221 user 67 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.


Roland Joffé


Robert Bolt (original story & screenplay)
4,121 ( 52)
Won 1 Oscar. Another 14 wins & 27 nominations. See more awards »





Cast overview, first billed only:
Robert De Niro ... Mendoza
Jeremy Irons ... Gabriel
Ray McAnally ... Altamirano
Aidan Quinn ... Felipe
Cherie Lunghi ... Carlotta
Ronald Pickup ... Hontar
Chuck Low ... Cabeza
Liam Neeson ... Fielding
Bercelio Moya Bercelio Moya ... Indian Boy
Sigifredo Ismare Sigifredo Ismare ... Witch Doctor
Asuncion Ontiveros Asuncion Ontiveros ... Indian Chief
Alejandrino Moya Alejandrino Moya ... Chief's Lieutenant
Daniel Berrigan Daniel Berrigan ... Sebastian
Rolf Gray Rolf Gray ... Young Jesuit
Álvaro Guerrero ... 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

Plot Keywords:

jesuit | mission | slave | spanish | jungle | See All (84) »


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:

View content advisory »

Did You Know?


Chuck Low was dubbed by Fred Melamed. Low is a friend of Robert De Niro, and has played supporting roles in many of his films. See more »


After the Guarani boy sings, Cabeza calls him an animal. Father Gabriel gives a speech in the boy's defense. During the crowd's reaction, a brief cut to Father Gabriel shows his lips not moving, even though he's still speaking. 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 Ennio Morricone: TVC Perth Concert (2012) See more »


Gabriel's Oboe
Composed by Ennio Morricone
See more »

User Reviews

Will be watched for all time
23 September 1999 | by ProVidaSee all my reviews

The Mission is amoung the top ten or twenty films ever made. At this point it is my favourite film. It is an eloquent essay in faith and redemption. The two most moving scenes are the one in which the Brother enters the Jungle above the waterfall, from which the Indians have cast the previous Brother that went up to them, and knowing that the Indians are all about him unseen in the jungle with their poison tipped arrows, he sits down in a clearing and plays the hauntingly beautiful "Gabriel's obo" tune on his own obo. The Indian's are mesmirised and emerge and befriend him. The Brother thinks: "If I had an orchestra, I could have subdued the whole continent." The other scene is where the former Slave driver, who repents after killing his brother, whom he loved above all else, goes with the Brothers up to the settlement of the Indians whom he was taking away to slavery on sugar plantations. The former slave driver has been forgiven his sins but he nevertheless feels the need to do a private penance of dragging the battle armour of his previous life with him through the jungle. When the brothers come upon the Indians, the slave driver fully expects them to kill him for his deeds but instead they cut away the bundle of armour he is dragging and welcome him to them. This echoing of divine Love by the Indians enables the former slave driver to believe in his redemption and to be born again at one with God. The mission is a film that you won't forget. See it today. (Watch out for Liam Neeson in it too by the way.)

16 of 19 people found this review helpful.  Was this review helpful to you? | Report this
Review this title | See all 221 user reviews »

Frequently Asked Questions

See more »



UK | France


English | Guarani | Spanish | Latin

Release Date:

31 October 1986 (USA) See more »

Also Known As:

The Mission See more »

Filming Locations:

Colombia See more »


Box Office


$24,500,000 (estimated)

Opening Weekend USA:

$40,366, 2 November 1986

Gross USA:


Cumulative Worldwide Gross:

See more on IMDbPro »

Company Credits

Show more on IMDbPro »

Technical Specs


Sound Mix:

70 mm 6-Track (70 mm prints)| Dolby Stereo (35 mm prints)



Aspect Ratio:

2.35 : 1
See full technical specs »

Contribute to This Page

We've Got Your Streaming Picks Covered

Looking for some great streaming picks? Check out some of the IMDb editors' favorites movies and shows to round out your Watchlist.

Visit our What to Watch page

Recently Viewed