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Mississippi Burning (1988)

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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?


The film is inspired by the murder by the Ku Klux Klan of voting rights activists James Chaney, Michael Schwerner and Andrew Goodman. See more »


In the first barber shop scene, agent Anderson (Gene Hackman) says he's from Thornton, Mississipi, "Just a spit" from Tennessee. Thornton MS is nearly 130 miles from Tennessee. 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 Over There: Mission Accomplished (2005) See more »


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

Frequently Asked Questions

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User Reviews

It broke my heart
31 December 2005 | by (Chicago, Illinois) – See all my reviews

Not saying this isn't an excellent film, it is just bluntly honest. I remember in English class in high school, we were learning about racism in the 60's, and how horrible it was. The worst part was that I am from a very racist town, unfortunately, and watching the beginning of the film terrified me because I felt like this world hadn't changed since I felt like I was living that film. Being one voice sometimes can either be helpful or get you into a lot of trouble.

I didn't want to see this film again because of the awful situations I saw or heard of. Now, I am out on my own, and I had the chance to see the movie once again, and felt that I could see it. It's a terrific and very powerful movie that can get anyone to cry unbearably. It's not just the actors, but Gene and William's characters, I wanted to be just like them, they were able to stand up even though the many times of being knocked down and caring so much just to try to in some way save that town.

I honestly feel that everyone should see this movie, it can change your life or make you look around and want to change things. I know this comment feels more like a lecture than a comment, but that's how much this movie got to me. I think we all can do something right in this world, it's just a matter or standing up. Even if this film isn't historically accurate, it's accurate enough to see how people treat other people. Hopefully, we will have a better future for generations to come.


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Recent Posts
I Do Not Think Pell Deserved The Beating In The Barbershop, Agree? matoschi
Did Pell Deserve The Beating In The Barbershop? matoschi
The South nowadays ravviann
best line in the film... HapppinessAZ
Wake up, people! sassysweethart64
The Convicted Men- After Prison cobras24
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