Does the New JFK Assassination Movie Parkland Disregard the Facts?

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I went to see Parkland this past weekend because I was hopeful that director Tom Hanks and his account of the JFK assassination would become as powerful and influential as Oliver Stone’s. I wanted to see him rise up and speak the truth to the generations who did not live through this tragedy.

The film won me over as a well-made work of contemporary pop art; however, as a historical account, Parkland deeply upset me. The movie bends the facts and disposes of the evidence. The Warren Commission would be proud of Tom Hanks and this subtle, manipulative, fictional version of JFK’s assassination.

Now I have an ax to grind. I outline the truth in my book The Man Who Killed Kennedy: The Case Against LBJ, which concludes that JFK was killed by a conspiracy that included LBJ, the CIA, and their confederates in the mob as well as Texas Oil men. I name the shooter—and it isn’t Lee Harvey Oswald.

Now, let me elaborate on how Parkland disregards the facts.

At Parkland Hospital, the physicians who answered the initial emergency call when President Kennedy was wheeled into Trauma Room One saw a wound where a bullet had entered the President’s neck. Parkland doesn’t mention that it’s a entrance wound, meaning JFK was shot from the front, not just the back as the Warren Commission tells us.

Consider the words of Dr. Malcolm Perry (played in the film by Colin Hanks) at a recorded press conference hours after the assassination:

Q:                          Where was the entrance wound?

PERRY:              There was an entrance wound in the neck.

Q:                          Which way was the bullet coming in the neck wound? At him?

PERRY:              It appeared to be coming at him.

Now let’s circle back to Tom Hanks, who cared enough to capitalize on the 50th anniversary of the president’s death, but not enough to research what actually happened on Nov. 22, 1963. Parkland makes no mention of the strange wounds found by the emergency room workers, because this would be contrary to the autopsy performed under military supervision at Bethesda Naval Hospital. The grapefruit-sized exit wound in the back of Kennedy’s head, described by more than forty witnesses, is also missing from the film.  Even Tom Robinson, the mortician who prepared Kennedy for his casket, clearly indicated the large exit wound on the back of the head was “pretty much between” Kennedy’s ears.  The Warren Commission went against the description of virtually every eyewitness and concluded that the back of Kennedy’s skull was intact, again concealing a shot from the front… Tom Hanks also followed suit.

When photographs from Kennedy’s official autopsy were later released, the eyewitnesses knew they were altered:  “To virtually every eyewitness, these photographs are perplexing,” wrote Dr. David Mantik. “They show a completely intact right posterior skull, which is in absolute conflict with the medical records of numerous Parkland physicians.”

So what really happened? The gunshot that killed the President came from the front, from behind the picket fence on the grassy knoll. This was where 58 of 90 eyewitnesses asked by police, FBI agents, and the Secret Service determined the shots to have come from. This was where Abraham Zapruder claimed the shots to have come from, a fact also conveniently missing from the film.

In Parkland, we do not bear witness to Lee Harvey Oswald’s famous “I’m just a patsy” declaration or his insistence that “I didn’t kill anyone.” If you want to see and hear this for yourself, here’s a link to the original interview:

We are instead treated to a misanthropic Oswald, with a crazed mother who issues seemingly unsubstantiated claims that her son is a government agent. The fact that Oswald did have intelligence ties and that both the CIA and FBI lied to the Warren Commission about their past association with Oswald  are not reported either. 


Another part of our history purposefully omitted from Parkland dialog was the concerns of Dr. Earl Rose, the Dallas medical examiner, who attempted to keep Kennedy’s body in Dallas for an autopsy at Parkland. Tom Hanks depicted this man as a bully, when in fact, he knew that the moment the Secret Service removed the president’s body and shipped it out of Dallas, they were not only violating law, they were tampering with evidence.  Oddly, Rose’s historical declaration that “You can’t lose the chain of evidence” wasn’t part of the actor’s argument with the Secret Service.

At the time, the Secret Service was under orders, and the man at the helm was the one who gained the most from the president’s assassination: Lyndon Johnson. Lyndon Johnson ordered that the presidential limousine—which was in fact the crime scene—be immediately destroyed. First it was cleaned with buckets of water at the hospital, and then it was rebuilt and reupholstered on Monday morning (Kennedy was shot on Friday). Maybe someone should ask Tom Hanks why he didn’t feel these details were necessary to include in his “historical” account. Johnson also demanded to take the oath of office before leaving Dallas, legally an unnecessary formality that he validated in true LBJ style, by lying, claiming Attorney General Robert Kennedy insisted on it.

There are other historical inaccuracies in Parkland, but if you’re ready to embark on your own research, you’ll find a more in-depth account of these facts and more in my book. I am a long time fan of Tom Hanks, but am extremely disappointed with how he treated our history, and I do wonder what compelled him to finance this clever but false version of what really happened.


Editor’s Note: I’ll certainly consider the evidence that Roger presents but right now I think Lt. Gen. Ion Mihai Pacepa’s analysis through the lens of his knowledge of Soviet Disinformation is the most accurate summary of the real conspiracy — the effort to conceal the Soviet Union’s involvement by blaming the CIA and a whole host of others. See my summary of Pacepa’s arguments here at PJ Lifestyle. -DMS