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Mission: Impossible
Blu-ray box set of the five films
Directed byBrian De Palma (1)
John Woo (2)
J. J. Abrams (3)
Brad Bird (4)
Christopher McQuarrie (5–6)
Screenplay byDavid Koepp (1)
Robert Towne (1–2)
Alex Kurtzman (3)
Roberto Orci (3)
J. J. Abrams (3)
André Nemec (4)
Josh Appelbaum (4)
Christopher McQuarrie (5-6)
Story byDavid Koepp (1)
Steven Zaillian (1)
Ronald D. Moore (2)
Brannon Braga (2)
Christopher McQuarrie (5)
Drew Pearce (5)
Produced byTom Cruise (1–6)
Paula Wagner (1–3)
J. J. Abrams (4–6)
Bryan Burk (4–6)
David Ellison (5-6)
StarringTom Cruise
Ving Rhames
(See below)
CinematographyStephen H. Burum (1)
Jeffrey L. Kimball (2)
Dan Mindel (3)
Robert Elswit (4–5--6)
Edited byPaul Hirsch (1, 4)
Steven Kemper (2)
Christian Wagner (2)
Maryann Brandon (3)
Mary Jo Markey (3)
Eddie Hamilton (5-6)
Music byDanny Elfman (1)
Hans Zimmer (2)
Michael Giacchino (3–4)
Joe Kraemer (5-6)
Distributed byParamount Pictures
Release date
1996 – present
CountryUnited States (China and Germany for MI3)
Budget$650 million
Box office$2.770 billion

Mission: Impossible is a series of action spy thriller films based on the television series of the same name, produced by and starring Tom Cruise as IMF agent Ethan Hunt.

The series follows the missions of the Impossible Missions Force's main field team under the command of Hunt, who is forced to take over after the team is betrayed from within in the first film. As such, the series focuses on Hunt as the lead character as opposed to the ensemble cast structure of the television series.

The series is the 18th-highest-grossing film series of all time with over $2 billion worth of worldwide gross.[1]


Mission: Impossible (1996)[]

Ethan Hunt is framed for the murder of his fellow IMF agents during a Prague Embassy mission gone wrong and wrongly accused of selling government secrets to a mysterious international criminal known only as "Max". The action spy film was directed by Brian De Palma, and was produced by and starred Tom Cruise. Work on the script had begun early with filmmaker Sydney Pollack on board, before De Palma, Steven Zaillian, David Koepp, and Robert Towne were brought in. Mission: Impossible went into pre-production without a shooting script. De Palma came up with some action sequences, but Koepp and Towne were dissatisfied with the story that led up to those events. U2 band members Larry Mullen, Jr. and Adam Clayton produced an electronic dance version of the original theme song. The song went into top ten of music charts around the world and was nominated for the Grammy Award for Best Pop Instrumental Performance. The film was the third-highest-grossing of the year and received positive reviews from film critics.

Mission: Impossible II (2000)[]

Main article: Mission: Impossible II

Ethan Hunt sends Nyah Nordoff-Hall undercover to stop an ex-IMF agent's mad scheme to steal a deadly virus and sell the antidote to the highest bidder. The film was directed by John Woo and starred Tom Cruise, who also served as the film's producer. The movie has strong thematic similarities with Alfred Hitchcock's 1946 spy thriller Notorious.[2]

Mission: Impossible III (2006)[]

Ethan Hunt, retired from being an IMF team leader and engaged to be married, assembles a team to face a ruthless arms and information broker intending to sell a mysterious dangerous object known as "The Rabbit's Foot".

Mission: Impossible – Ghost Protocol (2011)[]

Ethan Hunt and the entire IMF are blamed for the bombing of the Kremlin. He and three others must stop a man bent on starting a global nuclear war.

Mission: Impossible – Rogue Nation (2015)[]

The IMF agency comes under threat from the Syndicate, a near-mythical organization of assassins and rogue operatives who kill to order. Faced with the IMF's disbandment, Ethan Hunt assembles his team for their most difficult mission yet — to prove the Syndicate's true existence and bring the organization down by any means necessary.

Mission: Impossible VI (2018)[]

On July 24, 2015, a report surfaced saying Paramount Pictures is already developing Mission: Impossible VI. At this time, no cast members were officially set to return for the sequel, but Cruise will again be producing along with David Ellison and Dana Goldberg at Skydance Productions and J.J. Abrams at Bad Robot.[3] On July 28, Tom Cruise confirmed on The Daily Show with Jon Stewart that a sixth Mission: Impossible film was being developed and will, it is hoped, begin production in 2016.[4] On November 19, McQuarrie was being eyed for returning as director while Rebecca Ferguson began discussions of reprising her role of Ilsa Faust.[5] By December 2015, McQuarrie announced that he will be returning to direct the sixth film and Ferguson will be reprising her role as Ilsa Faust as well.[6][7]

Principal cast[]

Character Film
Mission: Impossible
Mission: Impossible II
Mission: Impossible III
Mission: Impossible – Ghost Protocol
Mission: Impossible – Rogue Nation
Mission: Impossible VI
Ethan Hunt Tom Cruise
Luther Stickell Ving Rhames  
Benji Dunn   Simon Pegg  
William Brandt   Jeremy Renner  
Ilsa Faust   Rebecca Ferguson
Jim Phelps Jon Voight  
Claire Phelps Emmanuelle Béart  
Eugene Kittridge Henry Czerny  
Franz Krieger Jean Reno  
Sarah Davies Kristin Scott Thomas  
Max Vanessa Redgrave  
Jack Harmon Emilio Estevez  
Hannah Williams Ingeborga Dapkunaite  
Frank Barnes Dale Dye  
Sean Ambrose   Dougray Scott  
Nyah Nordoff-Hall   Thandie Newton  
Hugh Stamp   Richard Roxburgh  
Billy Baird   John Polson  
John C. McCloy   Brendan Gleeson  
Dr. Nekhorvich   Rade Šerbedžija  
Swanbeck   Anthony Hopkins
Wallis   William Mapother
Ulrich   Dominic Purcell
Owen Davian   Philip Seymour Hoffman  
John Musgrave   Billy Crudup  
Declan Gormley   Jonathan Rhys Meyers  
Lindsey Farris   Keri Russell  
Zhen Lei   Maggie Q  
Brownway   Eddie Marsan  
Theodore Brassel   Laurence Fishburne  
Julia Meade   Michelle Monaghan  
Jane Carter   Paula Patton  
Kurt Hendricks   Michael Nyqvist  
Anatoly Sidorov   Vladimir Mashkov  
Trevor Hanaway   Josh Holloway  
Brij Nath   Anil Kapoor  
Sabine Moreau   Léa Seydoux  
The Secretary   Tom Wilkinson  
Marius Wistrom   Samuli Edelmann  
Solomon Lane   Sean Harris  
Attlee   Simon McBurney  
British Prime Minister   Tom Hollander  
Janik "Bone Doctor" Vinter   Jens Hultén  
Alan Hunley   Alec Baldwin  


Year Film Director Producer Writer Composer Editor Cinematographer
1996 Mission: Impossible Brian De Palma Tom Cruise
Paula Wagner
David Koepp, Robert Towne
David Koepp, Steven Zaillian
Danny Elfman Paul Hirsch Stephen H. Burum
2000 Mission: Impossible II John Woo screenplay:
Robert Towne
Ronald D. Moore & Brannon Braga
Hans Zimmer Steven Kemper
Christian Wagner
Jeffrey L. Kimball
2006 Mission: Impossible III J. J. Abrams Alex Kurtzman & Roberto Orci & J. J. Abrams Michael Giacchino Maryann Brandon
Mary Jo Markey
Dan Mindel
2011 Mission: Impossible
– Ghost Protocol
Brad Bird Tom Cruise
J. J. Abrams
Bryan Burk
Josh Appelbaum & André Nemec Paul Hirsch Robert Elswit
2015 Mission: Impossible
– Rogue Nation
Christopher McQuarrie Tom Cruise
J. J. Abrams
Bryan Burk
David Ellison
Dana Goldberg
Don Granger
Christopher McQuarrie
Christopher McQuarrie & Drew Pearce
Joe Kraemer Eddie Hamilton


Box office performance[]

Film Release date Box office gross Box office ranking Budget
Opening weekend
(North America)
North America Other territories Worldwide All time
North America
All time
Mission: Impossible May 22, 1996 $45,436,830 $180,981,856 $276,714,503 $457,696,359 #198
#170 $80,000,000 [8]
Mission: Impossible II May 24, 2000 $57,845,297 $215,409,889 $330,978,216 $546,388,105 #136
#123 $125,000,000 [9]
Mission: Impossible III May 5, 2006 $47,743,273 $134,029,801 $263,820,211 $397,850,012 #362 #213 $150,000,000 [10]
Mission: Impossible – Ghost Protocol December 16, 2011 $29,556,629 $209,397,903 $485,315,477 $694,713,380 #143 #78 $145,000,000 [11]
Mission: Impossible – Rogue Nation July 31, 2015 $55,520,089 $195,042,377 $487,251,151 $682,293,528 #169 #80 $150,000,000 [12]
Total $219,330,695 $933,349,812 $1,836,828,407 $2,770,178,219 #23 #18 $650,000,000 [13]
Average $43.9 million $186.7 million $367.4 million $554.0 million $130 millon
List indicator(s)
  • (A) indicates the adjusted totals based on current ticket prices (calculated by Box Office Mojo).

Critical and public response[]

Film Rotten Tomatoes Metacritic CinemaScore
Mission: Impossible 63% (51 reviews)[14] 59 (29 reviews)[15] B+[16]
Mission: Impossible II 57% (144 reviews)[17] 59 (40 reviews)[18] B[16]
Mission: Impossible III 70% (219 reviews)[19] 66 (42 reviews)[20] A-[16]
Mission: Impossible – Ghost Protocol 94% (231 reviews)[21] 73 (47 reviews)[22] A-[16]
Mission: Impossible – Rogue Nation 93% (278 reviews)[23] 75 (46 reviews)[24] A-[16]


Some fans of the TV series were upset that Jim Phelps, team leader in the series, became a traitor in the first movie, selling the details of government agents to an arms dealer. Actor Greg Morris, who portrayed Barney Collier in the original television series, was so disgusted with the film's treatment of the Phelps character that he walked out of the theater before the film ended.[25] Martin Landau, who portrayed Rollin Hand in the original series, was equally negative concerning the films. In an MTV interview in October 2009, Landau stated: "When they were working on an early incarnation of the first one – not the script they ultimately did – they wanted the entire team to be destroyed, done away with one at a time, and I was against that", he said. "It was basically an action-adventure movie and not 'Mission.' 'Mission' was a mind game. The ideal mission was getting in and getting out without anyone ever knowing we were there. So the whole texture changed. Why volunteer to essentially have our characters commit suicide? I passed on it. The script wasn't that good either."[26]

Peter Graves turned down an offer to portray Jim Phelps in the 1996 film due to the fact Phelps was going to be revealed as an antagonist.[27]

Change to theme song[]

The television version is in a rarely used 5/4 (5 beats to a measure) time and is difficult to dance to,[28] as was proven by a memorable segment of American Bandstand in which teenage dancers were caught off-guard by Dick Clark's playing of the Lalo Schifrin single release.

The opening theme music for the first three films are stylized renditions of Lalo Schifrin's original iconic theme, preserving the 5/4 rhythm, by Danny Elfman, Hans Zimmer, and Michael Giacchino respectively by the films' chronology. Most of the versions included in the score also retained the 5/4 time signature.[28]

However, for Adam Clayton and Larry Mullen, Jr.'s remix featured on the first film's motion picture soundtrack, the time signature was changed to standard pop 4/4 (4 beats to a measure) time to make it more dance-friendly, although the intro is still in 5/4 time.[28] Also, the Limp Bizkit song "Take a Look Around" from the soundtrack to the second film was set to a similar 4/4 modification of the theme, with an interlude in 5/4.

See also[]

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  1. "Mission: Impossible Movies at the Box Office". Box Office Mojo. Retrieved 2012-08-31.
  2. Brad Brevet. "Did You Know 'Mission: Impossible 2' is a Remake of Hitchcock's 'Notorious'? Here, Have a Look..." Rope of Silicon. Retrieved 5 October 2018.
  3. "Mission: Impossible VI Already Developing at Paramount?". Slashfilm.
  4. "Tom Cruise Says Mission: Impossible 6 Aims to Shoot Next Year". IGN.
  5. Kroll, Justin. "Christopher McQuarrie Eyeing Return for 'Mission: Impossible 6' (EXCLUSIVE)". Variety. Retrieved November 19, 2015.
  6. "ChristopherMcQuarrie on Twitter". Twitter.
  7. Friedman, Roger (December 8, 2015). "Mission Accomplished: Rebecca Ferguson First Tom Cruise Leading Lady Doing a Second "M:I"". Showbiz 411.
  8. "Mission: Impossible (1996)". Box Office Mojo. August 31, 2012.
  9. "Mission: Impossible II (2000)". Box Office Mojo. August 31, 2012.
  10. "Mission: Impossible III (2006)". Box Office Mojo. August 31, 2012.
  11. "Mission: Impossible - Ghost Protocol (2011)". Box Office Mojo. August 31, 2012.
  12. "Mission: Impossible - Rogue Nation (2015)". Box Office Mojo. August 1, 2015.
  13. "Mission Impossible Moviesat the Box Office". Box Office Mojo. Retrieved July 15, 2014.
  14. "Mission Impossible". Rotten Tomatoes. Flixster. Retrieved August 31, 2012.
  15. "Mission: Impossible". Metacritic. CBS. Retrieved August 31, 2012.
  16. 16.0 16.1 16.2 16.3 16.4 "Cinemascore". Retrieved February 21, 2015.
  17. "Mission Impossible 2". Rotten Tomatoes. Flixster. Retrieved August 31, 2012.
  18. "Mission: Impossible II". Metacritic. CBS. Retrieved August 31, 2012.
  19. "Mission Impossible III". Rotten Tomatoes. Flixster. Retrieved August 31, 2012.
  20. "Mission: Impossible III". Metacritic. CBS. Retrieved August 31, 2012.
  21. "Mission: Impossible Ghost Protocol". Rotten Tomatoes. Flixster. Retrieved August 31, 2012.
  22. "Mission: Impossible Ghost Protocol". Metacritic. CBS. Retrieved August 31, 2012.
  23. "Mission: Impossible Rogue Nation". Rotten Tomatoes. Flixster. Retrieved August 12, 2015.
  24. "Mission: Impossible Rogue Nation". Metacritic. CBS. Retrieved July 24, 2015.
  25. 'Mission: Impossible' TV stars disgruntled. CNN. May 29, 1996.
  26. Martin Landau Discusses 'Mission: Impossible' Movies, MTV Movies Blog, October 29, 2009
  27. Eric Ditzian (March 15, 2010). "Peter Graves And The Legacy Of 'Mission: Impossible'". Retrieved February 27, 2014.
  28. 28.0 28.1 28.2 They Shot, He Scored by Dave Karger. Published June 7, 1996. Retrieved February 11, 2011.

External links[]