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Mission: Impossible (1996)

PG-13  |   |  Action, Adventure, Thriller  |  22 May 1996 (USA)
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Ratings: 7.1/10 from 280,605 users   Metascore: 59/100
Reviews: 369 user | 149 critic | 29 from Metacritic.com

An American agent, under false suspicion of disloyalty, must discover and expose the real spy without the help of his organization.



(television series), (story), 3 more credits »
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3 wins & 13 nominations. See more awards »



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Cast overview, first billed only:
Claire Phelps (as Emmanuelle Beart)
Sarah Davies (as Kristin Scott-Thomas)
Valentina Yakunina ...
Nathan Osgood ...
John McLaughlin ...
Karel Dobrý ...


Based on the hit T.V. series. Jim Phelps was sent to Prague for a mission to prevent the theft of classified material. His wife Claire and his trusted partner Ethan Hunt were members of Phelps' team. Unfortunately, something went horribly wrong and the mission failed, leaving Ethan Hunt the lone survivor. After he reported the failed mission, Kettridge the head of the agency suspects Ethan of being the culprit for the failed mission. Now, Ethan uses unorthodox methods (Which includes the aid of an arms dealer going by the name "Max") to try to find who set him up and to clear his name. Written by John Wiggins

Plot Summary | Plot Synopsis


Expect the Impossible

Motion Picture Rating (MPAA)

Rated PG-13 for some intense action violence | See all certifications »

Parents Guide:





| |

Release Date:

22 May 1996 (USA)  »

Also Known As:

Mission Impossible  »

Box Office


$80,000,000 (estimated)

Opening Weekend:

£11,040,340 (UK) (19 July 1996)


$180,965,237 (USA) (22 November 1996)

Company Credits

Show detailed on  »

Technical Specs


Sound Mix:

| |


Aspect Ratio:

2.35 : 1
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Did You Know?


Last motion picture from a major studio to be released on Betamax. See more »


(at around 1h 4 mins) Ethan is suspended upside down in the Langley computer room looking down at Donloe, but the image from his glasses is right-side up on Luther's laptop. See more »


Eugene Kittridge: I want him manning a radar tower in Alaska by the end of the day. Just mail him his clothes.
See more »

Crazy Credits

The opening credits contain several plot points from the movie. See more »


Referenced in Lara Croft: Tomb Raider (2001) See more »


The Plot
By Lalo Schifrin
See more »

Frequently Asked Questions

See more (Spoiler Alert!) »

User Reviews

call it a guilty pleasure
13 December 2008 | by (United States) – See all my reviews

Every now and again, you will come upon a film that you know really isn't the best movie in the world, or even a particularly good movie on its own. And yet, despite its glaring flaws and imperfectness and lack of completion, you do find yourself strangely attached to it because it has a charm to itself that keeps you interested. Call it a guilty pleasure.

Mission: Impossible is my guilty pleasure. It's based on a 1960s television series created by Bruce Geller and the movie with Tom Cruise is kind of like a mash-up between The Bourne Identity and the James Bond pictures. Basically, the standard spy movie. Tom Cruise plays a spy who is falsely accused of betrayal to his organization and finds himself working with some unlikely partners to track down the real mole in the system and expose him and clear his name. Now, this is a plot as old as the hills and Mission: Impossible works with it just as well as the others. Not enormously well, but on an acceptable level.

Tom Cruise is great as the film's action hero lead, unfortunately his supporting cast is quite uninteresting. Another defect worth noting is the film's convoluted plot, which sometimes is hard to follow. This is caused by a screenplay in need of revisions. That's one of the film's major weaknesses and really the reason why it's just a standard spy movie with lots of cool gadgets instead of something special.

But that's really my only significant complaint about Mission: Impossible. Those rather small, unimportant defects left aside, and leaving the movie to its own devices, it works out well especially in its action sequences. Again, it's all been done before, sometimes better sometimes worse, but that doesn't meant it's boring or overdrawn. In fact, sometimes it's very primal. There is one scene in particular that I found intense and suspenseful on a hair-raising level. The scene goes on for an unremittingly long time, keeping us on the edges of our seats, and the best thing of all is that it's silent. The filmmakers could have chosen to go along with some dark, heavy music or some ominous heartbeat sound effects to put us in the same shoes with the characters, but the fact that it's quiet—too quiet for our liking—makes it so much more compelling. I only wish the rest of the movie was like this scene. Then it really would have been special.

Nevertheless, De Palma's Mission: Impossible works out well for what it is and unless you're not a fan of the standard spy movies or action pictures in particular, of if you have your standards and hopes up too high, I imagine you will enjoy it. Again, it is kind of a guilty pleasure, but hey, it was a lot of fun.

17 of 26 people found this review helpful.  Was this review helpful to you?

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Terrible acting and story-telling gerhajdu
Still the best MI movie of the series harryster
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How smoking was Max in this movie? Neelchim_Edsue
Tell My Why This Movie Is Bad tylrmcgill
Danny Elfman score heisenberg83
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