Parkland is due to be released to coincide with the 50th anniversary of the death of John F Kennedy. It details the events leading up to and immediately following JFK’s assassination, told from multiple perspectives.

The film boasts a number of major stars, with Billy Bob Thornton as the chief of Dallas’ Secret Service, Paul Giamatti as amateur filmmaker Abraham Zapruder and Zac Efron as a young doctor. It is an adaptation of Vincent Bugliosi’s Four Days In November.

The film aims to provide a fresh examination of the event that rocked America. Here’s a selection of films that also portrayed famous assassinations.


Valkyrie details the failed attempt to assassinate Hitler. Had it succeeded, the events of World War II would have been very different. As it was, there were a few attempts on the Fuhrer’s life by men who recognised the damage that he was doing and wanted to end the atrocities carried out in his name.

Tom Cruise starred as Wehrmacht Colonel Claus von Stauffenberg, a war hero who’d lost a hand and an eye during an air raid in Tunisia, so is sent home, where he became a pivotal figure in the plot to assassinate Hitler. The casting of Cruise was a matter of some controversy thanks to the actor’s Scientology beliefs.

Initially a German Defence Ministry representative said that filming would not be allowed at various sites in the country if Cruise was playing von Stauffenberg because he is a Scientologist. Scientology is viewed as a dangerous cult in Germany and von Stauffenberg’s oldest child spoke out, saying that he hoped that Cruise would step down from the film, because otherwise ‘it’s bound to be rubbish.’ However, the Ministry later relented and filming was allowed to proceed as planned.

Although the film was praised for increasing awareness of an important part of German history, Cruise’s performance failed to impress critics and Germans in particular condemned his lack of charisma as a man who’d been able to inspire and rally notable German leaders. However, German critics did enjoy seeing one of their heroes featured in a major Hollywood motion picture.

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