Oliver Stone’s Acclaimed JFK Returns in 50th Anniversary Commemoration and Makes Blu-ray Debut
By: Ellis Nassour
November 22 marks 50 years since the assassination of President John F. Kennedy. Commemorating this tragic chapter in U.S. history, Oliver Stone’s controversial 1991 three-hour plus historical epic JFK [Warner Bros.] is returning to cineplexes for a limited engagement through November 14 with select engagements from November 20 until December 8. [In New York, check schedules at AMC and Regal theatres.] The film will also make its Blu-ray debut [Warner Home Video] this week.
The all-star cast includes Edward Asner, Kevin Bacon, John Candy, Kevin Costner [as Jim Garrison], Lolita Davidovich, Vincent D’Onofrio, Tommy Lee Jones [Clay Shaw, the gay New Orleans business man Garrison tried unsuccessfully to tie to the assassination], Sally Kirkland, Wayne Knight, Jack Lemmon, Ray LePere [as Abraham Zapruder], Laurie Metcalf, Walter Matthau, Gary Oldman [Lee Harvey Oswald], Joe Pesci, Ron Rifkin, Jay O. Sanders, Sissy Spacek, and Donald Sutherland. Numerous historical figures of the time appear in archival footage.
Stone also co-wrote the screenplay, adapted from New Orleans district attorney Jim Garrison’s book [the author appears in a cameo] On the Trail of the Assassins and Jim Marrs’ Crossfire: The Plot That Killed Kennedy.
JFK won Oscars for Editing [namely the suspenseful lead up to the
President’s last hours in Dallas] and Cinematography [much of the film is shot cinema vérité, making it a quasi documentary]. There were eight nominations: Picture, Screenplay, Score [by multiple Oscar winner John Williams], Supporting Actor [Jones]. Costner was nominated for a Golden Globe.
Often Stone’s goal, he says, was to remake history – to separate truth from myth. His style will have you thinking you’re an eye witness to history. The film was, no doubt, an influence on
Costner plays determined but conflicted Garrison as he single-handedly investigates the murder, often making presumptuous statements of John Kennedy and the assassination [many of which are hard to take seriously]; and suggesting all sorts of conspiracy theories and if Oswald was framed.
The JFK: 50 Year Commemorative Ultimate Collector’s Edition [SRP $49] contains a bounty of bonus material, including acclaimed director George Stevens’ John F. Kennedy: Years of Lightning, Day of Drums; a new documentary, Robert Kline’s JFK Remembered: 50 Years Late; and Chapter 6 of Stone’s epic Showtime series The Untold Story of the United States, JFK: To the Brink, in which he offers his spin on why President Kennedy was assassinated.