7.8/10
73,563
190 user 56 critic

Mississippi Burning (1988)

Trailer
1:34 | Trailer

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Two F.B.I. Agents, with wildly different styles, arrive in Mississippi to investigate the disappearance of some civil rights activists.

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Writer:

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2,292 ( 614)
Won 1 Oscar. Another 16 wins & 24 nominations. See more awards »

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Cast

Cast overview, first billed only:
... Anderson
... Ward
... Mrs. Pell
... Deputy Pell
... Mayor Tilman
... Sheriff Stuckey
... Townley
... Frank Bailey
... Lester Cowens
... Agent Monk
... Agent Bird
... Eulogist
Thomas B. Mason ... Judge (as Tom Mason)
... Goatee
Rick Zieff ... Passenger
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Storyline

Two FBI agents investigating the murder of civil rights workers during the 60s seek to breach the conspiracy of silence in a small Southern town where segregation divides black and white. The younger agent trained in FBI school runs up against the small town ways of his former Sheriff partner. Written by Keith Loh <loh@sfu.ca>

Plot Summary | Plot Synopsis

Taglines:

1964. When America was at war with itself.


Certificate:

R | See all certifications »

Parents Guide:

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Details

Official Sites:

MGM

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Release Date:

27 January 1989 (USA)  »

Also Known As:

Three Lives for Mississippi  »

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Box Office

Budget:

$15,000,000 (estimated)

Opening Weekend USA:

$225,034, 11 December 1988, Limited Release

Gross USA:

$34,603,943, 31 December 1989
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Company Credits

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Technical Specs

Runtime:

Sound Mix:

Color:

(DeLuxe)|

Aspect Ratio:

1.85 : 1
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Did You Know?

Trivia

The news interview clips were filmed by Alan Parker, with real locals from Mississippi, and their lines were ad-libbed with only minor prompting. Parker said it was at times an uncomfortable experience, since he wasn't always sure if they didn't believe what they were saying. See more »

Goofs

In the first barber shop scene, agent Anderson (Gene Hackman) says he's from Thornton, Mississipi, "Just a spit" from Tennessee. Thornton MS is nearly 130 miles from Tennessee. See more »

Quotes

[first lines]
Driver: Uh, oh.
Passenger: What is it?
Passenger: [seeing the car behind them] What do they want?
Driver: I don't know... just pass me... pass me...
Driver: [trying to identify the following car] Is it a cop?
Passenger: I can't see.
[they are hit from behind]
Driver: What the fuck are these jokers playin' at?
Rear passenger: Oh, they ain't playin', you better believe it.
[...]
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Connections

Referenced in Timeless: Pilot (2016) See more »

Soundtracks

Making Believe
Words and Music by Jimmy Work
Performed by Kitty Wells
Courtesy of MCA Records
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Frequently Asked Questions

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User Reviews

Dynamite in Celluloid Form.
20 January 2003 | by See all my reviews

A highly charged box of fireworks is the best way to describe "Mississippi Burning". It is 1964 and the Civil Rights Movement is tearing apart many areas in the deep south. Mississippi is definitely the hottest spot of all as the entire state seems to be split between whites and African Americans. After some white Civil Rights activists disappear, the FBI is called in to investigate (Oscar-nominee Gene Hackman and Willem Dafoe). Naturally the sheriff's department is difficult to say the least and it appears that it may have even had a part in the apparent murders. Frances McDormand (Oscar-nominated) proved that she was a truly gifted actress as the wife of one of the local deputies (an evil Brad Dourif). Alan Parker's smart Oscar-nominated direction and the Oscar-winning cinematography give the film a tense feel that leaves its audience visibly shaken during and after its running time. A great achievement. Easily one of the finest films of the 1980s. 5 stars out of 5.


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