In this involving political thriller, a secret French paramilitary organization plans to assassinate French President Charles De Gaulle (Adrien Cayla-Legrand) because of their disagreement with his policies during the Algerian War. They hire a professional killer, known only as The Jackal (Edward Fox).
The police learn of the plot from an informer, and police investigator Lebel (Michel Lonsdale) cleverly pieces together the clues to the Jackal's identity. The complicated plot uses parallel editing to cross-cut between the details of the Jackal's preparations for the assassination and Lebel's efforts to find him before it is too late.
Fred Zinnemann presents the story, faithfully adapted from the book by Frederick Forsyth, with precise, dramatic flair. Edward Fox is coldly alluring as the Jackal. Well acted and directed, Day of the Jackal is a tense and engrossing political thriller with a surprising ending.