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Parkland

4.0 out of 5 stars 629 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.

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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 (629 customer reviews)
  • ASIN: B00EO10IEE
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #6,054 in Movies & TV (See Top 100 in Movies & TV)

Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

By Paul Allaer TOP 500 REVIEWERVINE VOICE on October 8, 2013
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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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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The day I ran home from school crying and didn't even know why. The day news stopped being news in favor of sensationalism. Even though there are far more free people in this country than their were at that time we have lost something we can never retrieve, our innocence. That was the day news became entertainment and since then it has went down hill to the point that it can't be trusted. You may say I missed the point of the film and maybe so but that film that everyone had to get their hands on was the beginning of the end for factual news in this country. Whether this helps or not this was a hard movie for me to watch. The anger it brought out in me led to this. That it is how the movie mad me feel in between tears. To me a movie like this is about how it makes you feel and the emotions it brings forward. So in my opinion the acting and direction of this movie made me feel as though I was there and I don't know how you can do better than that 5 stars
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