Executive Action

Executive Action

4.5 2
Director: David Miller

Cast: Burt Lancaster, Robert Ryan, Will Geer

     
 

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If you think that Oliver Stone invented the "political paranoia" movie, take a glance at Executive Action sometime. Based on Mark Lane's Rush to Judgment, the conspiracy theorist's bible, Executive Action perpetuates the popular urban legend that John F. Kennedy was assassinated at the behest of a right-wing cartel with military and industrialSee more details below

Overview

If you think that Oliver Stone invented the "political paranoia" movie, take a glance at Executive Action sometime. Based on Mark Lane's Rush to Judgment, the conspiracy theorist's bible, Executive Action perpetuates the popular urban legend that John F. Kennedy was assassinated at the behest of a right-wing cartel with military and industrial interests. The film further hypothesizes that Lee Harvey Oswald not only didn't pull the trigger, but was also set up as a disposable dupe (this notion wasn't even new in 1973). Burt Lancaster, Robert Ryan and Will Geer play the sinister conspirators. In the film's coda, still photos of 18 witnesses to the assassination are shown, while the accompanying text informs us that all of these people had died between 1963 and 1973. We are further told that the odds against this coincidence are one in a trillion. When Oliver Stone's thematically similar JFK came out in 1991, viewers with long memories were quick to notice the eerie similarities between the Stone film and Executive Action -- right down to choice of camera angles. Hmmm....a conspiracy, perhaps?

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Editorial Reviews

All Movie Guide
A few decades before Oliver Stone made JFK, this taut thriller was the first picture to explore a conspiracy theory premise about the assassination of John F. Kennedy. The end result holds up surprisingly well. Executive Action remains compelling today because it is a very carefully assembled piece of work. Dalton Trumbo's script features many players and a lot of assassination-based theorizing but it never becomes confusing because he focuses its many elements around a line of reasoning that drives the proposed conspiracy and takes a breathless, "just the facts" approach to his storytelling. Burt Lancaster, Robert Ryan and Will Geer all do an excellent job of providing faces for the various facets of this line of reasoning: Lancaster brings both the smarts and the intensity one would expect to his role while Ryan adds a weary, thoughtful note to his conspiratorial role and Geer is amusing as a sly, reluctant (but ultimately convinced) conspirator. Finally, the film is held together by David Miller's tidy direction: he gives the viewer plenty of visual stimulus, deftly crosscutting his narrative with newsreel footage (both real and re-created), and maintaining a taut pace that keeps the viewer involved from start to finish. To sum up, Executive Action is smart and engaging film that is worth seeing for anyone interested in intelligent political-minded thrillers.

Product Details

Release Date:
10/23/2007
UPC:
0085391177470
Original Release:
1973
Rating:
PG
Source:
Warner Home Video
Region Code:
1
Presentation:
[Wide Screen]
Time:
1:31:00
Sales rank:
13,133

Special Features

Vintage featurette November 22, 1963: In Search of an Answer; Burt Lancast trailer gallery

Cast & Crew

Performance Credits
Burt Lancaster Farrington
Robert Ryan Foster
Will Geer Ferguson
Gilbert Green Paulitz
John Anderson Halliday
Deanna Darrin Stripper
James MacColl Oswald Imposter
Paul Carr Gunman Chris
John Brascia Riflemen Team B
Lee Delano Gunmen Team A
Ed Kemmer Actor
Ed Lauter Operation Chief Team A
Colby Chester Tim
Walter Brooke Smythe
Richard Bull Gunman-Team A
Sidney Clute Depository Clerk
Lloyd Gough McCadden
Robert Karnes Man At Rifle Range
Joaquin Martinez Art Mendoza
Dick Miller Rifleman-Team B
Tom Peters Sergeant
Paul Sorenson Officer Brown
Sandy Ward Policeman
Hunter Von Leer Rifleman-Team B
Richard D. Hurst Used Car Salesman
William Watson Technician-Team B

Technical Credits
David Miller Director
Kirk Axtell Art Director
Dan Bessie Co-producer
Bruce Bisenz Sound/Sound Designer
Randy Edelman Score Composer
Edward Lewis Producer
George Grenville Editor
Gary Horwitz Co-producer
Irving Lerner Editor
Robert Steadman Cinematographer
Dalton Trumbo Screenwriter

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