Perhaps no greater debate has raged in the history of the study of the death of JFK than has arisen over the authenticity of a 27-second home movie of the assassination, known as “the Zapruder film”. According to Abraham Zapruder, a local businessman from Dallas, after whom it has been named, he used a fully-wound, spring-loaded, hand-held Bell & Howell camera to film the Presidential motorcade as it passed through Dealey Plaza on 22 November 1963. (See his statement below.) This footage has been described as “the most significant amateur recording of a news event in history”.
Some students of the crime take it as the absolute foundation for understanding what actually transpired. Others are not so sure. Questions have been raised about virtually every aspect of the film and its contents, including inconsistencies between eyewitness reports and the contents of the film, differences between the alleged “camera original” and other copies, discrepancies between the film and other photographs and films, and a host of other issues, even extending to whether Zapruder really took the film that bears his name. And there are good reasons to ask.
The Zapruder film is a piece of a rather large and complex puzzle over the true causes of the death of Jack Kennedy. According to the official account, a lone gunman named Lee Oswald fired three shots from the sixth floor of the Texas School Book Depository with an obscure Italian World War II- vintage Mannlicher-Carcano 6.5 mm carbine and scored two hits, with one miss, as the following photograph displays. Abraham Zapruder was standing on a 4-foot concrete pedestal at the location shown below, which gave him a comprehensive view of the plaza and a suitable position for taking his film, even though a freeway road sign would partially block his view...
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