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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
1,306 ( 1,126)
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 »
Show more on IMDbPro »

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

The film is inspired by the murder by the Ku Klux Klan of voting rights activists James Chaney, Michael Schwerner, and Andrew Goodman. See more »

Goofs

When Mrs. Pell is in her living room watching the television game show 'To Tell the Truth', it appears to be well after dark outside. From 1959 until 1966, this half-hour program aired on CBS at 7:30 PM ET/6:30PM CT. During the summertime in Mississippi (when the film is set), it would still have been broad daylight outside while this program was being telecast. 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.
[...]
See more »

Connections

Referenced in All the Way (2016) See more »

Soundtracks

When We All Get to Heaven
Words by Eliza E. Hewitt
Music by Emily D. Wilson
Performed by Lannie Spann McBride, Barbara Gibson, Alisa R. Patrick
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Frequently Asked Questions

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User Reviews

 
it didn't really happen like this
29 July 2005 | by lee_eisenbergSee all my reviews

The recent belated conviction of Edgar Ray Killen (wouldn't you say that it's appropriate that he has "kill" in his last name?) brings to mind the story that inspired "Mississippi Burning". It's the story of how a group of Ku Klux Klan members murdered civil rights activists James Chaney, Michael Schwerner and Andrew Goodman in Philadelphia, Mississippi, in the summer of 1964. The movie portrays the murders, but FBI agents Rupert Anderson (Gene Hackman) and Alan Ward (Willem Dafoe) are made up. It turns out that the FBI bribed one of the murderers to rat on the other two, and all the while the FBI was tapping Schwerner's father's phone to see if he was a Communist.

So, they played with the facts. Hollywood often does that. Either way, "Mississippi Burning" still is a good movie, reminding us of a time in our country's history when we were about to explode.


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