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The Day of the Jackal
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Product Description

An assassin targets the president of france in this tense frederick forsyth thriller. Features production notes talent bios film highlights and trailers. Studio: Uni Dist Corp. (mca) Release Date: 06/01/2004 Starring: Edward Fox Alan Badel Run time: 143 minutes Rating: Pg

With its high-intensity plot about an attempt to assassinate French President Charles de Gaulle, the bestselling novel by Frederick Forsyth was a prime candidate for screen adaptation. Director Fred Zinnemann brought his veteran skills to bear on what has become a timeless classic of screen suspense. Not to be confused with the later remake The Jackal starring Bruce Willis (which shamelessly embraced all the bombast that Zinnemann so wisely avoided), this 1973 thriller opts for lethal elegance and low-key tenacity in the form of the Jackal, the suave assassin played with consummate British coolness by Edward Fox. He's a killer of the highest order, a master of disguise and international elusiveness, and this riveting film follows his path to de Gaulle with an intense, straightforward documentary style. Perhaps one of the last great films from a bygone age of pure, down-to-basics suspense (and a kind of debonair European alternative to the American grittiness of The French Connection), The Day of the Jackal is a cat-and-mouse thriller that keeps you on the edge of your seat until its brilliantly executed final scene (pardon the pun), by which time Fox has achieved cinematic immortality as one of the screen's most memorable killers. --Jeff Shannon

Customer Reviews:

  • English Thriller
    This is the original Jackal, before Bruce Willis & Richard Geere dualed each other to the death in the the high tech update, which I also think highly of & I rate it 4 stars. However the thoughtful steady pace of this movie excellently sets the mood of a high profile assination that may have grave consequences for the world order. The feeling of the planning & importance of this crime on both sides is never adapted to film better than in this movie. And w/ no major actors to idolize in this film, the story line just hums along like James Bond's Aston Martin; just a well oiled superbly constructed English work. Suspenseful & thrilling w/ no break in the suspense, or the story line....more info
  • Good movie
    I enjoyed the plot and scenary very well. If you like older spies movies were you actually have to think this is a good one. ...more info
  • Jackal
    No one can write like Frederick Forsythe. Get the book. DVD not as good as book....more info
  • Wow, this movie is unlike any root for the killer...
    You actually feel like you are watching a professional assassin, minute by minute, this movie is f*&king cool, man...movies don't get better than this, sorry, but this is definitely one of the great ones, ever......more info
  • A mostly terrific film
    This is a mostly terrific film with, IMO, some awful moments of acting/scripting/directing. It is one of my most-watched DVDs, but I am so annoyed at its handful of clumsy moments that I just can not give it five stars. I also really dislike the strutting, bantam-rooster style of star Edward Fox. I find him unconvincing and a little ridiculous in a lot of his dialogue. The film survives this because it is basically a lonely-hunter scenario in which Fox's deficiencies are not continuously on display.

    The film is niftily embedded in a real and fascinating historical moment to which it is very true. In fact, the remarkable, long, dialog-free opening sequence, which is a re-enactment of a real attempt on De Gaulle's life, is brilliant film-making for which Fred Zinnemann deserves high praise. And he was wise to stick close to the Forsyth novel, which is superb. Even though I will give him some hard shots in a moment, this film is remarkable for telling so much of this story cinematically and so thoroughly entertaining us while doing so. It is classic in its tautness, the steady build-up of tension, and the exciting climax.

    OTOH, there are moments of Fox's acting and dialog that are nothing short of embarrassing. His cocky personality and his joking about De Gaulle's security in his initial meeting with the OAS, were ridiculous. A little later, we need to know that the OAS has deposited the agreed-upon payment in the Jackal's Swiss bank account. Zinnemann has Fox shout into a telephone, "Hello Zurich...the money's been deposited?" The words on a webpage can not possibly do justice to how clumsy this moment is on the screen. And then we have Zinnemann needing to let us know that the Jackal has been working on his plan so we see Fox write three bullet points on a pad of paper -- "When / Where / How," or something on that order. Then Fox rubs his eyes with great weariness and switches off his light. It would have been more artful if a placard had just appeared like in the silent movies and said, "The Jackal makes his plan." Later, the Jackal chats up a woman in an inn. Let's just say he ain't no Sean Connery. Apparently, many people loved Fox's performance. Go figure.

    But criticisms notwithstanding, I watch this film over and over again. It is much too terrific a film to be ruined for me by a few moments where I wince....more info
  • The Military Conspiration
    Whatever you ask for a first class political thriller you will find in this excellent film. The Day of the Jackal is one of those uncommon movies that you are eager to see again, and again and again. Undoubtly a must-see film. ...more info
  • What code name will you use?...why not the Jackal
    What a great movie. We are taken right into the mind and steps of a hired assassin, Edward Fox, as he goes after Charles De Gaulle. Michael Lonsdale is the dectective, Lebel, who chases him right up to the finish. I love the line Lebel says when asked.."How did you know whose telephone to tap"...his reply.."I didn't so I tapped all of them". Hollywood needs to stop remaking movies and go back to school and learn how to make better this one....more info
    This movie has long been one of my favorites. The re-make of it was dreadful...not surprising because I don't know how this could be re-done to be smarter or better acted.
    The characters are well-drawn and the plot is excellent. It draws you along without a wasted moment. In the days of action without a thousand explosions, this one was in the TOP and keeps you involved until the last frame....more info
  • Funny, you dont sound like your from Holland...
    Synopsis: Assassin for hire code name "Jackal" takes a high paying, high risk job (the one that retires you) the target: French President Charles De Gaulle; Simple enough storyline, attached with a cat and mouse game.

    Although I'm normally very good at separating novel from film adaptation I'm not sure how I can in this case. The movie is pretty faithful to book. The book a top 5 in its genre all time must be read by genre lovers. The film does its best to stress the detailed competency and professionalism of both the Jackal and Head Investigator Lebel (although the Jackal is represented better in the film than the inspector is) but somewhat fails as I read the reviews of genre lovers who don't rate this film highly.

    I rate this film 4 stars not so much because it is a 4 star movie, but because the lack of quality ones in the genre. Problems: its sometimes clumsy editing, low sound quality (DVD problem though), and the lack of actor's Edward Fox (as the Jackal) ability to shift his accent (English all the way through). I couldn't believe that he was none of the nationalities he feinted (the book doesn't make this mistake). Pick an actor that can play the part entirely, I ask. Also the tension of Lebel with the govt. committee he reports to is not portrayed well at all! You barely get the sense of urgency and desperation in the old men at the table; or the tact, internal personal/professional pressure of Inspector Lebel. Highlights: 2 red heads w/frontal nudity, lack of gratuitous blood and violence (off scene).

    I rate movies by their genre. Although this is a classic and I recommend it to any lover of this genre there are better political intrigue/ suspense films out there or equal to. Hate to say it but if you want it right, read the book....also the ending scene is 1000% portrayed better.
    ...more info
  • 5 Stars for the FILM, 1 Star for the DVD
    Of course the movie deserves 4 stars, however I wish I could say the same for the DVD. What does it take for DVD company to release each DVD enhanced for 16x9 TVs? Nothing!

    Recently I bought a SONY BRAVIA 32 INCH display and I have a collection of over 600 Dvds. I learned now about "Enhanced for 16x9 TVs" and how important it is, I did not care about it or even know about it since I own a standard TV, however all my Dvds are Region 1 and in widescreen, I never buy fullscreen Dvds. So I did an inventory on my collection and realized the following:

    Out of 600+ Dvds, 42 are NOT enhanced for 16x9 TVs and they really look horrible when I played them on my PC. Anyway, according to my inventory.
    THE FOLLOWING MOVIES / COMPANY HAVE FAILED TO PRODUCE ANAMORPHIC OR 16X9 WIDESCREEN and I hope that these company will release them in the near future so that we can enjoy them on our TVs.


    Runaway Train
    No Way Out
    Prizzi's Honor
    Shallow Grave
    House Of Games
    Dead Man Walking
    The Eye Of The Needle


    Private Parts
    48 Hrs
    Coming To America
    Primal Fear
    The Ghost And The Darkness


    Day Of The Jackal
    The Game


    Raising Arizona
    The Edge
    Great Expectations
    Rising Sun
    The Ref
    Romancing The Stone
    The Jewel Of The Nile


    House Of The Spirits
    The Last Seduction
    The Last Emperor
    The Eagle Has Landed



    What About Bob?



    91/2 Weeks
    Presumed Innocent


    The reason why they don't release every DVD in widescreen enhanced for 16x9 is beyond me since soon Widescreen Tvs will replace standard ones.

    ...more info
  • Edward Fox: the Original Terminator...
    Edward Fox: the Original Terminator...

    It's an old adage in fiction: there are no new stories, only well re-told ones. One can see this in 1973's The Day of the Jackal wherein the suave Edward Fox is the original Terminator rising from each setback to ruthlessly continue his terminator mission.

    I don't usually review films because so many other people do and there may or may not be little left to say. However, sometimes a truly quality work of cinematographic art moves me to emphatically share with others its excellence: this is the case with The Day of the Jackal.

    Now, probably most viewers will have seen this old chestnut on commercial TV interspersed with infinite advertisements, sliced and diced to atomic particles. That is NOT the way to see this film, for this is an extremely well-made film the fine editing of which is lost on commercial TV.

    This was one of the first films to portray simultaneous multiple story lines. As mentioned, the editing is excellent. The set designs and especially the cityscapes of Paris, London, and Genoa are superb.
    It's also very interesting to see the re-creation of the early-1960s time-frame.

    Nominally a "political thriller," actually the plot has two main facets: (1) a detective story, and (2) the portrayal of the "Terminator." And while the former is interesting, the latter of these is most fascinating with Edward Fox as the star of the show. Not a big man--but well built--the "belle laide" Fox is totally ripped with low body fat.
    It's fascinating to see him move through the motions of obtaining multiple identities, obtain and prepare the weapon, and plan the attack.
    Once in motion, his goal is inexorable. Unto the very end, when it looks like his own escape will be certainly impossible, he continues simply because he single-mindedly wants to achieve his goal.

    In the meantime, he shows himself to be utterly amoral and bisexual; along the way he murders four people with his bare hands; and he eludes an international dragnet of law-enforcement.

    The heterosexual scenes with the French aristocrat are not graphic but quite erotic; and the following scenes in the bath house and the Frenchman's flat are subtle but unmistakably gay. (The campy d¨¦cor of the Frenchman's flat is hilarious!)

    Fox's changes of disguise parallel the Terminator's morphing abilities.

    This is a very quiet film with little music, giving it a documentary ambiance and an high seriousness.
    Of course there are some glaring plot failures, but with quality fiction one must suspend disbelief and simply enjoy the story itself.

    This is really quite a quality film worthy of multiple viewings.

    Vive la France!
    Wilde (Special Edition)
    Tom & Viv
    The Bourne Ultimatum (Widescreen Edition)
    The Talented Mr. Ripley
    Saint Jack
    Last Tango in Paris
    Syriana (Widescreen Edition)
    Vincent & Theo
    Traffik - Miniseries
    ....more info
  • Fascinating thriller
    If you are looking for action then this film is not for you. But if you are looking for an intelligent intriguing, suspense thriller then this is it. The story revolves around a killer code named Jackal, how he manages to get so close to his target the president of france... it is a constant battle between the french investigators and the Jackal.. ...more info
  • excuse me while i pick my jaw off the floor
    realistic thrills..this movie is amazing and must be seen...a new dvd transfer would be nice too...more info
  • One of the Greatest Movies Ever Made
    This film version of Fredrick Forsyth's best seller Day of the Jackal is incredible. Filmed on location in Europe, the story follows a French terrorist organization's (the OAS) plot to assassinate Charles DeGaulle following the French pullout from Algeria. The OAS had been dealt quite a blow following a previous attempt on DeGaulle's life and now its only option is to hire an international assassin played by Edward Fox.

    The storyline and the subtle ways the director shows the passage of time are marvelous. Edward Fox truley shows how cold and ruthless the Jackal is, and the methods he would go to get his ends.

    The modern version of this film (the Jackal starring Richard Gere) doesn't even come close to the cinnematic masterpiece that Director Fred Zinnemann presents in Day of the Jackal. This is one film that one can watch over and over, it is a true classic....more info
  • "Way Foxy"
    I read the book and I watched the movie. Both are phenomonal. We get to try to get inside the head of a professional assassin. Edward Fox pours himself into the mould of this weasel-like character. We are amazed at his precision planning and deft skill. His coldness--like he is working in a factory or something, and not about to murder someone. We wonder--who all HAS he professionally executed? What does his resume look like? The tension and excitement is kept at fever pitch throughout this political thriller. Most entertaining in every aspect....more info
  • A timeless thriller
    An extremely intelligent thriller that keeps viewers on the edge of their seats all throughout, this classic from Hollywood veteran Fred Zinnemann works wonderfully well despite the fact that its outcome is known from the very beginning.

    After all, everyone knows French President Charles de Gaulle wasn't assassinated. The trick, then, is the careful manner in which Zinnemann unfolds the tale of an attempt to assassinate the legendary politician, taking his audience on a breathless ride across scenic locales in Europe, including Genoa, Vienna and the etherally beautiful city of Paris.

    I am writing this review after viewing the movie for the umpteenth time, and I just realised that it grows better with each viewing.

    Forsaking explosive action for an intelligent pacing and clever script that sticks closely to Frederick Forsyth's bestselling novel (in my humble opinion, one of the strongest points about this movie), Zinnemann uses a cast of solid British and French actors as he brings to the screen, almost in a documentary fashion, the race by police across Europe to nab the canny and suave hitman Jackal (Edward Fox).

    Juxtaposed with this is the Jackal's devious and meticulous preparations for the hit. Zinnemann's ability to get under the skin of his characters is one of the film's many strengths, and the film's documentary style has often been emulated, but never as successfully.

    The gorgeous cinematography and sound design are two of the other strengths of this film, but they aren't very well served by the non-anamorphic video and standard two channel Dolby soundtrack of the DVD. There is, however, an excellent text supplement documenting the making of the film. It presents many worthy tidbits, such as the surprising fact that "The Day Of The Jackal" marked Zinnemann's return to the screen after a rather long hiatus.

    They just don't make films like this any more. This one is definitely a keeper....more info
    This political thriller, based on the novel by Frederick Forsyth, begins with a failed assassination attempt by the OAS, an organization angered by President DeGaulle's liberation of Algeria. They realize they are now under intense surveillance by French security and intelligence and must go outside France to hire a professional killer. His code name becomes Jackal. When the French kidnap and torture a member of the OAS, they get the word 'jackal' out of him before he dies. With that slim clue and Investigator Lebel they go to work to track down this apparent assassin. The film runs two parallel tracks between the French security forces and The Jackal, who always seems to be one step ahead. While the film covers in great detail the plans of The Jackal to carry out the perfect plot and the painstaking intelligence work on the part of the French government (before computers and cell phones), it never seems to bog down or be boring. It keeps you on the edge of your seat, building to the climactic 'Day of the Jackal' when DeGaulle is to be assassinated. You don't have to suspend logic to believe this film. It is based on the cleverness and genius of the assassin as well as the intuition and perseverance of Investigator Lebel. Both are obsessed with their jobs and are up to the challenge. A top notch thriller. Roger Ebert calls it 'spellbinding'. [...]...more info
  • Great price and an excellent spy thriller
    This is a great thriller. After the opening scene, it was a tad slow, but picked up much better at a great pace/flow. Characters were enjoyable; the Jackal and his disguises are really cool. It is basically an attempt to kill the president type of story. Ultimately, I found the pace and atmosphere to my liking, having seen a few similar movies. I have watched this 2 times now and really enjoy the pace, story and acting. If you like films of this sort you will enjoy this one. If you read the other reviews you know the story. If you have never seen it I would say but it as it is only 7.00 new....and give it a shot.....more info
  • New Edition Needed
    One of the rare films that surpasses the book it is based on. This classic thriller desperately needs to be issued in a special edition. There are brief sequences in the movie that are missing in the DVD. Notably the scene when the Jackal goes up the stairs in the Austrian hotel, and back down to the lobby when he notices the bodyguard hiding in the landing. In addition we need some special features: the making of the film, historical background to the story and a biography of Fred Zinneman.

    when so many inferior movies have DVDs repackaged and reissued in every way possible, it is unbelievable that this ultimate political thriller should be neglected. ...more info
  • Terrific espionage thriller in an abadoned style
    A great example of 60s and 70s espionage films. Today's films - even the good ones - favor an action movie format rather than slow deliberate build of the cold war films. In this one, the main character is clearly a bad guy, but the story is told matter-of-factly from his point of view while the viewer is forced to go along for the ride....more info
  • great story with exceptional (and little known) actors
    This is an action film based on exceptional character actors. You have Edward Fox as the Jackal, a clever yet sociopathic assassin, who is pursuing his craft with the perfection of a machine (or an economist); he seduces men and women to further his for-hire scheme, and uses an underground network of nationalist fanatics (wanting to keep Algeria as part of France) to coldly pursue his goal of killing de Gaulle. Then there is the cop, Alan Badel, a wonderful French actor whom many might recognize in the states; he is homely, yet just as focused and professional as the assassin. They play a cat and mouse game, where some luck is involved but mostly technique and inspired intuition. Throughout, the tension is maintained at a consistent clip, and every single detail is quirky, believable, and realistic - that is storytelling as its best.

    It adds up to a great film, with plenty of humor, often dark, thrown in. A true masterpiece....more info
    The Day of the Jackal
    The Jackal is the code name of a hired killer, Edward Fox, who's asked by rival French General's to assassinate, General Charles de Gaulle. British and French Police, combine to thwart the attempt, about which they no nothing, except that it's imminent. The script by Kenneth Ross is even better than the novel. Edward Fox performs, excellently, much better than Bruce Willis in the latest version, maintining a difficult role, well over a long film. Others in the cast are as cold and calculating as the killer, whose preparations for the crime are intercut with the massive man-hunt, launched to get him, before he gets, de Gaulle. The final race against time, is expertly filmed and edited....more info
  • Finest of the Genre
    For those of you, out there, who believe a 'plausible action film' is an impossibility, see this. It is almost perfect in its casting, acting, scripting, editing, directing, and scoring.

    Not as good as the book? What cinematic edifice can withstand the winds of your imagination?

    "Masterpiece" is an overused term in this culture. This film comes close....more info
  • Those Whacky French
    I've always enjoyed Forsyth's books, particularly "The Odessa File". This movie is a classic, but I hadn't seen it in a while. I was amused to go back to it after all of these years and catch some ridiculous errors that would not fly in this day and age. People being killed by a single karate chop, a women being strangled to death in about 3 seconds with no struggle...and why did all of these French characters have English accents? Never the less, it still is a great story and an enjoyable movie that gives insight into a post-war / cold-war Europe of which modern Americans have little understanding. ...more info
  • Lean, Clean, Mean
    There's hardly any spare flesh on The Jackal. Ars est celare artem --- the art is to hide the artistry. This is a rattling good yarn, superbly told, no messing; and there's infinitely more art in it than in any of those flicks that scream ART at you. Suspense is not a matter of not knowing the outcome, but in watching the net tighten, and waiting to see just how close the Jackal can get to his target. The structure is V shaped: a very wide gap to start with, growing narrower by the hour, until the two tracks finally converge to a point: a bullet-point. The direction has a lot in common with Zinnemann's other masterpiece, High Noon, where, in effect, we are also assured of the outcome. In HN the ticking clocks are prominent, in DOTJ there are more of them, but they're not so obvious. In one film it's the good man against the rest; in the other it's the bad man against the rest. Where I come from, we root for the underdog, regardless. Why did the Jackal fail, and what was his tragic flaw? Ice-cold as he may have seemed, he got emotional. The key moment comes just after he's told his cover is blown. He can either pull away, and turn off back to Italy, when the roads fork, and wait for another day. Or he can carry on to Paris. He lets emotion get the upper hand, and carries on to Paris, which is not the sensible decision for a wise percentage player.

    After watching the action repeatedly, a number of blips in continuity become apparent, and several of these are noted elsewhere. There seem to be quite a number of cuts. Like, maybe he did kill Cusack after taking delivery of the custom-tailored gun. This would have eroded viewer sympathy too drastically and too early, whereas nobody gives a damn for the slimy, blackmailing photographer. How did the Jackal suddenly produce a spray-gun filled with blue paint? What happened to the barking Alsatian dog, after the car crash? Does it matter? Less is more, and explanations can be sacrificed for the sake of the pacing. Zinnemann has this great sense of what will work, what is necessary and what isn't, and how to be economical and cost-effective. I could go on. This is a film review, not a book review, which is something entirely different....more info
  • The Day of the Jackal
    Director Zinnemann brings Frederick Forsyth's bestseller to vivid life, weaving this dense, suspenseful yarn towards a breathtaking climax. Conveying a cunning and colorless anonymity, Fox is perfectly cast as The Jackal, and the intrepid, dog-faced Lonsdale is equally compelling as his dogged hunter. ...more info
  • The day of the Jackal
    This video is excellent! It is as close as possible to the book,without it going over 4 hrs in length.Keeps you at the edge of your seat,wondering if the Jackal will forfill his contract or take the money and run!Outstanding!...more info