Your opinions on the Oliver Stone films Nixon and JFK (open spoilers ok)

I know this thread is more about the film than the assination, but I let one of these go, I can’t let two:

I think both of these statements are major BS.

I’ve been there as have many people, and that shot is bordering on easy. I can’t believe for one moment that real shooters (snipers to boot) think otherwise.

  • That shot was only 200 to 250 feet away
  • Oswald was sitting, and was able to create a perfect base for himself and his gun
  • He was very familiar with this gun
  • The Kennedy limo was barely moving
  • The shooting angle was advantageous to Oswald and lessened the movement

This comes up in our office every once in a while (a military office). Almost no one that I know thinks that was a difficult shot.

Didn’t Mythbusters or someone recreate said scenario successfully?

Somehow I knew this thread would get here again. I think Penn &Teller did the recreation. Yeah, it’s actually not a difficult shot- the difficult part is reproducing the hits exactly, and that’s a pointless exercise anyway.

I saw a reenactment on Discovery (?) that made it look pretty do-able. Would the author/sniper have had any objections to the setup, equipment, conclusions, etc.?

What about the qualifications of the “experts” here?

Wikipedia says: “In 1967, Hathcock set the record for the longest sniper kill. He used an M2 .50 Cal Browning machine gun mounted with a telescopic sight at a range of 2,500 yd (2,286 m), killing a Vietcong guerrilla.[38]”

Dayum, that’s like 1.4 miles away! So if in fact Hathcock thought it couldn’t be done…but he died in 1999 so he’s not here to confirm or refute the author’s claim.

As for the author the amazon page says:

In 1987, former U.S. Marine Corps sniper Craig Roberts, a seasoned veteran of the Vietnam war, stood for the first time at the 6th floor of the Texas School Book Depository. As he looked down into that the U.S. Government maintains was the kill zone used by Lee Harvey Oswald, he knew immediately the the Warren Commission’s verdict that Oswald, acting alone from that position, fired three shots is 5.6 seconds with an ancient bolt-action rifle was a lie.

If Oswald, by himself, could not have done it, then who could? And why?
Follow Roberts’s investigation of six years into a shadow world of black operations into a level above the CIA, the KGB, the Mafia, Texas oil and others into a powerful organization that to them, to murder a head of a country anywhere is “business as usual.”

So he’s another guy with some experience. But granted, he’s also selling a book. He has half a dozen titles at Amazon, for what it’s worth. And here’s some documentary material, 47 seconds in, there’s the author.


I’m not really arguing with you, spifflog—I’m just saying there’s a lot of conflicting “evidence” out there.

No worries, good to have a nice calm discussion!

I think that many of the people that are qualified to comment on this seem to think that the big bad government can’t be trusted. And I also think that “we” used to examine the facts and then make a judgment on the question at hand. I think now “we” are just trying to affirm the belief that we have to begin with and fit the facts in as necessary. I think some of these shooting experts are doing just that.

Wait … Is this still Café Society?

I logged on to say that JFK is one of the best-made movies I’ve ever seen. I don’t know from Nixon or W, but I would definitely recommend JFK.

Yes, it’s a work of fiction. Yes, it bears no relationship to reality. No, I don’t believe a minute of it. But the performances — including a slew of surprising cameos — are all great, the direction is top-notch, and the editing is simply awe-inspiring.

I saw it when it was released, and then went back to the same theater the next day to watch it again … all 6 1/2 hours of it.

I’m prepared to believe whatever the evidence says. True if you’re predisposed one way or another, you can find “confirming” evidence and ignore the rest…it can’t all be right, though.

As films go it’s mostly suspenseful and all, but I think they got a lot of things wrong. If nothing else it caused files to be released.

JFK is packed with great performances but was more than “loose” with the facts. As history it is atrocious. Still, it is an actors showcase - even the minor parts are played by heavyweights. So just on that level, its something to see.

Nixon was much less epic, and while it was not grounded in historical sources in the same way that HBO’s John Adams (where much of the dialogue is lifted from primary source material), it is more believable. Nixon is a hard person to pin down - for some reason no actor can seem to get him right - but Anthony Hopkins captures his brooding, paranoid nature. There are also moments of relative empathy for Nixon, such as the scene depicting encounter he had with young protesters - by all accounts an event based on an actual meeting.

W seemed rushed as a film - it had a couple of good performances. But Thandie Newton - generally a strong actress - was unwatchable as Condoleeza Rice - she constantly looked like she just ingested a sour lemon.

Since this is about opinions…

I wouldn’t watch JFK if you tied me down and clamped my eyes open. Why bother with a “historical” film that’s pure bunkum? Nothing is true, so what’s the point? I can watch good acting and good directing in a movie that doesn’t insult its audience. To watch that film would lend support to a questionable filmmaker. (And NBK sucks, too.)

Opinion on the assassination, and 9/11:

If the mafia, the CIA, Big Oil, the KGB, the Vatican, whatever were all aligned to want to kill Kennedy, then why would they do it in such a manner that is an “obvious lie”? Why not just shoot him? Or blow him up? Or crash AF1? And if you secretly plant explosives in the WTC, why not just let the explosives be the reason the buildings fell? Why create an “obviously fake” plane flying scenario when everyone will believe planted explosives? IT ALREADY HAPPENED that way! And no one made a story about planes flying into the building in 1993.

Unless the conspiracy IS the point? Ah…wheels within wheels. A donut with a hole, and another donut with another hole inside!

I actually did watch the JFK movie once, before I knew much about the history it depicted. All I remember from it is “Back and to the left” and it making me question if there was a conspiracy. I don’t really think most viewers could just appreciate the cinematography. And I don’t support it, because its goal seems clearly to convince people of a conspiracy.

Nixon I’ve seen clips of that I found interesting, but never had any real desire to watch the whole thing. Based on the clips, it would get old fast if it lasted longer.

JFK was a crock of shit. Just a mishmash of every discredited conspiracy theory extant presented as history. I liked Nixon, as the man himself was pure evil, or at least what passed for pure evil until Chump came along, so I did not find it a caricature.

It’s not a mystery at all. He was a deeply corrupt and paranoid person and he was willing to take the country to the brink of constitutional crisis to stay in power.

This is the man who said “if the president does it, it’s not illegal.” There are echoes of Nixon in what we are going through today. The biggest difference is that back then the Republicans were in the minority and they eventually stopped supporting him.

It takes a unique talent to make a homophobic, discredited nut job like Jim Garrison into a hero. Let’s have dialogue that is 180 degrees the opposite of what happened. Clay Shaw never admitted to being Clay Bertrand (Garrison believed homosexuals never changed their first name when using aliases). Let’s film a scene where he does. Jack Ruby told Earl Warren there was no conspiracy to kill Lee Harvey Oswald. Guess what he says in the film. Stone can’t find a gun that gives off smoke like the conspiracy kooks say they saw in the grassy knoll. Let’s have a smoke making machine and a fan out of sight of the camera.

The episode of Quantum Leap where Sam leaps into the body of Lee Harvey Oswald was more accurate than “JFK”.

Garrison’s bizarre focus on and persecution of Clay Shaw never enters into the movie (Shaw is portrayed as a sinister figure rather than innocent victim).

Russo’s flaws were nothing compared to Charles Spiesel, whom Garrison put on the stand to testify about hearing a damning conversation between Shaw and David Ferrie during a New Orleans dinner party. Let’s just say that Spiesel’s reliability took a bit of a hit under cross-examination:

"Taken at face value, Spiesel’s testimony was devastating, until chief defense lawyer Irvin Dymond began questioning him. After raising doubts about whether Spiesel had ever actually seen Ferrie (a man of remarkably memorable appearance, with glued-on orange hair and huge, painted eyebrows), Dymond asked: “Isn’t it true you filed a suit with [New York] in 1964… claiming that over a period of several years the police and others had constantly hypnotized you and finally harassed you out of business?”

“That’s right,” Spiesel said, adding proudly that the suit was for $16 million. When asked how many different people had hypnotized him, Spiesel had to think for a moment: “It’s hard to say. Possibly fifty or sixty.”

With his next question Dymond drove a stake through the heart of the prosecution. “When you conferred with the District Attorney’s office about testifying in this case, did you tell them about these lawsuits and having been under hypnosis?”

Spiesel grinned: “Yes, I mentioned it.”

I don’t recall Oliver Stone’s portrayal of the trial as including the testimony of Spiesel and similar oddball characters Garrison called on.