Missing (1982)



Critic Consensus: Thanks in large part to strong performances by Sissy Spacek and Jack Lemmon, Missing is both a gripping character exploration and an effective political thriller.

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Movie Info

Costa-Gavras's tense political drama opens in an unspecified South American country (though clearly intended to be Chile) in the throes of a military coup. American activist Charles Horman (John Shea), who has been a thorn in the side of the country's military ever since his arrival, suddenly disappears. In trying to find out what has happened, his wife Beth (Sissy Spacek) is stonewalled, not only by the ruling junta but by the American consulate. His father, staunchly patriotic Ed Horman (Jack Lemmon), joins Beth in her search. Ed and his daughter-in-law have never seen eye to eye politically, and he refuses to entertain the notion that his son's disappearance might be part of a larger conspiracy or cover-up. But as the days grow into weeks, Ed comes to the shattering conclusion that he and his family have been betrayed by the American government, on behalf of the "friendly" South American dictator who holds his people in a grip of iron. Adapted by Costa-Gavras and Donald E. Stewart from a book by Thomas Hauser, Missing was inspired by the true story of the late Charles Horman. In spite of (or perhaps because of) condemnation from certain high-ranking officials in the Reagan administration, the film went on to win an Academy Award for Best Adapted Screenplay, as well as nominations for Best Picture, Best Actor, and Best Actress.
PG (adult situations/language, nudity, violence)
Drama , Mystery & Suspense
Directed By:
Written By:
In Theaters:
Universal Pictures


Jack Lemmon
as Ed Horman
Sissy Spacek
as Beth Horman
John Shea
as Charles Horman
Melanie Mayron
as Terry Simon
Charles Cioffi
as Capt. Ray Tower
David Clennon
as Consul Phil Putnam
Richard Venture
as US Ambassador
Jerry Hardin
as Col. Sean Patrick
Richard Bradford
as Carter Babcock
Joe Regalbuto
as Frank Teruggi
Keith Szarabajka
as David Holloway
John Doolittle
as David McGeary
Janice Rule
as Kate Newman
Ward Costello
as Congressman
Hansford Rowe
as Senator
Tina Romero
as Maria
Richard Whiting
as Statesman
Terry Nelson
as Col. Clay
Robert Hitt
as Peter Chernin
M.E. Rios
as Mrs. Duran
Jorge Russek
as Espinoza
Alan Penwrith
as Samuel Roth
Alex Camacho
as Silvio
Kimberly Farr
as Young Woman
Jacqueline Evans
as Woman (Ford Foundation)
Linda Spheeris
as Woman (State Department)
Piero Cross
as Hotel Manager
Gary Richardson
as Embassy Operator
Lynda Spheeris
as Woman in US Embassy
Jorge Mancilla
as Airport Captain
Gerardo Vigil
as Sexy Soldier
Mario Valdez
as Laundry Officer
Jaime Garza
as Young Man at Stadium
Joe I. Tompkins
as Marine Officer
John Fenton
as Carlos
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Critic Reviews for Missing

All Critics (28) | Top Critics (5)

A story that could have made for a brisk jeremiad on 60 Minutes is stretched to 122 minutes of heroes fuming and villains purring their oleaginous apologies. Spacek and Lemmon, an appealing sweet-and-sour combo, sink in the swamp of good intentions.

Full Review… | March 29, 2009
TIME Magazine
Top Critic

Lemmon is superior as a man facing up to issues he never wanted to confront personally.

Full Review… | March 25, 2009
Top Critic

Spacek and Lemmon are fine as the missing man's wife and father, but what makes the film so overwhelming in places is its unending night-time imagery of a society coming apart at the seams.

Full Review… | June 23, 2006
Time Out
Top Critic

This movie might have really been powerful, if it could have gotten out of its own way.

Full Review… | October 23, 2004
Chicago Sun-Times
Top Critic

Among other things Missing does is to convince you that, next time, you're not going to waste your vote. The passive citizen is the citizen-victim.

Full Review… | May 20, 2003
New York Times
Top Critic

Graphic portrayal of dictatorship's abuses is unforgettable.

Full Review… | October 25, 2012
Common Sense Media

Audience Reviews for Missing


Incredible performances by Jack Lemon and Sissy Spacek under Gavras' strong direction make this not much remembered film worthwhile.

Matheus Carvalho
Matheus Carvalho

Super Reviewer


A thoughtful, sad docu-drama about the true story of an American father searching for his left-wing son who went missing during the Chilean coup d'état of '73. The pace and production is very late 70s / early 80s, but the story absorbs you into the journey the characters undertake.

Ross Collins
Ross Collins

Super Reviewer



Leigh Ryan
Leigh Ryan

Super Reviewer

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