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Mission: Impossible (1996)


Average Rating: 5.9/10
Reviews Counted: 49
Fresh: 30
Rotten: 19

Critics Consensus: Full of special effects, Brian DePalma's update of Mission: Impossible has a lot of sweeping spectacle, but the plot is sometimes convoluted.

Average Rating: 5.3/10
Reviews Counted: 19
Fresh: 10
Rotten: 9

Critics Consensus: Full of special effects, Brian DePalma's update of Mission: Impossible has a lot of sweeping spectacle, but the plot is sometimes convoluted.


Average Rating: 3.3/5
User Ratings: 863,542



Movie Info

After he is framed for the death of several colleagues and falsely branded a traitor, a secret agent embarks on a daring scheme to clear his name in this spy adventure. Though it drew its name from the familiar television series, director Brian DePalma's big-budget adaptation shares little more with the original show than the occasional self-destructing message and the name of team leader Jim Phelps (Jon Voight). The film focuses not on Phelps but his protégé, Ethan Hunt (a reserved Tom Cruise), … More

PG-13 (for some intense action violence)
Mystery & Suspense , Action & Adventure
Directed By:
Written By:
Steven Zaillian , Robert Towne , David Koepp
In Theaters:
Jan 17, 1998
Paramount Pictures - Official Site


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Critic Reviews for Mission: Impossible

All Critics (52) | Top Critics (22) | Fresh (30) | Rotten (19) | DVD (24)

The most dour, sexless piece of escapism in memory.

Full Review… | May 20, 2008
Top Critic

Despite the snags, De Palma remains a virtuoso puppet-master, pulling the strings taut in a nail-biting robbery sequence, switching from micro to macro with Hitchcockian panache, and finally letting rip with a hell-for-leather climax.

Full Review… | June 24, 2006
Time Out
Top Critic

Humorless, charmless and flat.

Full Review… | January 18, 2002
Washington Post
Top Critic

Every effect is so calculated that only the conscious minds of filmmakers and viewers are engaged--and not by very much or for very long.

Full Review… | January 1, 2000
Chicago Reader
Top Critic

Tom Cruise looks cool and holds our attention while doing neat things that we don't quite understand.

Full Review… | January 1, 2000
Chicago Sun-Times
Top Critic

Smart, ambitious, occasionally elegant.

Full Review… | January 1, 2000
Detroit News
Top Critic

What used to be an IMF team effort turned into another star vehicle for Tom Cruise.

Full Review… | December 5, 2011
Movie Metropolis

Sensational, implausible, irresistible to teens.

Full Review… | January 2, 2011
Common Sense Media

De Palma has a choppy, episodic sense of story, and he crafts individual scenes rather than telling a single unified story.

Full Review… | October 29, 2008
Decent Films Guide

It's a mission De Palma shouldn't have chosen to accept.

Full Review… | July 18, 2008

Nimble, expertly contrived summer entertainment that doesn't insult the intelligence.

Full Review… | May 20, 2008
TV Guide's Movie Guide

Unlike most action films, Mission: Impossible's distinct appeal operates not so much on suspense but on improbability.

Full Review… | September 1, 2006
Slant Magazine

Mission: Impossible helps remind us why the 1990s was such a powerhouse decade for great movies.

Full Review… | May 12, 2006

...succeeds in offering up several exciting and suspenseful sequences, though one can't help but wish that the dialogue-based moments packed the same sort of punch.

Full Review… | May 6, 2006
Reel Film Reviews

Each scene in and of itself plays very interestingly, even if they don't always logically lead one into the next scene.

Full Review… | April 14, 2006
Combustible Celluloid

An incredibly boring and confusing espionage thriller...So inept on so many levels that it could easily be called The Bonfire of the Secret Agents.

January 23, 2006
Fantastica Daily

Unfortunately, two scenes and a screwed up script, plus a big plot disappointment, do not a recommendation make.

Full Review… | April 9, 2005
Reeling Reviews

A solid piece of summer escapist entertainment.

Full Review… | January 8, 2005

Check your brain at the door, wallow in the special effects, and ride it out until September when good old-fashioned action will once again prevail.

May 14, 2003
Palo Alto Weekly

I was riveted.

Full Review… | September 10, 2002
Montreal Film Journal

A non-stop fun run through Europe and the CIA headquarters.

Full Review… | April 17, 2002
Film Scouts

Great start, but the movie keeps fighting its own internal logic.

Full Review… | January 1, 2000
Philadelphia City Paper

Audience Reviews for Mission: Impossible


Directors Cat
Directors Cat

Super Reviewer

"I am seeing these movies in an odd order. I seen the last one first, the first one second, and the third one third oddly enough. I have yet to see the second one, but it's on my list of films to watch next. This one has been my least favorite of the ones I've seen so far. The action is good and the story is solid. I just didn't find it as good as the last nor as entertaining as the third. Which actually is a compliment to this series, cause they get better as they go. Great acting, good action, and an interesting story. One to see."


Super Reviewer


Absolutely loved it!

Dead Angel

Super Reviewer


A good start for the trilogy, the cast is impressive and the look is super cool, just one problem, the plot is rather hard to follow, you end up just seeing it for the set pieces. There are of course some very tasty action sequences, the chopper in the tunnel being one but Cruise dangling on ropes whilst hacking a computer being the top attraction here, truly tense and super suspense filled sequence, shame the whole film doesn't quite live up to that moment.

The film isn't amazing but it holds its own well enough, slightly better than 'Bond' in my view, more of a younger version perhaps. Nice ensemble cast which all work well together throughout the film, never too sure who may get killed or double cross the team, its also closer to the original source material as 'Hunt' always worked in a team, it didn't solely revolve around Hunt, well not too much.

A good 'light' action flick which everyone can enjoy as there is no excessive violence or blood, better than 'Bond', on par with 'Indy' but not as hard as 'Die Hard'.

Phil Hubbs

Super Reviewer

Mission: Impossible Quotes

Are you sure we can do this?
Ethan Hunt:
We're going to do it. *Main theme plays*
– Submitted by Owen D (2 years ago)
Ethan Hunt:
One, two, three, toast. TOAST!
– Submitted by Christopher H (3 years ago)
Ethan Hunt:
Red light, green light.
– Submitted by Christopher H (3 years ago)
Ethan Hunt:
[Realizing Jim is the mole] Why Jim? Why?
Jim Phelps:
Well, you think about it Ethan, it was inevitable. No more cold war. No more secrets you keep from yourself. Answer to no one but yourself. Then, you wake up one morning and find out the President is running the country without your permission. The son of a bitch, how dare he. Then you realize, it's over. You are an obsolete peice of hardware, not worth upgrading, you got a lousy marriage, and 62 grand a year.
– Submitted by Christopher H (3 years ago)
Ethan Hunt:
I don't communicate very well through a shroud.
If Max doesn't like what you have to say, you will be wearing that shroud indefinitely.
– Submitted by Christopher H (3 years ago)
Ethan Hunt:
Well, my mom was a little confused how the DEA could mistake her and Uncle Donald for a couple of dope smugglers in the Florida Keys.
– Submitted by Christopher H (3 years ago)

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