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Abraham Zapruder film
Object Number: 1999.042.2000
Category: Films
Photographer: Abraham Zapruder

Type of Object: Film, 8mm
Dimensions: Gauge: 8mm; Camera Speed: 18 fps
Medium: Film

8mm color home movie by Abraham Zapruder showing the presidential motorcade and assassination in Dealey Plaza.

The Abraham Zapruder film is acknowledged to be the definitive view of the death of President Kennedy, for it is the only known movie showing the entire assassination sequence. Experts still debate over exactly what it does show and what is not clearly revealed.

The film reel begins with family scenes of Zapruder’s grandchildren (not seen here), then shows his office assistant, Lillian Rogers, at her desk the morning of the assassination. After filming two of his coworkers in Dealey Plaza, Zapruder filmed the approaching motorcade from a pedestal above and to the right of the parade route. (Note: two extremely short pre-assassination scenes, one in Zapruder’s office and one in Dealey Plaza, are not included here until film restoration work has been completed.)

Mr. Zapruder sold the film to Time-Life Inc. the day after the assassination. Time-Life returned the film to the Zapruder family in 1975, although the camera-original film was stored as a courtesy at the National Archives. Classified as an "assassination document" under the JFK Act, the Assassination Records Review Board confiscated the original film from the Zapruder family in 1997; after being compensated by the U.S. government, the family donated copies of the film and color transparencies of each frame, as well as the film’s copyright, to The Sixth Floor Museum at Dealey Plaza in 1999.

The video attached to this record is an excerpt. The film is available in our Reading Room to on-site researchers or by submitting a Rights & Reproductions Request Form.

Zapruder Film © 1967 (Renewed 1995) The Sixth Floor Museum at Dealey Plaza

Abraham Zapruder gave a television interview on the afternoon of November 22, 1963 describing what he saw through the viewfinder of his camera.  That interview is part of the Museum's WFAA-TV collection.  He rarely spoke publicly about the film after that weekend.  Mr. Zapruder died in 1970. - Lindsey Richardson, Curator of Collections

While the Zapruder family donated numerous copies of the Zapruder film and its copyright to The Sixth Floor Museum, the actual camera-original film is held by the National Archives and Records Administration. - Megan Bryant, Director of Collections & Intellectual Property

All requests for permission to reproduce, publish or broadcast materials in this collection must be submitted to the Museum's registrar, using the Rights & Reproductions Request Form. Inquiries may be sent to registrar@jfk.org.