7.8/10
68,103
179 user 53 critic

Mississippi Burning (1988)

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

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

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

Taglines:

1964. When America was at war with itself.


Certificate:

R | See all certifications »

Parents Guide:

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Details

Country:

Language:

Release Date:

27 January 1989 (USA)  »

Also Known As:

Three Lives for Mississippi  »

Filming Locations:

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Box Office

Budget:

$15,000,000 (estimated)

Gross:

$34,603,943 (USA)
 »

Company Credits

Production Co:

 »
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Technical Specs

Runtime:

Sound Mix:

Color:

(DeLuxe)|

Aspect Ratio:

1.85 : 1
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Did You Know?

Trivia

A Klansman in a red car with tall fins and white roof throws a victim out the door in the town square. The car is a 1961 DeSoto, the very last edition of the historic make. Rumors that Chrysler Corp. (DeSoto's parent company) decided to drop the line because of its association with the Klan are untrue--DeSoto's sales had been steadily declining since 1955, and Chrysler decided that the 1961 model would be its last. See more »

Goofs

At the end of the movie, when people are gathered around the tomb marked 1964 and the black woman is singing, one blonde child is wearing ceramic brackets. On the time depicted that type of orthodontic technology was not developed yet. See more »

Quotes

[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 »

Connections

Referenced in Fletch Lives (1989) See more »

Soundtracks

Try Jesus
Words and Music by Roberta Martin
Performed by Vesta Williams
See more »

Frequently Asked Questions

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User Reviews

 
The film succeeds by being gripping, emotional, and disturbing…

Mississippi Burning is set in 1964 when three civil rights activists are murdered in a small town by the Ku Klux Klan… Two of them were white and one of them black…

Based on actual events in Philadelphia, the screenplay centers chiefly on the hostility relationship between the two FBI agents (Gene Hackman and Willem Dafoe) sent down to the small Mississippi town to seek information about the vanishing of the three victims… Immediately upon their arrival, they are greeted with hostility by the local law enforcement and the town in general…

Dafoe's Ward— in charge of the case—comes off as the embodiment of everything those men in the south dislike about the "Yankees" who are coming down there commanding them how to act…

Anderson(Hackman), who was once a Mississippi officer himself, has a special feel for how to settle things with Southerners… He uses his charm to win the confidence of the friendly wife of a Klansman deputy, whom he suspects holds the key to unravel the details of the case…

The scenes between McDormand and Hackman are the best of the film… They dramatize how quickly two lonely people can match...

The film succeeds by being gripping, emotional, and disturbing… Alan parker graphically explores the hatred, motivations and mentality that were once flaming through the American society in the 60's.


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