A visually stunning epic, THE MISSION recounts the true story of two men--a man of the sword (Robert De Niro) and a man of the cloth (Jeremy Irons)--both Jesuit missionaries who defied the colonial forces of mighty Spain and Portugal to save an Indian tribe from slavery in mid-18th-century South America. Mendoza (De Niro) is a slave trader and colonial imperialist who murdered his own brother (Aidan Quinn) and seeks penance for his sins by becomining a missionary at Father Gabriel's (Irons) mountaintop mission; Gabriel is a devout and idealistic man who extols nonviolence and peaceful interaction with the natives and colonialists. Despite their differences, the two men must unite to save the mission when Spain, Portugal, and the Catholic church begin negotiating their boundaries in the area--negotiations that will affect both the freedom of the natives and the well-being of the Jesuit missionaries who have set up safe havens for them. Director Roland Joffé's sweeping masterpiece is a haunting account of the unjust treatment of the Guarani Indians of South America and the men who fought desperately, in very different ways, to save them. The film features a mezmerizing musical score by Ennio Morricone that weaves a stunning combination of church choirs and native Indian panpipes into the lush images of the Brazilian rainforest.
1986 - Cannes - Palme d'Or Winner
1986 - Academy Awards - Best Cinematography Winner
Ray McAnally - Irish Actor
Robert De Niro - Oscar Winning Actor/Director/Producer
Robert DeNiro - Oscar Winning Actor/Director/Producer
Ennio Morricone - Italian composer, THE GOOD, THE BAD AND THE UGLY (1966)
Leo Nichols - Italian composer, THE GOOD, THE BAD AND THE UGLY (1966)
Dan Savio - Italian composer, THE GOOD, THE BAD AND THE UGLY (1966)
Robert Bolt - Screenwriter/Playwright
Roland Joffé - British Director
Liam Neeson - Irish actor, EXCALIBUR/SCHINDLER'S LIST
Jeremy Irons - Actor, THE FRENCH LIEUTENANT'S WOMAN/REVERSAL OF FORTUNE
In Roland Joffé's THE MISSION, a swordsman and a priest, both Jesuit missionaries, defy the colonial forces of Spain and Portugal to save an Indian tribe in 18th-century South America.
Theatrical release: November 1986. Filmed on location over a 16-week period in Colombia and at the waterfalls of Cataratas del Iguazú on the border of Argentina, Paraguay, and Brazil. Estimated budget: $23 million. THE MISSION is based on a true story. Two of the missionaries in the film are played by real-life Jesuit clergymen, Daniel Berrigan and Tony Lawn. They also served as technical advisers on the film. The film features one of Aidan Quinn's first screen appearances. The National Board of Review named THE MISSION one of the 10 Best English-language films of 1986. THE MISSION won the Golden Palm at the 1986 Cannes Film Festival. Chris Menges received the Best Cinematography award from the Los Angeles Film Critics. His opening shot of a crucified man going over a waterfall is one of the most memorable scenes in film history.
"...Many dazzling sequences....Joffé is well in command of his emotional commitments..." - 09/01/1986 Sight and Sound, p.285-6
"...Spectacular scenery and an extraordinary high degree of production values....Director Joffe has come up with some stunning scenes..." - 05/21/1986 Variety
"...THE MISSION is haunting spectacle, it is serious and passionate....It provides Jeremy Irons with a chance for his purest and most searing film performance..." - 11/15/1986 Los Angeles Times, p.C1
"...Earnest in tone, melancholic in mood....If your tear ducts aren't tingling as its credits roll, check your soul..." - 07/01/2003 Total Film, p.130
"...Ennio Morricone's famous score sounds appropriately mystical and majestic..." - 05/13/2003 Hollywood Reporter, p.26-63