JFK (1991)

Concept featured in film: The Magic Bullet Theory: Theoretical Physics

Location of clip: DVD: Chapter 69: The Magic Bullet Theory; watch for 3 minutes and 5 seconds


Play Flickclip Here

Summary of clip: 'Jim Garrison describes the Magic Bullet Theory, what he calls, "one of the grossest lies ever forced on the American people". The explanation is descriptive down to the angles and time series. Garrison states, “Never in the history of gunfire has there been a bullet this ridiculous. Yet, the government says they can prove it with some fancy physics and a nuclear laboratory. Of course they can, theoretical physics and prove that an elephant can hang from a cliff with its tail tied to a daisy." He asks them to use their eyes and common sense when none of the comparison bullets look anything like the Magic Bullet."

Connection of flick to concept: The misuse of theoretical physics in a murder case of JFK.

Suggestions to teachers:
1. After viewing the clip discuss the accuracy to The Magic Bullet Theory. Here are some helpful questions:

a. How did they use physics to help in this case?

b. Does the Magic Bullet Theory seem reasonable?

c. Is the use of physics and science in crimes a good thing?

2. Discuss the use of physics in solving crimes.

3. In groups, Have students research the use of science in solving crimes especially physics instances.

4. In groups, have them create a report on one case they can find on the use of physics to solve crime and present the case and the physics to the class.

5. You could also move into projectile motion from here and start with this interactive webpage for hitting a target using a cannon from the University of Colorado's Physics Education Technology Project: http://www.teachersdomain.org/resources/