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The Day of the Jackal


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Product Details

  • Actors: Edward Fox, Terence Alexander, Michael Auclair, Alan Badel, Tony Britton
  • Directors: Fred Zinnemann
  • Writers: Kenneth Ross
  • Producers: John Woolf
  • Format: Multiple Formats, Closed-captioned, Color, Letterboxed, NTSC, Widescreen
  • Language: English (Dolby Digital 2.0 Mono)
  • Subtitles: English, Spanish, French
  • Region: Region 1 (U.S. and Canada only. Read more about DVD formats.)
  • Aspect Ratio: 1.85:1
  • Number of discs: 1
  • Rated: PG (Parental Guidance Suggested)
  • Studio: Universal Studios
  • DVD Release Date: April 29, 1998
  • Run Time: 143 minutes
  • Average Customer Review: 4.7 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (336 customer reviews)
  • ASIN: 0783226853
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #18,045 in Movies & TV (See Top 100 in Movies & TV)
  • Learn more about "The Day of the Jackal" on IMDb

Special Features

  • Production Notes
  • Cast and Filmmakers
  • Theatrical Trailer

  • Editorial Reviews

    Product Description

    Based on Frederick Forsyth's best-selling novel of political intrigue, The Day of the Jackal, tells of a cold, suave British assassin hired by the French OAS to kill General Charles de Gaulle. Nameless and faceless, the killer, known by the code name of Jackal (Edward Fox), relentlessly moves toward the date with death that would rock the world. The tension mounts as the methodical preparations of the Jackal are paralleled with the efforts of the police to uncover the plot, which gives the story non-stop, edge-of-your-seat suspense.

    Amazon.com

    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

    This is one of the best movies ever made.
    Larry Scantlebury
    The screenplay and the direction seem to show the same sense of urgency and focus within the plot, that the characters display in their own objectives.
    Ashwin
    Fox, a bookish looking and unsuspecting assassin was nonetheless a formidable foe for investigating French authorities.
    Cory D. Slipman

    Most Helpful Customer Reviews

    200 of 203 people found the following review helpful By David J. Chmiel on December 7, 2003
    Format: DVD
    Rarely does a movie do justice to a book, but Fred Zinneman's production of "The Day of the Jackal" is wonderful adaptation of Frederick Forsyth's novel which, I continue to believe, is one of the greatest thrillers ever written.
    It's hard to put a finger on what exactly makes this film great: excellent performances by relatively unknown actors, a wonderful plot, fantastic location shooting or a complete desire to avoid the bells and whistles, special effects laden movies that are all that makes up the "suspense" genre of films these days. Like other reviewers have said, be this the first or the fiftieth time that you watch this film, you will be left on the edge of your seat with its "cat and mouse" plot of the search for a lone assassin hired to murder President De Gaulle. The young Edward Fox is brilliant in the title role and the supporting cast excellent.
    If anything, this film proves that you do not need big named stars, explosions around every corner or computer generated effects to make a fantastic film. The only downside to watching this film is that you realise that the movie industry just does not make films like this any more.
    Highly, highly recommended.
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    58 of 60 people found the following review helpful By Robert Morris HALL OF FAMETOP 500 REVIEWERVINE VOICE on December 9, 2003
    Format: DVD
    Years before the U.S.'s controversial involvement in South Viet Nam, France struggled and eventually failed to sustain its own involvement in Algeria. Many of its senior officers felt betrayed by their government. Efforts to assassinate President De Gaulle failed. Frederick Forsyth had this in mind when writing the novel on which this film is based. At substantial cost, an assassin known only as "The Jackal" is retained by dissidents to succeed where others had failed. There are two separate but related plots: one focuses on the assassin's meticulous preparations; the other on Inspector Lebel's equally thorough efforts to identify, locate, and capture him. Of special interest to me is director Fred Zinnemann's decision to tell the story (as does Forsyth) in a straightforward manner, without any special effects or gratuitous violence. He presents Lebel (Michael Lonsdale) and The Jackal (Edward Fox) as highly skilled professionals. Each fully understands what he must do and how to do it. True, both receive assistance from others along the way but they nonetheless remain in complete control until their ultimate confrontation.

    Although some have referred to this film as a "political thriller," there is an almost total absence of politics within its narrative. Although his client has specified Charles DeGaulle, The Jackal would kill anyone for the right price. Moreover, there is absolutely no indication of Lebel having any political loyalties or even personal opinions. He is a public official doing his job, no matter who is in danger. For some, I guess, this film is a thriller. It certainly has a number of exciting moments but I, for one, never had any doubt that Lebel would eventually prevail.
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    60 of 63 people found the following review helpful By Deborah MacGillivray HALL OF FAMEVINE VOICE on November 25, 2003
    Format: DVD
    Well, up front...I am an Edward Fox fan. Have been since he lumbered around in the 1966 FROZEN DEAD as Nazi Popcicle #3. Hey, he was one super fozen dead!! He had several good roles in next few years, but really stood out as Ian McShane's fellow flyer in THE BATTLE OF BRITAIN. They stole the show in a cast of super Brits - Lord Larry, Michael Caine, Ralph Richardson and Robert Shaw, just to name a few - firmly setting their star potential. But Edward really carved his chunk of attention for the role as the Jackal in the 1973 DAY OF THE JACKAL.
    The film is a tight production, nearly boarding on documentary. Edward portrays the meticulous hitman of many disguises who has been hired to assassinate Charles de Gaulle. Based on the spy novel from Frederick Forsyth, director Fred Zinnermann focuses on the French detectives racing to track down the elusive Jackal before it's too late, and well as the dispassionate, professional preparations by Fox. But you are in two minds, actually. Fox is so winning in the performance, fleshing out the Jackal just not as a coldblooded killer, but as a man, so you oddly almost root for him to succeed, at the same time cheering for him to fail.
    With the marvellous supporting cast of Derek Jacobi, Alan Badel, Maurice Denham, Cyril Cusack, the faced paced script by Kenneth Ross (Breaker Morant) keeps you absorbed from beginning to end.
    Thanks awfully, Edward!!
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    20 of 21 people found the following review helpful By dsrussell VINE VOICE on June 29, 1999
    Format: VHS Tape
    "The Day of the Jackel" not to be confused with the inferior remake "The Jackel", is a marvelous character study of the coldest, coolest, most illusive and highly skilled assassin ever brought to the silver screen. With a superior cast headed by Edward Fox, and an outstanding script, this movie plunges the viewer in a riveting cat-and-mouse manhunt.
    No, this movie doesn't have explosions and car chases, but what it does have is intelligence and suspense. The tension builds wonderfully as the Jackel, a man of brilliant disguises, nears his prey (Charles de Gaulle) with the intrepid constable a step behind.
    Rent it or buy it, but for heaven sakes, see it! Between 1 and 10, "The Day of the Jackel" gets a 10.
    As far as the remake, "The Jackel", in and of itself, it isn't really a bad film, it has just been modernized and adulterated with gadgets in lieu of a believable script.
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