Assassinations in fiction

Assassinations in fiction

Assassinations have formed a major plot element in various works of fiction and have also attracted scholarly attention. In "Assassinations and Murder in Modern Italy: Transformations in Society and Culture", Stephen Gundle and Lucia Rinaldi analyze modern Italian assassinations in their historical and cultural contexts and explore the films, fiction, theatre and art that they have inspired." [ [ "ASSASSINATIONS AND MURDER IN MODERN ITALY"] "Transformations in Society and Culture" edited by Stephen Gundle and Lucia Rinaldi (Palgrave Macmillan, 2007).] Nicholas Cullather has discussed "The Movie Version" of John F. Kennedy's assassination. [Nicholas Cullather, "History, Conspiracy, and the Kennedy Assassination", "Retrieving the American Past", ed. Marc Horger (New York: Pearson Custom Publishing, 2005), 301-330.]

This article provides a list of fictional stories in which assassination (the murder of a "prominent" person) features as an important plot element. Passing mentions are omitted from this list.


* Bolesław Prus, "Pharaoh" (1895)
* Jack London, "The Assassination Bureau, Ltd" (half-written by London, completed by Robert L. Fish, published 1963). Possibly influenced by a J.M. Barrie novella, "Better Dead".
* Geoffrey Household, "Rogue Male" (1939)
* Richard Condon, "The Manchurian Candidate" (1959)
* Mario Puzo, "The Godfather" (1969)
* Frederick Forsyth, "The Day of the Jackal" (1971)
* Loren Singer, "The Parallax View" (1972)
* Trevanian, "The Eiger Sanction" (1972)
* Trevanian, "The Loo Sanction" (1973)
* Richard Condon, "Winter Kills" (1974)
* Matthew Eden, "The Murder of Lawrence of Arabia", ISBN 0-690-01790-1 (1979)
* Trevanian, "Shibumi" (1979)
* Robert Ludlum, "The Bourne Identity" (1980)
* Alan Moore, "V for Vendetta" (1982-1988) Graphic novel featuring numerous assassinations of governmental and quasi-governmental officials by the eponymous character, V.
* J. C. Pollock, "Threat Case" (1992)
* Tom Clancy, "Executive Orders" (1996)
* Vince Flynn, "Term Limits" (1997)
* Vince Flynn, "Transfer of Power" (1999)
* Lee Child, "Without Fail" (2002)
* Barry Eisler, "Hard Rain" (2003)
* Brian Josepher, "What the Psychic Saw" (2005)
* Thomas A. Taylor, "Mortal Shield" (April 2008)

hort stories

* Philip K. Dick, "The Last of the Masters" (1954). Science fiction in which the last dictator on earth is assassinated by anarchists, successfully overthrowing the last government.


* William Shakespeare, "Henry VI, Part 3" (1590).
* William Shakespeare, "Julius Caesar" (probably 1599).
* William Shakespeare, "Hamlet" (between 1600 and summer 1602).
* William Shakespeare, "Macbeth" (between 1603 and 1606).
* Rolf Hochhuth, "Soldiers" (1967).
* Eric Schlosser, "Americans" (1985)
* John Weidman and Stephen Sondheim, "Assassins" (1990).


* "Hamlet" — from 1900 to 2000, dozens of film versions, in various languages, of the tragedy by William Shakespeare.
* "Macbeth" — from 1916 to 2006, a dozen film adaptations of the tragedy by William Shakespeare.
* "Foreign Correspondent" — 1940 film by Alfred Hitchcock in which a diplomat's decoy is assassinated in Amsterdam.
* "Man Hunt" — 1941 film, starring Walter Pidgeon and George Sanders, based on Geoffrey Household's 1939 novel, "Rogue Male". A British hunter vacationing in the Bavarian Alps near the Berghof, Hitler's home in Berchtesgaden, gets Hitler in his gun sight and ponders whether or not he should shoot him.
* "Julius Caesar" — 1950, 1953, 1970 film adaptations of the tragedy by William Shakespeare.
* "Suddenly" — 1954 film starring Frank Sinatra as a would-be presidential assassin.
* "The Manchurian Candidate" — 1962 and 2004 film adaptations of the novel by Richard Condon.
* "Pharaoh" — 1966 feature film adapted from the novel by Bolesław Prus.
* "The Assassination Bureau" — 1969 film, based on the novel, "The Assassination Bureau, Ltd", by Jack London and Robert L. Fish.
* "Z" — 1969 film by Costa Gavras
* "The Conformist" — 1970 film by Bernardo Bertolucci about a fascist assassin sent from Italy to assassinate his former professor in Paris.
* "The Godfather" — 1972 film based on the novel by Mario Puzo and directed by Francis Ford Coppola, involving assassinations among Mafia families; is ranked among the greatest films of all time.
* "The Mechanic" — 1972 movie about a hitman and his protégé.
* "The Day of the Jackal" — 1973 film adaptation of the novel by Frederick Forsyth.
* "The Parallax View" — 1974 film adapted from the novel by Loren Singer.
* "The Godfather Part II" — 1974 film, the second part of the "Godfather" trilogy, written by Mario Puzo and Francis Ford Coppola, and directed by Coppola; is ranked among the greatest films of all time.
* "The Eiger Sanction" — 1975 movie from the novel by Trevanian
* "Taxi Driver" — 1976 movie by Martin Scorsese.
* "Foul Play" — 1978 comedy-thriller film involving a plot to assassinate the Pope in San Francisco, starring Chevy Chase and Goldie Hawn.
* "Apocalypse Now" — 1979 movie by Francis Ford Coppola, set during the Vietnam War, loosely inspired by Joseph Conrad's "The Heart of Darkness", and starring Marlon Brando and Martin Sheen. Sheen's character is sent to assassinate Brando's.
* "Winter Kills" — 1979 movie adapted from the novel by Richard Condon.
* "Blow Out" — 1981 movie directed by Brian De Palma, starring John Travolta as a sound engineer who is earwitness to a political assassination.
* "Jaane Bhi Do Yaaro" — 1983 Indian film directed by Kundan Shah, a dark satirical comedy involving the assassination of a mayor.
* "Nikita" — 1990 French film directed by Luc Besson concerning Nikita, who is convicted of murder. In prison, she is injected with drugs, simulating death. Officially dead, she is given the choice of either working for the DGSE as an assassin or being killed for real.
* "The Godfather Part III" — 1990 film, the final part of the "Godfather" trilogy, written by Mario Puzo and Francis Ford Coppola, and directed by Coppola.
* "Point of No Return" — 1993 film directed by John Badham, also known as "The Assassin"; a remake of "Nikita".
* "In the Line of Fire" — 1993 movie by Wolfgang Petersen about an attempted assassination of an American president; Clint Eastwood plays a Secret Service agent who had been in the detail guarding President Kennedy in Dallas on November 22, 1963.
* "Léon (also known as 'The Professional' and 'Léon: The Professional'; 1994)
* "Grosse Pointe Blank" — 1997 comedy starring John Cusack as a depressed professional assassin
* "Air Force One" - 1997 film starring Harrison Ford, directed by Wolfgang Petersen
* "The Bourne Identity" — 2002 film directed by Doug Liman.
* "Interview with the Assassin" — 2002 mock documentary written and directed by Neil Burger, purportedly about the "second gunman" at the John F. Kennedy assassination.
* "Nothing So Strange" — 2002 film, directed by Brian Flemming in the style of an "independent documentary", centering on the fictional assassination of Microsoft's Bill Gates, which occurs before the end of the opening credits; the film resonates with numerous references to the John F. Kennedy assassination.
* "Death of a President" — 2006 fictional documentary about the assassination of George W. Bush
* "V for Vendetta" — 2006 movie wherein the main character, V, assassinates numerous governmental and quasi-governmental officials in his quest to topple a fascist regime.
* "Shooter" — 2007 movie by Antoine Fuqua, dealing with an assassination attempt on a U.S. president.
* "Hitman (2007 film)" — 2007 movie about a genetically engineered assassin known only as "Agent 47."
* "The Assassination of Jesse James by the Coward Robert Ford" (2007).
* "Vantage Point" — 2008 movie about a presidential assassination.


* "Rogue Male" (1976) — a BBC TV film, starring Peter O'Toole and Alistair Sim, based on Geoffrey Household's 1939 novel, "Rogue Male".
* "La Femme Nikita" (1997–2001) — a television spy drama, based on the French film "Nikita", starring Peta Wilson and Roy Dupuis as assassins who work in a secret government counter-terrorist organization, "Section One." Section One's operatives (assassins) work not for monetary gain nor from ideological devotion, but out of a fear of being canceled (executed) for sub-standard performance. "La Femme Nikita" had a run of five seasons and a total of 96 episodes; during its first two seasons, it was the highest-rated drama on American basic cable. Joel Surnow and Robert Cochran, who created and produced "La Femme Nikita", later went on to create "24".
* "The West Wing" (1999–2006) — In the first season finale, in the episode "What Kind of Day Has It Been" there is an assassination attempt on President Bartlet's personal aide, Charlie Young. It is, however, thwarted by the Secret Service. In the following episodes the assassins are discovered to have been members of an organization called "Virginia White Pride", a group of racists and white supremacists. In the third season, President Bartlet orders the assassination of Qumari Defence Minister Abdul Ibn Shareef, after it comes to light that the latter has ordered a group of terrorists to blow up the Golden Gate Bridge and is plotting other terrorist acts.
* "24" (2001–present) — assassination plots have featured prominently throughout: Season 1 revolves around Counter-Terrorist Unit agent Jack Bauer's attempts to stop the assassination of Democratic presidential candidate David Palmer, Season 2 ends with the attempted assassination of now-President Palmer, Season 3 involves the assassination by Jack Bauer of his superior Ryan Chappelle at the behest of terrorist Stephen Saunders, Season 4 features an attempt to assassinate President Keeler by shooting down Air Force One (and subsequently the assassination of the president's son), Season 5's plot is driven by the assassination of former President David Palmer at the beginning of the first episode, along with the assassinations of CTU employees Michelle Dessler and Tony Almeida. Season 6 involves the attempted assassinations of President Wayne Palmer and Former President Charles Logan.
*"Babylon 5" (1993–1998) — features several assassinations (meaning the targeted killing of a significant political figure, rather than the many other deaths or murders that occur in the show). One of the earliest assassinations is of Earth's President Santiago, in a spectacular scene showing the explosion of the Presidential Spaceship, Earth Force One. The same episode shows his Vice-President Clark being sworn in. The scene is shot as a replica of the swearing in of LBJ, complete with Santiago's widow posed in the background. Clark's assumption of power begins Earth's slow decline into fascism, and it was discovered his faction arranged the assassination of President Santiago.
*"Alias" (2001–2006) — numerous assassinations, real and simulated, take place over the course of Sydney Bristow's odyssey through the underworld of covert intelligence and international organized crime.
*"Heroes" (2006–present) — In the finale of the second volume of "Heroes", "Generations", former New York Congressman Nathan Petrelli gives a nationally televised speech to the media in Odessa, Texas, regarding the successful stopping of an outbreak of a deadly virus. About to reveal that he has the ability to fly, he is shot in the chest twice, mid-sentence, by an unknown assassin who quickly leaves the scene. Nathan falls into the arms of his brother, Peter, and uses his last breath to whisper his name.
*President William McKinley's assassin Leon Czolgosz is the demon in "Leon," episode 6 of the first season of "Reaper" (2007).


* "Golgo 13" — Directed by Osamu Dezaki, the anime is about a professional assassin. Only two Anime installments were made.
* "Noir" — Anime TV series that follows two female assassins' search to understand their past.

Video games

* "Portopia Renzoku Satsujin Jiken" (1983) — Adventure game focusing on a murder case in Kobe, Japan
* ' (1988) and ' (1990) are two NES games based on the Anime/Manga.
* "The Grand Theft Auto" series (1997–2008) features numerous missions which involve assassinating people.
* "Shinobido" — Heavily stealth-based video game centered around feudal-era Japan and its inhabitants. The protagonist is a ninja, who is given contact killing missons among others, and becomes a politically heavily involved reconnaissance agent, thief and mostly, assassin.
* "Tenchu" (1998–2008) — Same as above, the originator of the next-generation ninja subterfuge gaming genre. Released earlier, more story-driven and somewhat less political, assassination is a tradamark feature of the series.
* "Splinter Cell" — Stealth action game which ends with an assassination of a powerful political leader.
* "" (2000) — Tactical stealth game which involves the assassination of various targets. It was followed by a number of sequels (see Hitman (series)).
* "Ragnarok Online" (2001) — An MMORPG where the player can choose to become an assassin as a second job class.
* "" (2002) — RPG with numerous assassinations and even a guild dedicated to assassinations called the Morag Tong.
* "Total War" (2006) — a strategy game series where you can send assassins against your foes and their servants.
* "" (2006) — RPG in which one may join an assassins' guild, the Dark Brotherhood. Also, the main storyline opens with an emperor being assassinated; the entire game hinges on this event.
* "Assassin's Creed" (2007) — Game in which one plays a member of the Hashshashin sect during the Third Crusade.
* "Call of Duty 4" (2008) — In two missions, you play as a sniper on a failed assassination attempt.
* "Fable II" (2008) — This game allows you to be an assassin .

ee also

* John F. Kennedy assassination in popular culture
* Politics in fiction
* Political fiction


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