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
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.
The film was released four years after its uncredited source book "The Lost Cities of Paraguay" by Father C. J. McNaspy had been published. McNaspy also acted as a historical consultant to the film's production, which was loosely based on McNaspy's work. See more »
When Gabriel slips on the rocks near the beginning, climbing shoes are briefly visible before we once again see Gabriel climbing barefoot. See more »
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 ...
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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 »
I found myself emotionally devastated after seeing this film the first time. The film packs a punch in its contrast between the beauty of nature and human self-sacrifice on the one hand and the depths of human self-interest and ruthlessness on the other. Its theme is as relevant today as it was in the 1600s - what are the consequences of my actions, and what price must be paid by me and by others as a result? The film depicts several characters with whose choices the viewer can identify - the missionary, the repentant killer, the papal legate - and gives no easy answers to the choices that confront them. But the fact that there are no easy answers doesn't let them off the hook. In the end, they all have to take responsibility for what they do or fail to do.
The magnificent visuals of the Iguassu Falls and the moving score by Morricone (surely his best) all contribute to an unforgettable picture.
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