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JFK (1991) movie script

by Oliver Stone and Zachary Sklar.
Based on the books by Jim Garrison "On the Trail of the Assasins" and Jim Marrs "Crossfire: The Plot That Killed Kennedy".
Final script.

More info about this movie on

Credits run in counterpoint through a 7 to 10 minute sequence of
documentary images setting the tone of John F. Kennedy's Presidency and
the atmosphere of those tense times, 1960 through 1963.  An omniscient
narrator's voice marches us through in old time Pathe' newsreel fashion.

	January, 1961 - President Dwight D. Eisenhower's
	Farewell Address to the Nation -


	The conjunction of an immense military
	establishment and a large arms industry is new
	in the American experience.  The total influence
	- economic, political, even spiritual - is felt
	in every city, every statehouse, every office of
	the Federal Government ... In the councils of
	government we must guard against the acquisition
	of unwarranted influence, whether sought or
	unsought, by the military industrial complex.
	The potential for the disastrous rise of
	misplaced power exists and will persist ... We
	must never let the weight of this combination
	endanger our liberties or democratic processes.
	We should take nothing for granted ...


School kids reciting the Pledge of Allegiance.  WPA films of farmers
harvesting the Texas plains.  Rain, thunderheads, a dusty car coming
from far away on a road moving towards Dallas.  Cowboys round up the
cattle.  Young marrieds in a church.  Hillsides of tract homes going up.
The American breadbasket, the West.  Over this we hear Eisenhower's
address.  As we move into the election campaign of 1960, we see the TV
debates, Nixon vs. Kennedy, Mayor Daley, Kennedy victorious ...

Against this is juxtaposed other forces: segregation, J. Edgar Hoover,
military advisors, Castro, Marilyn Monroe, Lumumba ... three frames of
the Zapruder film counter-cut ... ending with the Kennedy inauguration
and the irony of Earl Warren administering the oath as he will Kennedy's

	November, 1960 - Senator John F. Kennedy of
	Massachusetts wins one of the narrowest election
	victories in American history over the Vice-
	President Richard Nixon by a little more than
	100,000 votes.  Rumors abound that he stole the
	election in Illinois through the Democratic
	political machine of Mayor Daley ...
		(inauguration shots)
	At his inauguration, at a time when American
	males all wore hats, he let his hair blow free
	in the wind.  Alongside his beautiful and
	elegant wife of French origin, Jacqueline
	Bouvier, J.F.K. is the symbol of the new freedom
	of the 1960's, signifying change and upheaval to
	the American public, scaring many and hated
	passionately by some.  To win the election and
	to appease their fears, Kennedy at first takes a
	tough Cold War stance.


The beach, the bombardment, the rounding up of prisoners, Kennedy's
public apology, Allen Dulles standing next to J.F.K., both uncomfortable
with the small talk ...

	He inherits a secret war against the Communist
	Castro dictatorship in Cuba, a war run by the
	CIA and angry Cuban exiles out of bases in the
	Southern United States, Panama, Nicaragua and
	Guatemala.  Castro is a successful revolutionary
	frightening to American business interests in
	Latin America - companies like Cabot's United
	Fruit, Continental Can, and Rockefeller's
	Standard Oil.  This war culminates in the
	disastrous Bay of Pigs invasion in April 1961,
	when Kennedy refuses to provide air cover for
	the exile brigade.  Of the 1600 men who invade,
	114 are killed, 1200 are captured.  The Cuban
	exiles and the CIA are furious at Kennedy's
	irresolution ... Kennedy, taking public
	responsibility for the failure, privately claims
	the CIA lied to him and tried to manipulate him
	into ordering an all-out American invasion of
	Cuba.  He vows to splinter the CIA into a
	thousand pieces and fires Director Allen Dulles,
	Deputies Charles Cabell and Richard Bissell, the
	top leadership of the Agency.


Cuban rallies, footage of training camps, espionage activities, boats,
cases of weapons, Robert Kennedy ... John Roselli, Sam Giancana, Santos
Trafficante, Richard Helms (the new CIA chief), Bill Harvey, Head of
ZR/RIFLE, Howard Hunt ...

	The CIA, however, continues it's secret war on
	Castro with dozens of sabotage and assassination
	attempts under it's ZR/RIFLE and MONGOOSE
	programs - The Agency collaborates with
	organized crime elements such as John Roselli,
	Sam Giancana, and Santos Trafficante of Tampa,
	whose casino operations in Cuba, worth more than
	a hundred million dollars a year in income,
	Castro has shut down.


Khrushchev, Kennedy, Castro on television, meetings with Cabinet,
Russian vessels in Caribbean, U.S. nuclear bases on alert, civilians
going to underground safe areas ... the Russian ship turning around, the
country smiling ...

	In October 1962, the world comes to the brink of
	nuclear war when Kennedy quarantines Cuba after
	announcing the presence of offensive Soviet
	nuclear missiles 90 miles off American shores.
	The Joint Chiefs of Staff and the CIA call for
	an invasion.  Kennedy refuses.  Soviet ships
	with more missiles sail towards the island, but
	at the last moment turn back.  The world
	breathes with relief but backstage in
	Washington, rumors abound that J.F.K. has cut a
	secret deal with Russian Premier Khrushchev not
	to invade Cuba in return for a Russian
	withdrawal of missiles.  Suspicions abound that
	Kennedy is "soft on Communism."


Closing down Cuban Camps, McNamara speaking, Khrushchev and Kennedy, the
"hot line" telephone system inaugurated, Kennedy with Jackie and
children sailing off Cape Cod ... Vietnam introduction, early shots,
Green Berets, counterinsurgency programs, De Lansdale, leading up to the
Test Ban signings ... then J.F.K. at American University, June 10, 1963.

	In the ensuing months, Kennedy clamps down on
	Cuban exile activities, closing training camps,
	restricting covert operations, prohibiting
	shipment of weapons out of the country.  The
	covert arm of the CIA nevertheless continues its
	plan to assassinate Castro ... In March '63,
	Kennedy announces drastic cuts in the defence
	budget.  In November 1963, he orders the
	withdrawal by Christmas of the first 1000 troops
	of the 16,000 stationed in Vietnam.  He tells
	several of his intimates that he will withdraw
	all Vietnam troops after the '64 election,
	saying to the Assistant Secretary of State,
	Roger Hilsman, "The Bay of Pigs has taught me
	one, not to trust generals or the CIA, and two,
	that if the American people do not want to use
	American troops to remove a Communist regime 90
	miles from our coast, how can I ask them to use
	troops to remove a Communist regime 9.000 miles
	away?" ... Finally, in August 1963, over the
	objections of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, the
	United States, Great Britain and the Soviet
	Union sign a treaty banning nuclear bomb tests
	in the atmosphere, underwater and in space ...
	Early that fateful summer, Kennedy speaks of his
	new vision at American University in Washington.

	What kind of peace do we seek?  Not a pax
	Americana enforced on the world by American
	weapons of war ... we must re-examine our own
	attitudes towards the Soviet Union ... If we
	cannot now end our differences at least we can
	help make the world safe for diversity.  For, in
	the final analysis, our most basic link is that
	we all inhabit this small planet.  We all
	breathe the same air.  We all cherish our
	children's future.  And we are all mortal ...


Diplomats at the United Nations ... Adlai Stevenson, Castro ... Martin
Luther King and the March on Washington (a snatch of his "I Have a
Dream" speech) ... Bobby Kennedy and Jimmy Hoffa going at it ... U.S.
Steel Chairman's remarks in the steel face-off, men going to courtrooms
with briefcases, ... Teddy Kennedy, Rose, Joe, the Kennedy family, all
teeth and good looks ... and of course John campaigning, always
campaigning, shaking hands, smiling, that supremely warm smile and sense
of grace and ability to convey to crowds their oneness with him ...
forever ... culminating in the more specific Texas shots ... with Jackie
in San Antonio, and Houston ... then at Fort Worth ... then at Love
Field moving through the clouds toward the Dallas/Forth Worth plain
which suddenly breaks into view as we descend ...


A moving car carrying two Cuban males disgorges a rumpled, screaming
woman, Rose Cheramie, a whore in her thirties, lying there bleeding in
the dirt.  The car drives off.


We see Rose, badly cut but quite lucid, trying to reason with a
policeman, Lt. Fruge, and a doctor - in a remote black-and-white

	They're going up to Dallas ... to whack Kennedy.
	Friday the 22nd, that's when they're going to do
	it.  In Dealey Plaza.  They're gonna whack him!
	You gotta call somebody, these are serious
	fuckin' guys.

		(to the police officer)
	Higher 'n a kite on something.  Been like this
	since she came in.


We see the last close-ups of Kennedy shaking hands on the tarmac at Love
Field, smiling, into the motorcade ... the downtown streets of Dallas,
people packing the sidewalks clear back to the buildings, hanging out of
windows ten stories up, schoolgirls surging out into the street in front
of the car.  The President is wildly popular - except for the occasional
posters calling for his arrest for treason ...

	More rumors emerge of J.F.K.'s backdoor efforts
	outside usual State Department and CIA channels
	to establish dialogue with Fidel Castro through
	contacts at the United Nations in New York.
	Kennedy is seeking change on all fronts.  Bitter
	battles are fought with Southern segregationists
	to get James Meredith into the University of
	Mississippi.  Three months after Kennedy submits
	a sweeping civil rights bill to Congress, Martin
	Luther King leads 250,000 in a march on
	Washington.  Robert Kennedy, as Attorney
	General, for the first time ever vigorously
	prosecutes the Mafia in American life, bringing
	and winning a record number of cases - 288
	convictions of organized crime figures including
	13 grand juries against Jimmy Hoffa and his
	Teamsters Union.  The President also takes on
	Big Business, forcing back steel prices, winning
	45 of 46 ant