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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1,888 ( 1,123)
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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Did You Know?

Trivia

During the filming of the racists versus reporters scenes on a bridge over the Big Black River near Bovina, Mississippi, two extras were nearly killed by a train when they ventured from a holding area onto a tall concrete-arch railroad bridge. They narrowly escaped injury by huddling on a tiny pedestal on the bridge's edge. See more »

Goofs

When the FBI agents are done driving Lester Cowens around in the back of the car and drop him off in the black part of town, the overhead microphone is clearly reflected in the passenger side of the windshield. 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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Soundtracks

Take My Hand Precious Lord
Words and Music by Thomas A. Dorsey
Performed by Mahalia Jackson
Courtesy of CBS Records
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User Reviews

Dynamite in Celluloid Form.
20 January 2003 | by tfrizzellSee 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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Frequently Asked Questions

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Details

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

Gross USA:

$34,603,943

Cumulative Worldwide Gross:

$34,603,943
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

Aspect Ratio:

1.85 : 1
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