Mississippi Burning

Critics Consensus

Mississippi Burning draws on real-life tragedy to impart a worthy message with the measured control of an intelligent drama and the hard-hitting impact of a thriller.

84%

TOMATOMETER

Total Count: 25

90%

Audience Score

User Ratings: 39,446

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Movie Info

When a group of civil rights workers goes missing in a small Mississippi town, FBI agents Alan Ward (Willem Dafoe) and Rupert Anderson (Gene Hackman) are sent in to investigate. Local authorities refuse to cooperate with them, and the African American community is afraid to, precipitating a clash between the two agents over strategy. As the situation becomes more volatile, the direct approach is abandoned in favor of more aggressive, hard-line tactics.

Cast & Crew

Gene Hackman
Agent Rupert Anderson
Willem Dafoe
Agent Alan Ward
Brad Dourif
Deputy Clinton Pell
R. Lee Ermey
Mayor Tilman
Gailard Sartain
Sheriff Ray Stuckey
Stephen Tobolowsky
Clayton Townley
Michael Rooker
Frank Bailey
Chris Gerolmo
Screenwriter
Peter Biziou
Cinematographer
Gerry Hambling
Film Editor
Trevor Jones
Original Music
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News & Interviews for Mississippi Burning

Critic Reviews for Mississippi Burning

All Critics (25) | Top Critics (6) | Fresh (21) | Rotten (4)

Audience Reviews for Mississippi Burning

  • Dec 30, 2013
    It's hard to believe that Willem Dafoe was young and not quite so strange looking at one point. He and Hackman have excellent chemistry as they attempt to investigate not just a crime but an entire culture.
    John B Super Reviewer
  • Nov 18, 2013
    There are many movies that do not stand the test of time, but this isn't one of them. Great direction, story, and acting. A moving must see depiction of the state of affairs in the United States in the 1960's. A time of change.This is filmmaking at it's best. Appalling to me, however, that the culprits received such little jail time at the end (and had to be convicted of lesser crimes JUST to convict them of something).
    Cynthia S Super Reviewer
  • Sep 12, 2012
    Mississippi Burning is a movie with it's heart in the right place. Parker & company do their very best to immerse the viewer into a time and place unimaginable by many Americans of a younger generations. For the most part they pull it off. This is aided by great performances from Hackman who plays a shrewd detective that has been around the block a few times & a young Dafoe, an ideologue who cannot comprehend how this sort of madness has come to pass. The film at times feels like a horror film, which I found fitting as this was a truly terrifying time for Southern blacks. Trevor Jonesâ(TM) mesmerizing score is outstanding. It feels like it is oozing out of the speakers & saturating your bones. This in conjunction with the filmâ(TM)s dark & gritty look leaves the viewer with an overall unsettling feeling. My main problem with the film unfortunately has to do with the script. While entertaining, I couldn't help but feel a bit confused by the "love" story that was awkwardly forced in. Also, while there is a satisfaction that comes with watching a little revenge porn, having the detectives stoop to such low levels in order to bring the criminals to justice felt a bit wrong. I understand the old adage that one must âfight fire with fire.❠However, this type of racial subjugation was sustained due to the use of macabre terror tactics. The film seems to suggest that the only way to end evil is to partake in it. It doesnâ(TM)t explore the consequences of this course of action and everything seems to fall into place after the detectives embrace these brutal tactics. A message a found a bit disconcerting. Overall, Mississippi Burning is an entertaining, albeit one-dimensional, look at the ruthlessness of the Southern Civil Rights Movement.
    Reid V Super Reviewer
  • Oct 19, 2011
    What a cinematic achievement! "Mississippi Burning" is not only my favorite Alan Parker film, but also one of the best that I have seen. It is such a great film, featuring some powerful performances and impeccable direction. Rarely does one find such an emotionally brilliant picture.
    Stephen E Super Reviewer

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