Share

Watch It

On DVD: Now | On Blu-ray: TBD

Mississippi Burning Details

FULL SYNOPSIS

Mississippi Burning is an all-names-changed dramatization of the Ku Klux Klan's murders of three civil rights workers in 1964. Investigating the mysterious disappearances of the three activists are FBI agents Gene Hackman (older, wiser) and Willem Dafoe (younger, idealistic). A Southerner himself, Hackman charms and cajoles his way through the tight-lipped residents of a dusty Mississippi town while Dafoe acts upon the evidence gleaned by his partner. Hackman solves the case by exerting his influence upon beauty-parlor worker Frances McDormand, who wishes to exact revenge for the beatings inflicted upon her by her Klan-connected husband Brad Dourif. Many critics took the film to task for its implication that the Civil Rights movement might never have gained momentum without its white participants; nor were the critics happy that the FBI was shown to utilize tactics as brutal as the Klan's. The title Mississippi Burning is certainly appropriate: nearly half the film is taken up with scenes of smoke and flame. ~ Hal Erickson, Rovi

  • Release date:March 17, 1989

Awards

Awarded by
Nominee
Category
Year
Status
Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences Peter Biziou Best Cinematography 1988 Winner
American Society of Cinematographers Peter Biziou Best Cinematography 1988 Nominee
British Academy of Film and Television Arts Peter Biziou Best Cinematography 1989 Winner
National Board of Review Frances McDormand Best Supporting Actress 1988 Winner
Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences Frances McDormand Best Supporting Actress 1988 Nominee
National Board of Review Alan Parker Best Director 1988 Winner
Hollywood Foreign Press Association Alan Parker Best Director 1988 Nominee
Directors Guild of America Alan Parker Best Director 1988 Nominee
Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences Alan Parker Best Director 1988 Nominee
National Board of Review Gene Hackman Best Actor 1988 Winner
Hollywood Foreign Press Association Gene Hackman Best Performance by an Actor in a Motion Picture - Musical or Comedy 1988 Nominee
Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences Gene Hackman Best Actor 1988 Nominee
Berlin International Film Festival Gene Hackman Silver Bear for Best Actor 1989 Winner
Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences Robert F. Colesberry Best Picture 1988 Nominee
Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences Frederick Zollo Best Picture 1988 Nominee
Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences Gerry Hambling Best Editing 1988 Nominee
British Academy of Film and Television Arts Gerry Hambling Editing Award 1989 Winner
Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences Rick Kline Best Sound 1988 Nominee
Hollywood Foreign Press Association Chris Gerolmo Best Screenplay 1988 Nominee
Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences Danny Michael Best Sound 1988 Nominee
British Academy of Film and Television Arts Danny Michael Sound Award 1990 Winner
Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences Elliot Tyson Best Sound 1988 Nominee

Cast

Gene Hackman
as Rupert Anderson
Willem Dafoe
as Alan Ward
Frances McDormand
as Mrs. Pell
Brad Dourif
as Deputy Pell
R. Lee Ermey
as Mayor Tilman
Gailard Sartain
as Sheriff Stuckey
Stephen Tobolowsky
as Townley
Michael Rooker
as Frank Bailey
Pruitt Taylor Vince
as Lester Cowens
Badja Djola
as Agent Monk
Kevin Dunn
as Agent Bird
Zeke Davidson
as Lawyer
Ralnardo Davis
as Willie
Dan Desmond
as TV Commentator
Howard Feuer
Cullen Gilliland
as Lawyer
Robert Glaudini
as Agent Nash
Ken Magee
as Agent Reilly
Juliet Taylor
Simeon Teague
as Obie Walker
Tom Mason
as Judge
Geoffrey Nauffts
as Goatee
Rick Zieff
as Passenger
Gladys Greer
as Hattie
Jake Gipson
as Mose
Dianne Lancaster
as Waitress
Daniel Winford
as Fennis
Marc Clement
as Floyd Swilley
Larry Shuler
as Earl Cooke
Bob Penny
as Curtis Foy
Park Overall
as Connie
Darius McCrary
as Aaron Williams
Lou Walker
as Vertis Williams
Pat Funderburk
as Pell Maid
Dwight Boyd
as Interviewee
Linda Fuller
as Interviewee
George Isbell
as Interviewee
James Arnold Mayes
as Interviewee
George Mason
as Farmer
Charles Franzen
as Interviewer & Reporter
Virginia Bennett
as SNCC Interviewee
Tonea Stewart
as Mrs. Walker
Robert F. Colesberry
as Cameraman
Frederick Zollo
as Reporter
Judy Sasser
as Neighbor Woman
Mark Jeffrey Miller
as Fire Bomber
Mert Hatfield
as Fire Bomber
James Eric
as Fire Bomber
John P. Fertitta
as TV Commentator
Gary Moody
as Reporter
John Brook
as Reporter
Tobin Bell
as Agent Stokes
Daniel Chapman
as Agent MacMillan
Rick Washburne
as Agent Brodsky
Bernice Poindexter
as Grieving Mother
Brenda Dunlap
as Mrs. Cowens
Frankie R. Faison
as Eulogist
Ed Geldart
as Fire Bomber
Brenda Dunlap
as Mrs. Cowens
George Mason
as Farmer
Pat Funderburk
as Pell Maid
Ed Geldart
as Fire Bomber
Marc Clement
as Floyd Swilley
Robert Glaudini
as Agent Nash
George Isbell
as Interviewee
Darius McCrary
as Aaron Williams
Frederick Zollo
as Reporter
Dan Desmond
as TV Commentator
Frankie R. Faison
as Eulogist
Geoffrey Nauffts
as Goatee
Linda Fuller
as Interviewee
James Arnold Mayes
as Interviewee
Rick Washburne
as Agent Brodsky
Virginia Bennett
as SNCC Interviewee
Dwight Boyd
as Interviewee
Simeon Teague
as Obie Walker
Rick Zieff
as Passenger
John P. Fertitta
as TV Commentator
Judy Sasser
as Neighbor Woman
Lou Walker
as Vertis Williams
Larry Shuler
as Earl Cooke
Bernice Poindexter
as Grieving Mother
Zeke Davidson
as Lawyer
Gary Moody
as Reporter
Charles Franzen
as Interviewer & Reporter
Daniel Chapman
as Agent MacMillan
Tom Mason
as Judge
James Eric
as Fire Bomber
Jake Gipson
as Mose
Ken Magee
as Agent Reilly
Park Overall
as Connie
Daniel Winford
as Fennis
Tonea Stewart
as Mrs. Walker
Tobin Bell
as Agent Stokes
Ralnardo Davis
as Willie
Gladys Greer
as Hattie
Mert Hatfield
as Fire Bomber
Robert F. Colesberry
as Cameraman
John Brook
as Reporter
Mark Jeffrey Miller
as Fire Bomber
Bob Penny
as Curtis Foy
Dianne Lancaster
as Waitress
Cullen Gilliland
as Lawyer

Crew

Alan Parker
Director
Frederick Zollo
Producer
Robert F. Colesberry
Producer
Chris Gerolmo
Screenwriter
Alan Parker
Screenwriter
Peter Biziou
Cinematographer
Trevor Jones
Composer (Music Score)
Gerry Hambling
Editor
Geoffrey Kirkland
Production Designer
John Willett
Art Director
Jim Erickson
Set Designer
Aude Bronson-Howard
Costume Designer
Rick Kline
Sound/Sound Designer
Stan Parks
Special Effects
Aldric La'Auli Porter
First Assistant Director
John Robotham
Stunts
Juliet Taylor
Casting
Howard Feuer
Casting
Advertisement