The first film to challenge the Warren Commission's "lone gunman" theory about the Kennedy assassination, EXECUTIVE ACTION, although overlooked and overshadowed by Oliver Stone's later 1991 epic JFK, is an equally substantive film about how people in high places can destroy a man of peace and help to wreck a nation with their obsessions with war and murder.
Burt Lancaster, Robert Ryan, and Will Geer portray a cabal of right-wing businessmen clearly concerned about what Kennedy might do with respect to the Cold War and our involvement in Vietnam if he is re-elected in 1964. The film concerns itself with the assassination teams that these men manage to assemble that will end up being at that appointed place of destiny, Dealey Plaza in Dallas at 12:30 PM Central Time on November 22, 1963.
Though much less flashy than Stone's film, EXECUTIVE ACTION, directed by David Miller (LONELY ARE THE BRAVE), and scripted by former blacklisted writer Dalton Trumbo from Mark Lane's book "Rush To Judgement", has its own style of credibility. Lancaster and Ryan (the latter in one of his final films), known for their liberal politics, give extremely convincing and low-key portrayals of the right-wing businessmen at the center of this film's conspiracy theory. Talk about the chilling banality of evil.
EXECUTIVE ACTION is not a very easy film to find; and like JFK, it blows holes big enough into the Warren Commission report to drive a truck through and make apologists like Gerald Posner absolutely apoplectic. If you can find it, however, it makes for an extremely worthy film, both on its own and in tandem with JFK.