On November 22, 1963, a Dallas
dressmaker named Abraham Zapruder
picked up an 8mm ciné camera, left his office in the Dal-Tex building and walked 50 yards down the road to Dealey Plaza
, with the intention of filming President John F. Kennedy
's motorcade as it passed down Elm Street.
By a strange coincedence, he happened to stand in almost exactly the same position that a professional film-maker would have set up, had he known that the President was going to be assassinated. The 30 seconds of film which he captured have since gone down as the most famous amateur movie ever made.
The original film was sold to Time-Life for $25,000, which Zapruder donated to the Texas Police Benevolent Fund with the intention of helping the widow of Officer Tippett, who was shot by Lee Harvey Oswald as he attempted to escape. Time published some stills from the film in the December issue, but the full film was not seen in public until it was shown to the jury at the trial of Clay Shaw in 1968.
The film is considered by many, both on the conspiracy and non-conspiracy side, to be the most vital piece of material evidence available in the matter of the Kennedy assassination.
Addendum 23-02-03: kthejoker points out that people with a flash-enabled browser and a fast connection can view the "critical moment" of the film frame-by-frame at www.warrencommission.com. Sadly, it *only* shows the critical moment, so you can't use it to view the things I talk about in my other JFK nodes. Sorry.