204 user 59 critic

The Mission (1986)

Eighteenth century Spanish Jesuits try to protect a remote South American tribe in danger of falling under the rule of pro-slavery Portugal.



(original story & screenplay)
3,989 ( 307)

On Disc

at Amazon

Won 1 Oscar. Another 12 wins & 27 nominations. See more awards »





Cast overview, first billed only:
... Rodrigo Mendoza
... Father Gabriel
... Cardinal Altamirano
... Felipe Mendoza
... Carlotta
... Hontar
... Cabeza
... Fielding
Bercelio Moya ... Indian Boy
Sigifredo Ismare ... Witch Doctor
Asuncion Ontiveros ... Indian Chief
Alejandrino Moya ... Chief's Lieutenant
Daniel Berrigan ... Sebastian
Rolf Gray ... Young Jesuit
... Jesuit


Jeremy Irons plays a Spanish Jesuit who goes into the South American wilderness to build a mission in the hope of converting the Indians of the region. Robert DeNiro plays a slave hunter who is converted and joins Irons in his mission. When Spain sells the colony to Portugal, they are forced to defend all they have built against the Portuguese aggressors. Written by mattbballman17

Plot Summary | Plot Synopsis


Deep in the jungles of South America two men bring civilization to a native tribe. Now, after years of struggle together, they find themselves on opposite sides in a dramatic fight for the natives' independence. One will trust in the power of prayer. One will believe in the might of the sword.


PG | See all certifications »

Parents Guide:






| | |

Release Date:

31 October 1986 (USA)  »

Also Known As:

La misión  »

Filming Locations:



Box Office


$24,500,000 (estimated)

Opening Weekend USA:

$40,366, 31 October 1986, Limited Release

Gross USA:

See more on IMDbPro »

Company Credits

Show more on  »

Technical Specs


Sound Mix:

(70 mm prints)| (35 mm prints)


Aspect Ratio:

2.35 : 1
See  »

Did You Know?


The film was released two hundred thirty-six years after events associated with "The Treaty of Madrid", a.k.a. "The Spanish-Portuguese Treaty", occurred in 1750, where Spain seceded part of Paraguay to its neighboring country of Portugal. See more »


The sloth's head is initially at the man's right shoulder, but then on the left in the next cut. This happens twice. See more »


[first lines]
Altamirano: Your Holiness, the little matter that brought me here to the furthest edge of your light on Earth is now settled. The Indians are once more free to be enslaved by the Spanish and Portuguese settlers. I don't think that's hitting the right note. Begin again... Your Holiness, I write to you in this year of Our Lord 1758 from the southern continent of the Americas, from the town of Asunción, in the Province of La Plata, two weeks march from the great mission of San Miguel. These ...
See more »

Crazy Credits

At the film's very end, after the final credits, Altimarano gives the audience an ambiguous, almost accusing look, as if he were asking it, "Would you or would you not have done this?" See more »


Referenced in The Boys & Girl from County Clare (2003) See more »


Gabriel's Oboe
Composed by Ennio Morricone
See more »

Frequently Asked Questions

See more »

User Reviews

Deeply human
2 March 1999 | by See all my reviews

I think "The Mission" is better than Joffé's "The killing fields". The background-story is about political power between Spain and Portugal in 1750 and a Cardinal sent by Rome. But above all it tells of two men. Jeremy Irons is Jesuit Gabriel who builds a mission in South American jungles. He has got a deep human character and believes in peace and love. Robert DeNiro is more interesting. After killing his brother in a duel, he changes from brutal slave-trader to an expiating Jesuit. One of the best sequences is when native Indians recognize DeNiro. It looks first as if an Indian would kill him with a knife, but then he cuts the rope with that DeNiro carried a heavy ballast of weapons and armings. DeNiro cries and laughs simultaneously because he is redeemed. This goes right through your heart. Chris Menges cinematography is wonderful. Ennio Morricone wrote one of the most remarkable scores of film history. Don't leave the cinema while cast and credits are running over the screen at the end! You would miss the last sequence!

44 of 55 people found this review helpful.  Was this review helpful to you? | Report this
Review this title | See all 204 user reviews »

Contribute to This Page

Stream Action and Adventure Titles With Prime Video

Explore popular action and adventure titles available to stream with Prime Video.

Start your free trial