The Day of the Jackal

Synopsis: It is the early 60s in France. The remaining survivors of the aborted French Foreign Legion have made repeated attempts to kill DeGaulle. The result is that he is the most closely guarded man in the world. As a desperate act, they hire The Jackal, the code name for a hired killer who agrees to kill French President De Gaulle for half a million dollars. We watch his preparations which are so thorough we wonder how he could possibly fail even as we watch the French police attempt to pick up his trail. The situation is historically accurate. There were many such attempts and the film closely follows the plot of the book.
Genre: Crime, Drama, Thriller
Director(s): Fred Zinnemann
Production: Universal Pictures
  Nominated for 1 Oscar. Another 1 win & 10 nominations.
Rotten Tomatoes:
143 min

August, 1962,

was a stormy time for France.

Many people felt that

President Charles de Gaulle...

...had betrayed the country

by giving independence to Algeria.


mostly from the army...

...swore to kill him in revenge.

They banded together

in an underground movement...

...and called themselves the OAS.

The minister's meeting is over.

They are very late.

The time elapsed from the first

to the last shot was seven seconds.

In all,

more than 140 shots were fired.

Several bullets pierced the president's car.

One came within an inch of his head.

But, as if by a miracle, neither

he nor anyone else was hurt.

Six months later..

Most of the conspirators

have been caught and tried.

Their leader, Col. Bastien-Thiry,

has been sentenced to death.

At the last moment, his lawyer

tries for a stay of execution.

The appeal for clemency

has been turned down.

There is nothing more one can do.

I am sorry.

- There is no need.

For heaven's sake, don't you

realize you're going to be shot?

You don't understand.

No French soldier is going

to raise his rifle against me.

Here is the 8..00 news

for today, March 11, 1963.

An hour ago, in the courtyard

of the Fort Efree, outside Paris...

Lieutenant Colonel Bastien-Thiry

was executed by firing squad...

...for leading the attempt on the life

of General de Gaulle last August.

The OAS now seems

completely demoralized... the splendid performance

of our national security forces.

Already it is known that the new

chief of operations of the OAS...

Colonel Mark Rodin, a former

paratroop commander in Algeria... on the run

and hiding somewhere in Austria.

Today's execution must surely mean

that the OAS is finished...

...once and for all.

What are the finances like, Rene?

No wonder our people are giving up.

They've lost faith.

We've failed them every single time.

We won't fail again.

- What can we do?

We're paralyzed.

- Every cop in France knows us.

Informants are all around us.

- We must find a foreigner.

A foreigner? Why?

- A contract killer.

One that hasn't worked in France

won't have a police record.

He can come and go as he pleases.

- That sort of person costs money.


I'll find the right man.

They were going to meet again

in three months in Vienna.

In the pension you both know..

Pension Kleist. June 15.

It's a limited market.

I've compiled 11 dossiers

over the last three months.

Only those four men

seemed anywhere near right.

Now that you've read the files,

what do you think?

One Englishman did all these jobs?

- I don't believe it.

It's true.

- He did that fellow in the Congo?

And Trujillo?

- That's our man then, isn't it?

I should say so.

I'm glad you agree on the final choice.

Because he'll be here any moment.

- What?

He's arriving this afternoon from London.


A normal precaution,

you understand. Come in.

We are not terrorists,

you understand. We are patriots.

Our duty is to the soldiers

who died fighting in Algeria...

...and the three million Frenchmen

who have always lived there.

So you want to get rid of him?

Speaking as a professional,

do you think it's possible?

It's possible.

The point is getting away with it.

Speaking as a professional,

that's an important consideration.

But, in principle,

you'd say it could be done?

Yes. With enough time and planning.

Would be much more difficult

than most other targets.

Why more?

- de Gaulle has the best security.

Their information is first-class.

You see, gentlemen, not only

have your own efforts failed...

...but you've queered the pitch

for everyone else.

How dare you suggest--

- You can't afford to be emotional.

It's why you've made so many mistakes.

But if we decided to employ a professional--

You have to employ a professional.

Your organization is

so riddled with informers...

...that nothing you decide

is a secret for long.

The job would have to be done

by an outsider.

The only question is

by whom and for how much?

Will you do it?


How much?

- This is a once-in-a-lifetime job.

I could never work again.

- How much do you want?

Half a million, in cash.

- What?

Half in advance and half on completion.

Half a million francs?

- Dollars.

Are you mad?

- You'll get France in return.

I'd have thought it a reasonable price.

If you can't manage it,

there's nothing more to be said.

We accept.

How many people know about this?

- Just the four of us.

Let's keep it that way. This job

depends on absolute secrecy.

No notes must be kept.

If any one of you is captured,

I shall feel free to call it off.

I suggest you stay in a safe place

under guard until the work is done.


- Agreed.

The planning will be mine.

No one else will get the details...

...and you will hear nothing from me again.

This is the name and account

number of my bank in Switzerland.

When they tell me the first

$250,000 has been deposited...

I'll move,

provided I'm ready.

I'll not be hurried in any way.

- Agreed.

All I want from you is

a telephone number in Paris...

...that I could call about changes

in de Gaulle's plans.

The contact mustn't know

who I am or what this is about.

Send me the number by mail.

- How do you expect us to find...

...half a million dollars so soon?

- Use your network to rob banks.

One last thing.

What code name will you use?

Why not the Jackal?

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Kenneth Ross

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Submitted on August 05, 2018

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