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Lee Oswald - Assassin (1966)


Warning: screenonline full synopses contain 'spoilers' which give away key plot points. Don't read on if you don't want to know the ending!

November 1963. Lee Oswald fires three rifle-shots from a sixth storey window and flees the building.

Lieutenant Donovan gives evidence to the Warren Commission, which sits to investigate the assassination of President Kennedy. He recalls Oswald as an unpopular loner while serving under him in the army.

Oswald fights with his fellow Marines, who believe the Russian-speaker is a communist. In private conversation with Donovan, Oswald condemns America and praises Russia, though denies he is a communist.

Leaving the Marines, Oswald travels to Russia. Visiting the American embassy in Moscow, he attempts to renounce his citizenship. US Consol Snyder indulges him but knows he will not return to complete the renunciation procedure.

On his twentieth birthday, Oswald receives news that his residency application has been declined and he is ordered to leave the country. In despair, he slits his wrists. Oswald's life is saved by his girlfriend Rima, who discovers him. He spends time in a psychiatric hospital as a result but is permitted to remain in the country.

The journalist Priscilla Johnson gives evidence to the Warren Commission. She recalls interviewing Oswald in 1959 while in Moscow.

Oswald is happy with his new life and generous allowance but zealously decries America, stating that he will not return while it remains illiberal. He has accepted a job as a radio engineer in Minsk, to start in January. Regardless of his hostility to America, Oswald later attempts to befriend a touring American swing band when it passes through Minsk.

In 1961 Oswald visits the US embassy once more, with new wife Marina in toe. He wishes to return to America, having become disillusioned with staid Russia. He is disappointed to learn that it may take many months to arrange the necessary exit visas.

Six months later Oswald, Marina and their newborn baby arrive in America. Oswald is frustrated that his return has merited no attention from journalists and rejects the assistance of Spas T Raikin from the Travellers Aid Society.

Settling in Dallas, Oswald's home life is unhappy. He is unable to provide for his family and bullies his wife. Oswald is fired from his job and buys a rifle, much to Marina's distress.

In April 1963, Oswald attempts to assassinate the staunch anti-communist General Walker. Returning home he brags of this murder to Marina, who is appalled at her husband's actions. Unaware of Oswald's involvement, visiting friends bring the news that the assassin's bullet had narrowly missed its target.

Oswald attempts to return to Russia, via Cuba, but is frustrated by a visit to the Cuban embassy in Mexico. Lacking a visa allowing him to enter Russia, he is refused permission to travel first to Cuba.

The Warren Commission interviews Kenneth O'Donnell, the man responsible for the President's travel arrangements on his Dallas visit. He reveals that on the morning of his murder, Kennedy had commented on the impossibility of guarding against assassination by a sniper.

November 1963. Oswald is working in a book depository overlooking the route to be taken by the President's motorcade. Once a colleague leaves, Oswald takes aim through the widow. He fires three shots then flees the scene.

A description of Oswald, who was seen exiting the building, is quickly circulated by the police. Walking down a street, he is stopped by Patrolman Tippit. Oswald draws a revolver and shoots Tippit dead. Attempting to hide in a cinema, Oswald is arrested by armed officers.

At police headquarters, Oswald denies his crimes. Identified as Tippit's killer by witnesses, he is charged with murder. The police have also recovered his rifle and are able to prove that he purchased it under a false name. The police station is besieged by journalists and a press conference is hastily arranged. The police chief announces that Oswald is also charged with the President's assassination. The journalists are in a frenzy of excitement as Oswald, protesting his innocence, is paraded for them.

The next day, as he is escorted to the prison wagon that will take him to the county jail, a lone gunman shoots Oswald dead.