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Mission: Impossible (1996) Poster

Trivia

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While filming the famous scene where Tom Cruise drops from the ceiling and hovers inches above the ground, Cruise's head kept hitting the floor until he got the idea to put coins in his shoes for balance.
Last motion picture from a major studio to be released on Betamax.
Reza Badiyi, the person responsible for directing more episodes of the original Mission: Impossible (1966) TV series than anyone else, was asked by the head of Paramount to be present on the set for consulting and advising. Brian De Palma approached him and told him how much he had enjoyed the original series. He also added that the movie would be nothing like the TV show and that by him being present on the set, would only result on making both of them uncomfortable. Badiyi thanked him for his honesty and left the set never to return.
The plot of this film hinges around the potential release of the NOC list. Traditionally, when a spy is caught, the spy's home country will admit that the person was a spy, and get that person back by releasing a spy they have captured from the same country that captured theirs. A NOC agent, or Non-Official Cover, is disavowed by his or her own country should he be captured - which essentially means he would be executed as an unauthorized spy. Thus, this list falling into the wrong hands would result is several spies being killed. The concern about blowing such an agent's cover is also no longer just a fantasy concocted for a film: Valerie Plame Wilson was a NOC agent, and her public outing as a spy jeopardized many operations she was working on, as shown in the film Fair Game (2010).
The formidable task of lighting Prague at night presented cinematographer Stephen H. Burum and his crew with a complex array of logistics. Two miles of riverfront on either side of Prague's historic Charles Bridge had to be predominantly back lit in order to best evoke an atmosphere of old Europe. The preparation alone consumed some two weeks before the 12-day shoot along the banks of the Vltava River even began. Eleven generators were used to power hundreds of lights, and so impressive was the end result, amateur and professional Czech photographers appeared in droves, eager to capture their city's night scape as it had never been seen before.
The scene in which the water tank explodes and Ethan Hunt escapes from the restaurant were shot at two different locations. The tank explosion and Hunt's jump through the restaurant window were shot at Paramount Studios. The portion of the scene in which he is running into the streets of Prague with the water running behind him were actually shot in Prague.
When Jim Phelps is getting his mission on the airplane, his team is shown one by one. In the dossiers there are aliases. The aliases are as follows: for Jack Harmon (Emilio Estevez), his alias is "Tony Baretta" (the character from the cop show Baretta (1975). For Sarah Davies (Kristin Scott Thomas), her alias is "'Sarah Walker'", Hannah Williams' (Ingeborga Dapkunaite) alias is Pauline Brady, and Ethan Hunt's (Tom Cruise) alias is Phillipe Douchette.
Vanessa Redgrave's part was originally written for a man.
The first film to have a release of over 3000 theaters in the USA.
The only Mission: Impossible film that doesn't feature any shootouts/gunfights.
As Max looks over the NOC list on the train, it's possible to see that the names are repeated many times.
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Alan Silvestri was originally hired to score the film, and had written roughly twenty-three minutes of music before he was taken off. He recycled the material he had written and used it for the score to Eraser (1996). Bootleg copies of his "Mission: Impossible" score are in circulation.
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The main lobby of CIA Headquarters at Langley was actually shot inside County Hall, London. The helipad next to Tower Bridge where Kitteridge lands does not exist and was specially built for the film and removed afterwards. The site is a public park.
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Diehard fans of Mission: Impossible (1966) were upset by the treatment of the Jim Phelps character in this film, and by the decision to turn much of the focus onto one character.
The Exterior shots of the train scene, supposedly with the train in France, were mostly shot in Scotland.
The climactic train sequence took 6 weeks to film at the 007 stage at Pinewood Studios.
Jim Phelps' cigarette lighter is a Dunhill Rollagas. This lighter is seen in several of the James Bond films.
A shot of Ethan and Claire kissing passionately is shown in the trailer but was deleted from the film.
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Brian De Palma originally offered the role of Claire to Juliette Binoche.
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SERIES TRADEMARK: Ethan is suspended by a cable while infiltrating the CIA vault. See also Mission: Impossible II (2000) and Mission: Impossible III (2006).
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When Ethan decides he needs help and looks up disavowed IMF agents, the first one on the list is Simon Staines, who was a computer graphics designer for the film.
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The character name Alexander Golitsyn is a nod to Soviet KGB defector Anatoliy Golitsyn.
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The telephone number, Max tries to transfer the NOC list to from the train, is 004940229713, a German number from the City of Hamburg.
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Computer systems coordinator Andrew Eio's name appears as an IMF agent on the "NOC list".
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The helicopter in the climactic action scene is an MD Helicopters 520N NOTAR. NOTAR (an acronym derived from the phrase "no tail rotor") generates torque-countering thrust by creating laminar air flow around its tail boom instead of by using a traditional tail rotor.
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The six-digit code to the vault holding the NOC list 789551.
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Oscar-nominated writing team Willard Huyck and Gloria Katz began a script that would pass through the hands of writers David Koepp and Steven Zaillian, before being ultimately refined by Koepp and Robert Towne. Towne kept revising the script all the way through production after Koepp left to direct The Trigger Effect (1996).
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Spoilers 

The trivia items below may give away important plot points.

Ethan Hunt never fires a gun.
Emilio Estevez was cast in the role of Jack Harmon to create a sense of shock in the audience when he died early in the film. The film makers felt that casting a well-known actor in the role would increase the impact of Jack Harmon's death.
Peter Graves, who played Jim Phelps in Mission: Impossible (1966), turned down the opportunity to reprise his role in the movie after he learned that his character was to be killed off at the end of the movie. He also turned the role down because of the negative handling of the character, which in turn led to the other cast members of the old series to turn down their cameo offers as well. Greg Morris, who played Barney Collier in the original series, walked out of the film halfway through, citing displeasure with the turning of the Jim Phelps' character and the overall production.
Emilio Estevez appears in an uncredited role in this film. Tom Cruise had previously made a similarly uncredited cameo in Estevez' earlier film Young Guns (1988).
Body count: 7
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After Ethan's Team is killed, the security code he gives on the phone is Bravo Echo One One - or BE11 - which is a mirror image of 1138.

See also

Goofs | Crazy Credits | Quotes | Alternate Versions | Connections | Soundtracks

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