Down 63 this week

Mississippi Burning (1988)

R  |   |  Crime, Drama, Mystery  |  27 January 1989 (USA)
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Ratings: 7.8/10 from 62,393 users   Metascore: 65/100
Reviews: 171 user | 47 critic | 11 from Metacritic.com

Two FBI agents with wildly different styles arrive in Mississippi to investigate the disappearance of some civil rights activists.



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Won 1 Oscar. Another 16 wins & 24 nominations. See more awards »



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Cast overview, first billed only:
Mrs. Pell
Sheriff Ray Stuckey
Lester Cowens
Badja Djola ...
Agent Monk
Agent Bird
Thomas B. Mason ...
Judge (as Tom Mason)
Rick Zieff ...


Two FBI agents investigating the murder of civil rights workers during the 60s seek to breach the conspiracy of silence in a small Southern town where segregation divides black and white. The younger agent trained in FBI school runs up against the small town ways of his former Sheriff partner. Written by Keith Loh <loh@sfu.ca>

Plot Summary | Plot Synopsis


1964. When America was at war with itself.


R | See all certifications »

Parents Guide:





Release Date:

27 January 1989 (USA)  »

Also Known As:

Three Lives for Mississippi  »

Filming Locations:


Box Office


$15,000,000 (estimated)


$34,603,943 (USA)

Company Credits

Production Co:

Show detailed on  »

Technical Specs


Sound Mix:


Aspect Ratio:

1.85 : 1
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Did You Know?


Many of the extras participating in Clayton Townley's speech scene were actual members of the Ku Klux Klan and used their clan membership cards as ID (according to Stephen Tobolowsky in Stephen Tobolowsky's Birthday Party (2005)). See more »


When Agents Ward and Anderson are fighting outside the hospital where Mrs. Pell is after being beaten by her husband, Ward pulls a gun on Anderson. We hear Ward cock his revolver. In a subsequent shot, while Ward still has his gun pointed at Anderson, we can see the hammer has not been pulled back as the sound effect would have indicated. See more »


[first lines]
Driver: Uh, oh.
Passenger: What is it?
Passenger: [seeing the car behind them] What do they want?
Driver: I don't know... just pass me... pass me...
Driver: [trying to identify the following car] Is it a cop?
Passenger: I can't see.
[they are hit from behind]
Driver: What the fuck are these jokers playin' at?
Rear passenger: Oh, they ain't playin', you better believe it.
See more »


Referenced in NCIS: New Orleans: Chasing Ghosts (2014) See more »


Making Believe
Words and Music by Jimmy Work
Performed by Kitty Wells
Courtesy of MCA Records
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Frequently Asked Questions

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User Reviews

Well executed,gripping story.
14 July 2004 | by (United States) – See all my reviews

This film is a good,though not flawless representative of the turbulent 1960's south.The character representation is good,though taken to a bit of an extreme in places.Gene Hackman gives another knockout performance here,as he does always as does Willem Dafoe.The cast is great,though Gailard Sartain was a surprising choice as Sheriff Stuckey, given his penchant for appearing in the worst of films.It is based on a true story,and as we all know,true stories are never presented to perfection.It is,however,presented as well as it can be.This is a very gripping,edge of your seat film,and very well done.

30 of 39 people found this review helpful.  Was this review helpful to you?

Message Boards

Recent Posts
Did Pell Deserve The Beating In The Barbershop? matoschi
I Do Not Think Pell Deserved The Beating In The Barbershop, Agree? matoschi
The South nowadays ravviann
best line in the film... HapppinessAZ
Wake up, people! sassysweethart64
Anderson and Mrs. Pell sarajasmine8
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