Abraham Zapruder, [Frames 238, 312, 313, 314 and other stills from 8mm home movie of the assassination of President John F. Kennedy Jr.], November 22, 1963
Zapruder Film © 1967 (Renewed 1995) The Sixth Floor Museum at Dealey Plaza
The morning after President John F. Kennedy’s assassination, LIFE purchased Abraham Zapruder’s home movie of the event and the rights to publish it. LIFE published thirty-one black-and-white stills in the November 29, 1963 issue, which focused on the President’s assassination in Dallas the previous week.
From “Split-Second Sequence as the Bullets Struck”:
On these and the following two pages is a remarkable and exclusive series of pictures which show, for the first time and in tragic detail, the fate which befell our President. The caravan had just passed through the downtown area of Dallas and made a sharp left turn at the corner of Elm and Houston Streets, where it headed down an incline into an underpass. First came the police motorcycle escort (above) and then the big Lincoln bearing the Kennedys and Texas Governor John Connally and his wife. The crowds were thin at this point, but the President and Mrs. Kennedy were smiling and waving as their car passes the brick building where the assassin lurked, and disappeared momentarily behind a highway sign.
Then came the awful moment. In these pictures, which run consecutively from left to right, it begins as the car comes out from behind the sign (fifth picture). The President’s wave turns into a clutching movement toward his throat (seventh picture). Governor Connally, who glances around to see what has happened, is himself struck by a bullet (ninth picture) and slumps over (tenth picture). As the President’s car approaches a lamppost Mrs. Kennedy suddenly becomes aware of what has happened and reaches over to help (larger pictures below) while Governor Connally slumps to the floor. The President collapses on his wife’s shoulder and in the last two small pictures the First Lady cradles him in her arms.
The following spread, titled “Jackie Crawled for Help”:
“Oh, no!, Oh, no!,” Mrs. Kennedy cries (top row of pictures) as she sees the blood flowing from the President’s head. But the convoy keeps going, past the onlookers and photographers who stand frozen or fall to the ground as they hear the shots.
As the President lies dying, Jackie scrambles out of her seat and crawls onto the truck of the car in a pathetic search for help. As she crouches on hands and knees, the President’s head presses against her, staining her skirt and stockings with blood. A Secret Service man [Agent Clinton Hill] leaps on the bumper to protect the First Lady and get her back into the car.