In August 1962, after giving the independence to Algeria, French President Charles De Gaulle (Adrien Cayla-Legrand) became the target of extreme right-wingers united in the terrorist organisation known as OAS. The attempt on his life failed, the conspirators were caught and their leader, Colonel Bastien-Thirry (Jean Sorel) was executed for treason.
Then the OAS hires a man, the Jackal (Edward Fox), with no history who will kill De Gaulle. The asking price is a million dollars but the Jackal is good value for the price, as his meticulous preparation and disposal of anyone who might compromise his mission proves. However, the French government soon finds out about the assassination, and as the Jackal is working out his plan to kill the leader, they must find a way to stop a crime that has yet to be committed without any knowledge of who the Jackal is or when he will strike.
Within 2 days it will be Michael Lonsdale`s 82th birthday. (May 24, 1931)
Release date: July 30, 1973
The movie was shot in: Paris (France), Genova (Italy), London (UK) and Austria
Oscar nomination: Best Film Editing
Director Zinneman wanted Edward Fox to play the Jackal because he wanted a person who’s face was instantly recognizable and who could convincinly melt into a crowd. Source / More (Book)
In 1997 there was a remake starring Bruce Willis and Richard Gere
In 1971 Frederick Forsyth's book The day of the Jackal was published. Source / More (Book)
Zinneman about the movie moguls: “I’m sure if the financiers had their way, they would have cast Frank Sinatra as Gandhi” Source / More (Book)
The terrorist Illich Ramirez was called Carlos the Jackal since 1975. A British journalist, who had just finished reading Frederick Forsyth's book, saw the parallel's between the fictional and the real terrorist. Source / More (Book)
OAS = Organisation de l'Armée Secrète.
In real life the OAS actually planned 31 serious plots to assassinate president Charles de Gaulle. The organization was finally broken by French intelligence, and several of its leaders were executed by firing squad. Source / More (Book)