"Rush to Judgment" Movie

by Nicole Schmoll

"Rush to Judgment" challenges the conclusions made by the Warren Commission.

Hemera Technologies/Photos.com/Getty Images

"Rush to Judgment" is a documentary film released in 1967 that examines the assassination of United States President John F. Kennedy. The full title of the movie is "Rush to Judgment: The Plot to Kill JFK." The film was written by Mark Lane, who appears in the film as the presenter and interviewer; assassination witnesses L.E. Bowers, Jr. and Charles Brehm are also featured in the film. The documentary was directed by Emile de Antonio.

Book Adaptation

The movie "Rush to Judgment" is based on the best-selling book of the same title, written by Mark Lane. From his legal perspective as an attorney, Lane challenged the findings of the Warren Commission early on in the aftermath of the JFK assassination. After writing and appearing in this movie, Lane went on to write three additional movies about the JFK assassination: "Executive Action" (1973), "The JFK Assassination: The Jim Garrison Tapes" (1992) and "Beyond JFK: The Question of Conspiracy" (1992).

Storyline and Genre

This 98-minute documentary follows Mark Lane as he interviews more than 30 witnesses to the Kennedy assassination. Lane also uses archival footage of Earl Warren and Lee Harvey Oswald in the film, which attempts to expose serious flaws in the conclusions drawn by the Warren Commission following its investigation of the assassination. Lane posits that Oswald could not have acted alone, but rather that there was a conspiracy to kill the President and that other co-conspirators have gone unpunished. The black-and-white documentary has a simple structure and no musical score. Aside from its message, it stands as an example of 1960s-era cinema and is intriguing from a compositional aspect. Its director, Emile de Antonio, later won an Academy Award for Best Documentary for his work entitled "In the Year of the Pig" (1970).

Interviewing Witnesses

The strength of "Rush to Judgment" is writer Mark Lane's in-person interviews with witnesses to the assassination, the Oswald murder and the murder of Officer Tippit (presumably killed by a fleeing Oswald). Lane interviewed witnesses L.E. Bowers, Jr., Charles Brehm, Acquilla Clemons, Napoleon J. Daniels, Nelson Delgado, Richard C. Dodd, S.M. Holland and others who either witnessed key events or who had contact with Lee Harvey Oswald.


"Rush to Judgment" has been criticized for making flawed or weak arguments in favor of a conspiracy to murder President John F. Kennedy. Some critics feel that Lane even stretched the truth in making his case against the findings of the Warren Commission. While the film itself is out of print and obtaining a copy can be expensive, you can watch it on the Dallas Observer website to draw your own conclusions about the validity of Lane's argument that Lee Harvey Oswald did not act alone.

Photo Credits

  • Hemera Technologies/Photos.com/Getty Images