7.8/10
78,328
200 user 57 critic

Mississippi Burning (1988)

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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.

Director:

Alan Parker

Writer:

Chris Gerolmo
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Popularity
2,602 ( 90)
Won 1 Oscar. Another 16 wins & 24 nominations. See more awards »

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Cast

Cast overview, first billed only:
Gene Hackman ... Anderson
Willem Dafoe ... Ward
Frances McDormand ... Mrs. Pell
Brad Dourif ... Deputy Pell
R. Lee Ermey ... Mayor Tilman
Gailard Sartain ... Sheriff Stuckey
Stephen Tobolowsky ... Townley
Michael Rooker ... Frank Bailey
Pruitt Taylor Vince ... Lester Cowens
Badja Djola ... Agent Monk
Kevin Dunn ... Agent Bird
Frankie Faison ... Eulogist
Thomas B. Mason Thomas B. Mason ... Judge (as Tom Mason)
Geoffrey Nauffts ... 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:

View content advisory »
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Details

Official Sites:

MGM

Country:

USA

Language:

English

Release Date:

27 January 1989 (USA) See more »

Also Known As:

Three Lives for Mississippi See more »

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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
See more on IMDbPro »

Company Credits

Production Co:

Orion Pictures See more »
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Technical Specs

Runtime:

Sound Mix:

Dolby SR

Color:

Color (DeLuxe)| Color

Aspect Ratio:

1.85 : 1
See full technical specs »
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Did You Know?

Trivia

Frances McDormand's character, Mrs. Pell, is based on Connor Price, the wife of Sheriff Cecil Ray Price. See more »

Goofs

During the opening chase, the flashing light on the roof of the police car disappears and reappears several times. 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 The Fresh Prince of Bel-Air: Kiss My Butler (1990) See more »

Soundtracks

Try Jesus
Words and Music by Roberta Martin
Performed by Vesta Williams
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Frequently Asked Questions

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User Reviews

 
The film succeeds by being gripping, emotional, and disturbing…
22 June 2007 | by Nazi_Fighter_DavidSee all my reviews

Mississippi Burning is set in 1964 when three civil rights activists are murdered in a small town by the Ku Klux Klan… Two of them were white and one of them black…

Based on actual events in Philadelphia, the screenplay centers chiefly on the hostility relationship between the two FBI agents (Gene Hackman and Willem Dafoe) sent down to the small Mississippi town to seek information about the vanishing of the three victims… Immediately upon their arrival, they are greeted with hostility by the local law enforcement and the town in general…

Dafoe's Ward— in charge of the case—comes off as the embodiment of everything those men in the south dislike about the "Yankees" who are coming down there commanding them how to act…

Anderson(Hackman), who was once a Mississippi officer himself, has a special feel for how to settle things with Southerners… He uses his charm to win the confidence of the friendly wife of a Klansman deputy, whom he suspects holds the key to unravel the details of the case…

The scenes between McDormand and Hackman are the best of the film… They dramatize how quickly two lonely people can match...

The film succeeds by being gripping, emotional, and disturbing… Alan parker graphically explores the hatred, motivations and mentality that were once flaming through the American society in the 60's.


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