‘Killing Kennedy’ & ‘JFK: The Final Hours’ Review

Published 10 months ago by

Will Rothhaar and Rob Lowe in Killing Kennedy 570x294 Killing Kennedy & JFK: The Final Hours Review

On November 22nd, 1963, massive crowds gathered at Dealey Plaza in Dallas, Texas hoping to see President John F. Kennedy as his motorcade made its way to the Dallas Trade Mart, where he was scheduled to deliver a speech. However, President Kennedy would never make his final destination that day. As his open-top limousine turned onto Elm Street, three shots rung out over six seconds that would forever change the course of American history – and bring sadness to the hearts of millions.

JFK: The Final Hours

JFK The Final Hours Downtown Dallas Streets 570x294 Killing Kennedy & JFK: The Final Hours Review

This year marks the 50th anniversary of JFK’s death. It’s a day that many people will always remember, recalling exactly where they were during those last few hours President Kennedy was alive. He had decided to visit Texas to strengthen political support, and had asked his wife Jacqueline to join him, since he would often jokingly say he felt the American populace connected more with her than with him. It was a momentous occasion in those days to have the President of the United States visit your city, and everyone wanted to be there to see him. Young and old, Democrat or Republican, white, black or Hispanic – it didn’t matter to the citizens of Dallas, as thousands lined the downtown streets. A fortunate few even managed to shake JFK’s hand or get a warm smile and a friendly quip from the personable political figure.

One little kid in Ft. Worth, Texas listening to JFK give a speech while sitting on his father’s shoulders was then 8 -year-old Bill Paxton (Twister), and it’s Paxton who narrates JFK: The Final Hours, as the documentary somberly traces the last 36 hours of JFK’s life. The NatGeo-produced documentary uses archival footage as well as first-hand accounts from people who were there on that day – although they’re now 50 years older.

JFK The Final Hours Lyndon B Johnson Jacquline and John F Kennedy 570x294 Killing Kennedy & JFK: The Final Hours Review

Lyndon B Johnson, Jacqueline Kennedy and John F. Kennedy at a luncheon in Ft. Worth – November 21st, 1963

The documentary is very much a “love story” focused more on JFK’s admirers than the man himself, and as such, it occasionally suffers from slow pacing. When the women talk about their experience with JFK – most of them were starry-eyed teenagers in 1963 – it’s a lot of “He was so handsome” statements; meanwhile the men, who were mostly children during that time, talk about how incredible a man he was in person. There’s nothing wrong with idol worship, but it does get repetitive about 30 minutes into the movie.

For history buffs and JFK enthusiasts, the film is an interesting look at how much he meant to so many people from different walks of life. One of the most interesting things about the film is writer/director Erik Nelson’s use of photos from the past, juxtaposed with recent photos of various locations, using a slicing technique. It makes the film very appealing, visually. While there is quite a lot of interesting information presented in JFK: The Final Hours, it feels stretched out in order to make it a full two hours – when a 1 hour special airing in front of Killing Kennedy would have been perfect.

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NEXT PAGE: Rob Lowe is JFK in Killing Kennedy

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  1. Kennedy was a hero to many people ….. makeing a show about him bein assassinated is Bull ….

    • Why?

      It was a historic moment that shocked the globe. Why shouldn’t people talk about it?

      Although, I’d like to see a show about him that isn’t all rose-tinted because of his involvement with the mob, his womanizing ways, showing the real John F Kennedy would humanize him more I think and make his assassination feel more tragic than it already was.

      I’m hoping we get a documentary in a similar style about the assassination of Archduke Franz Ferdinand since 2014 marks the 100th anniversary of the start of World War 1, we’re getting 4 years of shows on the various BBC channels and his murder started the whole thing.

  2. they just had a special on the other day (a new one)…it makes a really serious case of a mistake gunshot from the secret service vehicle behind him

    • I think I saw that show maybe a year ago on History.

      Gun malfunctioned after the first few shots, right?

      • yes the direction of the wound pointed towards the following vehice

        about Ferdinand do you know the names of any good docs..it’s a big part of my peoples hitory

        • http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=5LAgDuNZU8A

          26 minute BBC documentary according to the description.

          I haven’t done any high school History since I graduated 13 years ago. Walked out of that classroom after 2 years studying WW2 and JFK’s assassination a proud 16 year old glad to have it over with but I kinda miss it now. My fave part was when we took on roles of various wartime figures (Hitler, Churchill, Rommel etc) and had a mock trial to put their various viewpoints across.

          Hope that helped.

          • @ Dazz
            Thanks for posting that link, I’ll give it a watch. I know you posted it for another commenter but anything regarding WW1 is a must watch for me.
            While I understand and appreciate the countless hours of docs, TV Specials and anything else media related to WW2 I’ve always been a bit perplexed by the lack of coverage about WW1, at least here in the states anyway. I can turn on the TV at any hour of any day and find something on about WW2 but it’s kind of a struggle for WW1.

            • Well, like I said, starting next year (the day WW1 started), BBC are showing dedicated programmes across their four channels for the entire four year period that the war lasted so you’ll be thoroughly indulged if the shows hit the internet.

              • thank Dazz..same here in Canada they have already started playing WW1 stuff for Nov 11th ….we get all the British/Canadian WW1 docs….as you get older this stuff starts to matter more.

                • Ahh, cool.

                  We’ve had Remembrance Week all week leading up to Monday but we won’t get any dedicated WW1 programming until the 100th anniversary of the war breaking out.

  3. I have a small interest in watching “Killing Kennedy” mostly because I think I’ve watched almost everything produced regarding the subject and still am fascinated but is this a straight “TV Movie” or is it like “Killing Lincoln” which had a few talking head moments throughout which made it feel like more of a bunch of re-enactments rather than a movie?

    • @Kevin – This is different than Killing Lincoln. Much less of a “History Channel” feel and more of a feature movie feel. The only narration is by Oswald and not non-actor “experts”…if that makes sense.

      Paul Young

      • @ Paul
        Thanks and your reply does make sense.
        I wasn’t expecting anything great from Killing Lincoln but from the trailers and publicity leading up to it I thought it would be an actual movie so when it wasn’t I stopped watching.
        Knowing that Killing Kennedy is more of a traditional movie makes me more inclined to watch but at the same time my expectations aren’t really all that high.

  4. Chances are they’ll sugar-coat the factual storyline due to it being based upon Bill O’Reilly’s bogus book and twist it to include some facts but mostly not mention all the lies in the cover-up that did occur. For a far better understanding of what went down and was not disclosed to the public do read: Killing JFK 50 Years, 50 Lies by Lance Moore as this puts things in a whole different perspective. I honestly think it was a multi-tiered plot because there still remains way too many questions that were never asked or further investigated and actual witnesses statements completely disregarded which included death threats made by both the CIA and FBI to people if they said anything to the Warren Commission (which was a sham to begin with).

    • The book, and I’m assuming the movie, does not deal in anything other than facts. It alludes to the problems, those who hated JFK, but it does not speculate. Your hatred for Bill O’Reilly does not make the book bogus. In fact, it sounds like your facts are bogus.

      • That’s what I don’t like about conspiracy theorists.

        You get shows, documentaries, books etc dedicated to the facts of an event but then you get people claiming there’s a cover up or that things didn’t happen how it was stated and I honestly believe those people just can’t cope with the reality of our world and the horrors that happen within it so they come up with all sorts of crazy to feel better about themselves.

        My main issue is with those who claim the planes that hit the WTC were holograms and that actors made the phone calls pretending to be family members so that no one really died.

        Makes me angry when I read BS like that.

        • Then sit down and read the entire Warren Commission findings and they are not BS.

          Hologram Planes? That’s new to me.

          Believe what you want and remain a sheep trusting a very corrupt government. That in itself is BS spin.

          • Have you never been to conspiracy websites and message boards then?

            There are groups of people who actually believe the holographic plane theory. It’s sickening.

            We know governments can be corrupt but to think they’d kill their own people in such a horrific and televised way for profit?

            You’re the delusional sheep for buying into the ridiculous theories. The only thing I believe in is truth, something your fellow theorists seem to want to stay away from to satisfy your own weird opinions.

            • Oh and yes, I read the entire Warren Commission a few years ago when I read up on the subject and still find the JFK murder to be without conspiracy.

              If they got it wrong and missed an agent accidentally shooting JFK then that’s not a conspiracy, it’s simple human error. If Oswald is proven to be the shooter (and in all likelihood, it’s 70/30 that he was, with the 30% being the accidental shooting from the agent in front based on evidence, a word you don’t seem to understand) then I doubt theorists would accept it, even if a time machine showed them that Oswald was the man who killed Kennedy.

              They’d probably claim that the time machine was somehow involved or something ridiculous.

              That’s why I discovered that you can’t have an intelligent debate about facts with a conspiracy theorist because they’ll come up with crazier and crazier theories until you become exacerbated and walk away, with them claiming “victory” for “winning the argument” because again, they distort facts to suit their own ideas.

      • Did I say I hated O’Reilly? Please don’t put words into my statement when it seems it’s you who is the one ‘in fact’ who is clueless and wants to ‘believe’ what the US Government doled out on the subject. It states here no personal attacks, but you were the one to start it. Expand your limited knowledge and read what was suggested before throwing stones. Nuf said.

        • You can believe what you want to believe, but the fact is you have no facts to back up your statements and, until you do, you are spewing lies. I don’t really care what anyone says about JFK until the documents are released. Of course the gov’t lies, but your conspiracy theories are much more likely to be lies. Once you said that 911 was a conspiracy you lose all credibility.

  5. This movie is a collection of selective facts and straightforward errors. The first shoot missed, but not in this movie, the “curtain rods” were of a length short enough that Oswald carried them cupped by one hand and tucked under his armpit, but not in this movie. Oswald gave his taxi ride to a lady, but not in this movie. They left that out to make his being able to cover all those distances on foot seem more believable. A more honest film would have at least shown the reasons so many believe there was a conspiracy, shadowy facts like the possibility of more than one shooter, Kennedy’s “back and to the left” movement, witnesses saying they heard shots fired from the Grassy Knoll, hundreds running to the Grassy Knoll to find the shooter, Connolly’s multiple wounds… and did the secret service actually make a scale model of every city Kennedy visited? Did Mrs. Oswald visit her husband in custody?

  6. I read the book and absolutely loved it. Yes, history says Oswald was the killer. However, I personally don’t believe that, entirely. What was great about the book was that it brought you in on every angle. It does have facts that we all have known about Oswald and that he’d already been pinned. However it gives you more insight on the hate the mob and Linden and others had for JFK and the Kennedy clan. Which are reasons why so many people believe the conspiracy. I didn’t feel this movie portrayed the great dynamics this book had to offer in a great way at all. I was HIGHLY disappointed!!

  7. I don’t know anything about this book or the upcoming movie but it has been proven quite a number of times since the Time investigation in the 1980s that Oswald could not have used the gun claimed to have been used and hit a moving target at the speed and distance of Kennedy’s car.

    In fact, this has just been demonstrated again with the release of several new publications.

    The only conspiracy was the mishandled coverup by the government (ie: The Warren Commission findings, which did not allow into evidence critical information).

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