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4 out of 5 stars 538 customer reviews

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Editorial Reviews

Product Description

November 22nd, 1963 was a day that changed the world forever – when young American President John F. Kennedy was assassinated in Dallas, Texas. We follow in almost real time a handful of individuals forced to make split-second decisions after this incomprehensible event that would change their lives and forever alter our world’s landscape: the young doctors and nurses at Parkland Hospital, the chief of the Dallas Secret Service, the unwitting cameraman who captured what has become the most watched and examined film in history, the FBI Agents who had gunman Lee Harvey Oswald within their grasp and Vice President Lyndon Johnson who had to take control of a country in a moment’s notice. Thrust into a scenario of unprecedented drama with unimaginable consequences, these key characters respond with shock, outrage, determination and courage. Woven together, their seemingly disparate perspectives make one of the most thrilling and powerful stories never told. From producers Tom Hanks and Gary Goetzman and writer/director Peter Landesman, Parkland is the true story behind a tragic day in history you thought you knew, but didn’t, and couldn’t, until now… 50 years later.


The assassination of President John F. Kennedy has inspired a mountain of speculative dissections and re-creations, most notably Oliver Stone's propulsive conspiracy grab-bag JFK. The measured Parkland serves as a polar opposite to Stone's earlier historical frenzy, delivering an admirably clear-eyed look at the events that occurred. Taking its title from the Dallas county hospital, it downplays the How and Why in favor of the actual What, detailing the bystanders and onlookers whose lives were forever changed on 11/22/63. Inspired by Vincent Bugliosi's book Reclaiming History, writer-director Peter Landesman begins with the chaos of Dealey Plaza and then expands outward, assuming the viewpoints of those caught in the traumatic wake, including the determined hospital workers (Zac Efron and Marcia Gay Harden), an amateur photographer (Paul Giamatti as a terrifically twitchy Abraham Zapruder), and a dogged FBI agent (Ron Livingston) haunted by his prior knowledge of the assassin's identity. Landesman, a former journalist making his directorial debut, does a commendable job in juggling the multiple characters, although the sheer amount of information on display does admittedly give the film a dry, procedural air at times. (Thank goodness for Billy Bob Thornton, as Secret Service Agent Forrest Sorrels, who kicks things back into high gear with a rousing, ear-popping outburst.) Historical fidelity aside, the best reason to see Parkland belongs to the great character actor James Badge Dale, who gives a devastatingly naturalistic performance as Lee Harvey Oswald's brother Robert, an ordinary man all too aware of the catastrophic events unfolding around him. He can see the future, and his family's place in it. --Andrew Wright

Product Details

  • Actors: Zac Efron, Marcia Gay Harden, Paul Giamatti, Billy Bob Thornton, Jacki Weaver
  • Directors: Peter Landesman
  • Format: Multiple Formats, Color, NTSC, Widescreen
  • Language: English
  • Subtitles: Spanish
  • Region: Region 1 (U.S. and Canada only. Read more about DVD formats.)
  • Number of discs: 1
  • Rated: PG-13 (Parents Strongly Cautioned)
  • Studio: Millennium
  • DVD Release Date: November 5, 2013
  • Run Time: 87 minutes
  • Average Customer Review: 4.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (538 customer reviews)
  • ASIN: B00EO10IEE
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #11,292 in Movies & TV (See Top 100 in Movies & TV)

Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

Format: DVD
"Parkland" (2013 release; 93 min.) brings the story of the events surrounding John F. Kennedy's assassination in Dallas on November 22, 1963. The movie doesn't waste any time and in the initial scenes we get to briefly meet the various players who'd become intimately involved in the events of that day: the Secret Service guys, the FBI guys, the accidental witnesses to the assassination, the doctors and nurses at Parkland Memorial Hospital, and of course the President and his immediate entourage. The initial 15 min. or so of the movie make ample use of the archive footage that exists from JFK's visit to Forth Worth and Dallas. After being shot, the President is taken to Parkland, where a young doctor (played by Zac Efron) at first is overwhelmed with the task at hand, and then gives his all in trying to save the President's life. A couple of major story lines eventually emerge: Abraham Zapruder (played by Paul Giamatti) films the entire sequence of events with his new 8 mm camera, and quickly gets inundated by the media to get that footage; even more interesting for me is the story line involving Robert Oswald, brother of Lee Harvey, dealing with the fall-out of being associated with/family of the killer of the US President.

Couple of comments: next month marks the 50th commemoration of JFK's assassination and while we all know pretty much what happens, this movie does shed some interesting perspectives on what happened immediately after the assassination, including at Parkland. Other than the (sporadic) scenes with Zac Efron, Paul Giamatti or Billy Bob Thornton (as the head of the Dallas Secret Service), the cast is made up of unknowns (for me anyway), and that plays out very well as it gives a more authentic feel to the movie.
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"Parkland," released shortly in advance of the 50th anniversary of the assassination of JFK (whose White House codename was "Lancer"), is a depiction of the events in Dallas surrounding the shooting, based upon Vincent Bugliosi's book "Four Days In November." That book was in turn taken from the factual background portion of Bugliosi's much longer book that argued Lee Harvey Oswald acted alone in the assassination. So going in, this is a work that is based on the known facts of the assassination, without getting into any of the conspiracy theories. (If you want to see a movie drenched in that topic, watch Oliver Stone's "JFK" instead). Leaving aside "JFK" and the various TV documentaries and miniseries, I don't think there has been a straightforward major movie depiction of the events in Dallas like this before. While movie critics have not been enthusiastic about "Parkland," I thought that it was very good, even if there are portions of it that could have been better.

The movie is mainly focused on some of the surrounding characters, such as the doctors and staff at Parkland hospital in Dallas (where both JFK and Oswald were taken after being shot), Abraham Zapruder (who famously filmed the shooting of JFK), Forrest Sorrels (the local secret service agent in Dallas), and Oswald's brother and mother. For the most part, the actors all do a very good job and the film is well done, with some historical TV clips included to help move the narrative along and set the proper context. Billy Bob Thornton, as Forrest Sorrels, and the actor portraying Oswald's brother Robert in particular turn in fine performances.
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Format: DVD
Having recently watched a small handful of documentaries recounting the known facts and some of the ardent speculation relating to the JFK assassination, I went into Parkland not really knowing what to expect, but I was mostly pleased with the film's dedication to depicting most of the known facts in a non-political fashion. Being familiar with some of the facts, I can say that, largely, they do a pretty solid job, though the take some modest liberties in order to present some moments a bit more dramatically for a theatrical audience; still these are small details that don't amount to historical revisionism so much as they are creative choices -- when you only have two hours to explore the details, you do have some limitations. If anything, I'd have to say some of the portrayals may've been a bit too dry (Billy Bob has only a handful of scenes, and its hard to sense any real grounding for his character, though he has one nice shouting moment that underscores an intense dedication to duty and service). If anything, Parkland will make you long for investigating these events even more, as the limitations of a theatrical release do hold the story back in some aspects. HIGHLY RECOMMENDED.
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PARKLAND (2013) is an inside look at the JFK assassination that shows scenes and examines lives never before represented in a motion picture. It opens mere minutes before the Kennedy limo turns onto Elm St. We see Abe Zapruder (Paul Giamatti) and his secretary cross the street to a platform near the grassy knoll. Abe's viewpoint was 30 yards distant from where the kill shot got JFK. He was a wreck from this traumatic experience and never fully recovered. Referring to JFK, Zapruder told a persistent newspaperman that "his head just flew to pieces."

Soon after, Zapruder's surrounded by agents, including the chief of Dallas Secret Service (Billy Bob Thornton) who flat out demands the film in his 8mm Bell & Howell camera, Instead, Abe and several agents went from lab to TV station trying to find someone to develop the film.

Meanwhile, the dark blue limo has arrived at Parkland at 12:45 pm, five minutes after the shooting. We see JFK placed on a stretcher and whyeeled into an emergency room that immediately was overcrowded with doctors, nurses and JFK's entourage. Every step of their fruitless efforts to keep him alive is shown. Jackie wandewrs in, totally spattered with blood. She hands head nurse Marcia Gay Harden something. We're told it's a piece of skull and brains. Jackie moves to a corner, kneels and prays as last ditch heart massage is about to fail. The nurse goes to her locker and retrieves a large wooden crucifix. She hands it to Father Huber, who's administering last rites on the president's remains. He lays the cross on the chest. Later, after the interior of Air Force One is torn away to accomodate JFK's bronze casket, this crucifix is placed on it.

The detail throughout is just remarkable.
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Topic From this Discussion
Idiotic mistake just before credits roll
I agree. Makes no sense!?
Jan 29, 2014 by Sapara |  See all 3 posts
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