Mission: Impossible (film series)

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Mission: Impossible
Blu-ray box set of the first three films
Directed by Brian De Palma (1)
John Woo (2)
J.J. Abrams (3)
Brad Bird (4)
Christopher McQuarrie (5)
Produced by Tom Cruise (1–5)
Paula Wagner (1–3)
J. J. Abrams (4-5)
Bryan Burk (4-5)
Screenplay by David Koepp (1)
Robert Towne (1–2)
Alex Kurtzman (3)
Roberto Orci (3)
J. J. Abrams (3)
André Nemec (4)
Josh Appelbaum (4)
Drew Pearce (5)
Will Staples (5)
Story by David Koepp (1)
Steven Zaillian (1)
Ronald D. Moore (2)
Brannon Braga (2)
Based on Mission: Impossible 
by Bruce Geller
Starring Tom Cruise
(See below)
Music by Danny Elfman (1)
Hans Zimmer (2)
Michael Giacchino (3–4)
Cinematography Stephen H. Burum (1)
Jeffrey L. Kimball (2)
Dan Mindel (3)
Robert Elswit (4-5)
Edited by Paul Hirsch (1, 4)
Steven Kemper (2)
Christian Wagner (2)
Maryann Brandon (3)
Mary Jo Markey (3)
Distributed by Paramount Pictures
Release date(s) 1996 – present
Country United States
Language English
Budget $500 million
Box office $2,096,647,856

The Mission: Impossible films are a series of action spy films based on the television series of the same name, produced by and starring Tom Cruise as IMF agent Ethan Hunt. The series is the 16th highest grossing film series of all time with over $2 billion worth of worldwide gross.[1]


Mission: Impossible[edit]

Released in 1996. Ethan Hunt is framed for not only the murder of his fellow IMF agents during a Prague Embassy mission gone wrong, but is also wrongly accused of selling government secrets to a mysterious international criminal known only as "Max".

Mission: Impossible II[edit]

Released in 2000. 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.

Mission: Impossible III[edit]

Released in 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[edit]

Released in 2011. Ethan Hunt, as well as the entire IMF are placed with the blame of the bombing of the Kremlin. He and three others must stop a man bent on starting a global nuclear war.

Fifth film[edit]

Main article: Mission: Impossible 5

A fifth Mission: Impossible film will be directed by Christopher McQuarrie[2] and Drew Pearce will be writing the film.[3] Paramount Pictures and Skydance Productions have signed a deal with Tom Cruise to reprise the role of Ethan Hunt and produce.[4] Jeremy Renner is reported to return as William Brandt.[5] On November 13, 2013, a release date of December 2015 was announced.[6] In November 2013, Simon Pegg confirmed that he will reprise his role as Benji.[7] In May 2014, Will Staples was announced as working on the script for the fifth film.[8] Cruise confirmed the fifth installment of the film will shoot in London.[9] In June, Renner confirmed he'll return for the fifth installment.[10] The film will be shot in Vienna in August before heading to the UK.[11]

In July 2014, Rebecca Ferguson was cast and Alec Baldwin was in talks for the fifth film.[12][13]

In August 2014, it was confirmed that Ving Rhames, who played Luther Stickell in the first four films, will return for the fifth film.[14]

Filming for the fifth film of the series began in August of 2014. On August 21, 2014, the first photos from the set in Vienna, Austria were released.[15]

Principal cast[edit]

Character Film
Mission: Impossible Mission: Impossible II Mission: Impossible III Mission: Impossible –
Ghost Protocol
Mission: Impossible 5
Ethan Hunt Tom Cruise
Luther Stickell Ving Rhames
Benjamín "Benji" Dunn   Simon Pegg
Julia Meade   Michelle Monaghan  
William Brandt   Jeremy Renner
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  
Max's Companion Andreas Wisniewski  
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  
Theodore Brassel   Laurence Fishburne  
Brownway   Eddie Marsan  
Jane Carter   Paula Patton  
Kurt Hendricks   Michael Nyqvist  
Trevor Hanaway   Josh Holloway  
Brij Nath   Anil Kapoor  
Sabine Moreau   Léa Seydoux  
The Secretary   Tom Wilkinson  
Marius Wistrom   Samuli Edelmann  


Film Director Producer Writer Composer Editor Cinematographer
Mission: Impossible Brian De Palma Tom Cruise
Paula Wagner
David Koepp
Robert Towne
David Koepp
Steven Zaillian
Danny Elfman Paul Hirsch Stephen H. Burum
Mission: Impossible II John Woo screenplay:
Robert Towne
Ronald D. Moore & Brannon Braga
Hans Zimmer Steven Kemper
Christian Wagner
Jeffrey L. Kimball
Mission: Impossible III J.J. Abrams Alex Kurtzman & Roberto Orci & J.J. Abrams Michael Giacchino Maryann Brandon
Mary Jo Markey
Dan Mindel
Mission: Impossible - Ghost Protocol Brad Bird Tom Cruise
J.J. Abrams
Bryan Burk
Josh Appelbaum & André Nemec Paul Hirsch Robert Elswit
Mission: Impossible 5 Christopher McQuarrie Tom Cruise
J.J. Abrams
David Ellison
Drew Pearce & Will Staples

Video games[edit]


Box office performance[edit]

Film Release date Box office gross Box office ranking Budget Reference
North America Outside North America Worldwide All time North America All time worldwide
Mission: Impossible May 22, 1996 $180,981,856 $276,714,503 $457,696,359 #152
#119 $80 million [16]
Mission: Impossible II May 24, 2000 $215,409,889 $330,978,216 $546,388,105 #102
#82 $125 million [17]
Mission: Impossible III May 5, 2006 $134,029,801 $263,820,211 $397,850,012 #294 #153 $150 million [18]
Mission: Impossible – Ghost Protocol December 16, 2011 (Limited)
December 21, 2011
$209,397,903 $485,315,477 $694,713,380 #109 #49 $145 million [19]
Total $739,811,483 $1,356,836,373 $2,096,647,856 $500 million [20]
List indicator(s)
  • (A) indicates the adjusted totals based on current ticket prices (calculated by Box Office Mojo).

Critical response[edit]

Film Rotten Tomatoes Metacritic
Mission: Impossible 61% (49 reviews)[21] 60 (16 reviews)[22]
Mission: Impossible II 57% (141 reviews)[23] 60 (33 reviews)[24]
Mission: Impossible III 70% (218 reviews)[25] 66 (38 reviews)[26]
Mission: Impossible – Ghost Protocol 93% (227 reviews)[27] 73 (38 reviews)[28]


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.[29] 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."[30]

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.[31]

Change to theme song[edit]

The television version is in a rarely used 5/4 (5 beats to a measure) time and is difficult to dance to, 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.[32]

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.[32]

However, for Adam Clayton & 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.[32] 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.


  1. ^ "Mission: Impossible Movies at the Box Office". Box Office Mojo. Retrieved 2012-08-31. 
  2. ^ Christopher McQuarrie Confirmed for MISSION: IMPOSSIBLE 5
  3. ^ 'Iron Man 3' Writer Drew Pearce to Pen Next 'Mission: Impossible' (Exclusive)
  4. ^ "Tom Cruise Signs to Star in Mission: Impossible 5". ComingSoon.net. 2013-05-06. Retrieved 2014-08-21. 
  5. ^ Elavsky, Cindy (2013-08-18). "Celebrity Extra". King Features. Retrieved 2013-11-07. 
  6. ^ Elavsky, Cindy (November 24, 2013). "Celebrity Extra". King Features. Retrieved February 27, 2014. 
  7. ^ Simon Pegg Confirms That He'll Return for Mission: Impossible 5
  8. ^ Kit, Borys (May 9, 2014). "'Mission: Impossible 5' Taps New Writer (Exclusive)". The Hollywood Reporter. Retrieved May 9, 2014. 
  9. ^ "Tom Cruise returns to London to film Mission Impossible 5". telegraph. Retrieved 29 May 2014. 
  10. ^ "‘Mission: Impossible 5′: Jeremy Renner Confirms Return". slashfilm. Retrieved June 6, 2014. 
  11. ^ Daniels, Nia (July 8, 2014). "Mission: Impossible 5 takes Tom Cruise to Vienna". kftv.com. Retrieved July 14, 2014. 
  12. ^ "Mission: Impossible 5 Finds Its Female Lead in Rebecca Ferguson". ComingSoon.net. 2014-07-09. Retrieved 2014-08-21. 
  13. ^ "Mission: Impossible 5 Targets Alec Baldwin as CIA Head". ComingSoon.net. 2014-07-09. Retrieved 2014-08-21. 
  14. ^ "Ving Rhames Returns for Mission: Impossible 5". www.superherohype.com. August 17, 2014. Retrieved August 17, 2014. 
  15. ^ "First Photos from the Set of Mission: Impossible 5!". ComingSoon.net. Retrieved 2014-08-21. 
  16. ^ "Mission: Impossible (1996)". Box Office Mojo. August 31, 2012. 
  17. ^ "Mission: Impossible II (2000)". Box Office Mojo. August 31, 2012. 
  18. ^ "Mission: Impossible III (2006)". Box Office Mojo. August 31, 2012. 
  19. ^ "Mission: Impossible - Ghost Protocol (2011)". Box Office Mojo. August 31, 2012. 
  20. ^ "Mission Impossible Moviesat the Box Office". Box Office Mojo. Retrieved July 15, 2014. 
  21. ^ "Mission Impossible". Rotten Tomatoes. Flixster. Retrieved August 31, 2012. 
  22. ^ "Mission: Impossible". Metacritic. CBS. Retrieved August 31, 2012. 
  23. ^ "Mission Impossible 2". Rotten Tomatoes. Flixster. Retrieved August 31, 2012. 
  24. ^ "Mission: Impossible II". Metacritic. CBS. Retrieved August 31, 2012. 
  25. ^ "Mission Impossible III". Rotten Tomatoes. Flixster. Retrieved August 31, 2012. 
  26. ^ "Mission: Impossible III". Metacritic. CBS. Retrieved August 31, 2012. 
  27. ^ "Mission: Impossible Ghost Protocol". Rotten Tomatoes. Flixster. Retrieved August 31, 2012. 
  28. ^ "Mission: Impossible Ghost Protocol". Metacritic. CBS. Retrieved August 31, 2012. 
  29. ^ 'Mission: Impossible' TV stars disgruntled. CNN. May 29, 1996.
  30. ^ Martin Landau Discusses 'Mission: Impossible' Movies, MTV Movies Blog, October 29, 2009
  31. ^ Eric Ditzian (March 15, 2010). "Peter Graves And The Legacy Of 'Mission: Impossible'". MTV.com. Retrieved February 27, 2014. 
  32. ^ a b c They Shot, He Scored by Dave Karger. Published June 7, 1996. Retrieved February 11, 2011.