

Below that watch trailers for two films:

“Interview with the Assassin,” a taut conspiracy thriller in which Raymond J. Barry plays the now-aged second gunman. Many conspiracy buffs believe assassin Lee Harvey Oswald was a patsy, and that a second gunman was involved.

“Parkland,” a dramatization of that day, with Paul Giamatti as Zapruder. It is based on Vincent Bugliosi’s book” Reclaiming History: The Assassination of President John F. Kennedy.” See my review of it here.

 

 

 

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