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Crowds wave to US president in movie recreation.
JFK (1991) IMDB

The great movie scenes: in JFK’s opening montage, Oliver Stone gets creative with history

What makes a film a classic? In this video series, film scholar Bruce Isaacs looks at a classic film and analyses its brilliance. (Warning: this video contains violence and may be upsetting for some viewers.)


Hollywood has a century-long tradition of political narratives, such as Oliver Stone’s 1991 film JFK. So how do you create a concise political history in cinematic form?

It starts with a staccato drum tattoo and moves into a swelling string movement. The voices of leaders rise from the depths of the past as the director of Salvador, Platoon and Wall Street builds a complex mosaic of American history. The images and sounds masquerade as factual account — but this is anything but objective. It’s creative storytelling using historical bits and pieces as building blocks.


See more video analysis of great movie scenes here.

Thanks to Shelagh Stanton (Digital Media, University of Sydney) for editing and mixing the audio.

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