JFK: The Final Hours on Nat Geo

Category: Television


Fourteen days before the 50th anniversary of the assassination of President John F. Kennedy, National Geographic Channel premiers a new film documenting the final two days of his life. JFK: The Final Hours is a look at – almost hour by hour – the events that occupied the last hours of the life of John.


The film takes viewers from the emotional goodbye the president and First Lady shared with their son John Jr. in Washington on November 21, 1963, to the return trip of the slain president to Washington on November 22nd. Narrated by Bill Paxton who was eight years old when he saw the president speak in Fort Worth on November 22, 1963, this film brings together many of those who witnessed the final hours of JFK’s life around the state of Texas. With archival footage and visuals of the locations today, viewers see and hear what many who were present said, saw, and felt those 50 years ago.


Novelist Don DeLillo has described the assassination of JFK as “The seven seconds that broke the back of the American Century.” The witnesses to history included in this film don’t talk about the assassination but they talk about their personal memories of their quick interaction with President Kennedy and Jacqueline Kennedy before the fatal shots. As one person says, JFK showed everyone in Texas “the man behind the myth.”


“We forget that presidents are human.” The Kennedys trip to Texas was political but also related the fact that they were people and part of the country, not set apart and locked in the White House. John Kennedy was the first TV president and being only 46 years old with good looks and exuding plenty of charm, he and his wife were held in high regard by their admirers. And, as viewers will see, their trip to Texas also won over those who were not necessarily Kennedy fans. People were “star struck” by the glamorous first couple.


The documentary focuses on the events of Kennedy’s life leading up to his final motorcade and fills in the hours he spent in Texas prior to that last fateful ride. While in Texas Kennedy took part in many other motorcades, gave many speeches, and shook countless hands. Those are the focus of this film. And, as the hours tick down, viewers get insight into his last night, his last phone call, his last outdoor speech, his last breakfast, his last flight, and his last motorcade.


JFK: The Final Hours is a well-done documentary that humanizes the man. It is a great history lesson and the best window into the final hours of his life than anything ever produced to date. With input from Mrs. Kennedy’s Secret Service Agent Clint Hill, along with first hand memories from people who saw the president and Mrs. Kennedy in the hours leading up to the shooting, this documentary is nothing short of mesmerizing.


JFK: The Final Hours premiers Friday, November 8, 2013 on National Geographic Channel.


About the Author

Francine Brokaw has been covering all aspects of the entertainment business for 20 years. She also writes about technology and has been a travel writer for the past 12 years. She has been published in national and international newspapers and magazines as well as Internet websites. She has written her own book, Beyond the Red Carpet: The World of Entertainment Journalists, from Sourced Media Books.

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