7.4/10
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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.

Director:

Roland Joffé

Writer:

Robert Bolt (original story & screenplay)
Reviews
Popularity
4,673 ( 20)

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Cast

Cast overview, first billed only:
Robert De Niro ... Rodrigo Mendoza
Jeremy Irons ... Father Gabriel
Ray McAnally ... Cardinal Altamirano
Aidan Quinn ... Felipe Mendoza
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
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Storyline

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

Taglines:

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.


Certificate:

PG | See all certifications »

Parents Guide:

View content advisory »
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Details

Country:

UK | France

Language:

English | Guarani | Spanish | Latin

Release Date:

31 October 1986 (USA) See more »

Also Known As:

La misión See more »

Filming Locations:

Colombia See more »

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Box Office

Budget:

$24,500,000 (estimated)

Opening Weekend USA:

$40,366, 31 October 1986

Gross USA:

$17,218,023
See more on IMDbPro »

Company Credits

Show more on IMDbPro »

Technical Specs

Runtime:

Sound Mix:

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

Color:

Color

Aspect Ratio:

2.35 : 1
See full technical specs »
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Did You Know?

Trivia

The film was entered into competition at the Cannes Film Festival in 1986, where it won both the C.S.T. Prize (the Technical Grand Prize) and the prestigious top award the Palme d'Or, which were awarded to Director Roland Joffé. See more »

Goofs

When Gabriel slips on the rocks near the beginning, climbing shoes are briefly visible before we once again see Gabriel climbing barefoot. See more »

Quotes

[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 »

Connections

Referenced in Satanic Sounds of The 70's (2015) See more »

Soundtracks

Gabriel's Oboe
Composed by Ennio Morricone
See more »

Frequently Asked Questions

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User Reviews

A revisit is long overdue
12 June 2004 | by lindalindaSee all my reviews

After hearing a quick clip from the soundtrack recently I decided to have another look at 'The Mission' which I hadn't seen for more than ten years. Interesting viewing in these days when epics abound: Lord of the Rings, Gladiator, Troy etc.

The first thing that struck me was the intelligence of the script which often seems an afterthought in today's big budget jobs. Robert Bolt weaves an intriguing web of characters; mercenary, slavetrader, starcrossed lover, papal emissary and man of faith. The passion of Robert de Niro's Mendoza beautifully contrasts the quiet firm conviction of Jeremy Irons' Gabriel. And the moral dilemma facing the Catholic Church, whether to abandon influence abroad for the sake of power at home, is ably brought to life in the tortured mind of Ray McAnally's Altamirano. This man sent from Rome by the Pope himself has the power of life and death over the Guarani Indians and the Jesuit priests who have dedicated their lives to Christian service in the deepest regions of the South American rainforest.

The film isn't perfect by any means: I would have liked better representation of at least one Guarani character but the integrity of Joffe's direction and Chris Menges' spectacular camera-work make this one film you have to see. And there's that lovely soundtrack by Ennio Morricone.

We may be more sophisticated these days in terms of technology, sound engineering and special effects but the lesson from 'The Mission' for today's directors has to be: it's the story, stupid.


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