Mission: Impossible (film series)

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Mission: Impossible
Blu-ray box set of the first five films
Directed by Brian De Palma (1)
John Woo (2)
J. J. Abrams (3)
Brad Bird (4)
Christopher McQuarrie (5–6)
Produced by Tom Cruise
Paula Wagner (1–3)
J. J. Abrams (4–6)
Bryan Burk (4–6)
David Ellison (5–6)
Dana Goldberg (5–6)
Don Granger (5–6)
Based on Mission: Impossible
by Bruce Geller
Starring Tom Cruise
(See below)
Distributed by Paramount Pictures
Release date
1996 – present
Country United States
Language English
Budget $650 million
Box office $2.779 billion[1]

Mission: Impossible is a series of American action spy films, based on the television series of the same name. The series is produced by and stars Tom Cruise as Ethan Hunt, an agent of the fictional Impossible Missions Force (IMF).

Beginning in 1996, the films follow the missions of the IMF's main field team under the leadership of Hunt, who is forced to take over after the team is betrayed from within in the first film. The series focuses on Hunt as the lead character as opposed to the ensemble cast structure of the television series, although some characters, such as Luther Stickell (played by Ving Rhames) and Benji Dunn (played by Simon Pegg) have recurring roles in the films.

The series is the 20th-highest-grossing film series of all time, with a worldwide gross of over $2.7 billion to date.[2] The sixth and most recent film, titled Mission: Impossible – Fallout, was released in July 2018.


Film U.S. release date Director Screenwriter(s) Story by Producer(s)
Mission: Impossible May 22, 1996 (1996-05-22) Brian De Palma David Koepp and Robert Towne David Koepp and Steven Zaillian Tom Cruise and Paula Wagner
Mission: Impossible 2 May 24, 2000 (2000-05-24) John Woo Robert Towne Ronald D. Moore & Brannon Braga
Mission: Impossible III May 5, 2006 (2006-05-05) J. J. Abrams Alex Kurtzman, Roberto Orci & J. J. Abrams
Mission: Impossible
Ghost Protocol
December 16, 2011 (2011-12-16) Brad Bird Josh Appelbaum & André Nemec Tom Cruise, J. J. Abrams and Bryan Burk
Mission: Impossible
Rogue Nation
July 31, 2015 (2015-07-31) Christopher McQuarrie Christopher McQuarrie & Drew Pearce Tom Cruise, J. J. Abrams, Bryan Burk, David Ellison, Dana Goldberg and Don Granger
Mission: Impossible
July 27, 2018 (2018-07-27) Christopher McQuarrie Tom Cruise, J. J. Abrams, Jake Myers, Christopher McQuarrie, David Ellison, Dana Goldberg and Don Granger

Mission: Impossible (1996)[edit]

Ethan Hunt is framed for the murder of his fellow IMF agents during a Prague Embassy mission gone wrong and falsely 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 2 (2000)[edit]

Ethan sends international thief Nyah Nordoff-Hall (Thandie Newton) undercover to stop rogue IMF agent, and Nyah's former lover, Sean Ambrose (Dougray Scott) from stealing a deadly virus to start a pandemic and sell the antidote to the highest bidder. The film was directed by John Woo.

Mission: Impossible III (2006)[edit]

Ethan, retired from being an IMF team leader and engaged to be married, assembles a team to face the elusive arms and information broker Owen Davian (Philip Seymour Hoffman) who intends to sell a mysterious dangerous object known as "The Rabbit's Foot". The film was directed by J.J. Abrams.

Mission: Impossible – Ghost Protocol (2011)[edit]

Ethan and the entire IMF are blamed for the bombing of the Kremlin while investigating an individual known only as "Cobalt" (Michael Nyqvist). He and three other agents are left to stop him from starting a global nuclear war. The film was directed by Brad Bird.

Mission: Impossible – Rogue Nation (2015)[edit]

Ethan Hunt comes under threat from the Syndicate, a near-mythical organization of rogue agents who kill to order. Faced with the IMF's disbandment, Hunt assembles his team for their mission to prove the Syndicate's existence and bring the organization down by any means necessary. The film was directed by Christopher McQuarrie.

Mission: Impossible – Fallout (2018)[edit]

When an IMF mission ends badly, the world is faced with dire consequences. As Ethan Hunt takes it upon himself to fulfill his original briefing, the CIA begins to question his loyalty and his motives. Hunt finds himself in a race against time, hunted by assassins and former allies while trying to prevent a global catastrophe. The film once again directed by Christopher McQuarrie.

Principal cast[edit]

Character Films
Mission: Impossible Mission: Impossible 2 Mission: Impossible III Mission: Impossible
Ghost Protocol
Mission: Impossible
Rogue Nation
Mission: Impossible
1996 2000 2006 2011 2015 2018
Ethan Hunt Tom Cruise
Luther Stickell Ving Rhames
Jim Phelps Jon Voight
Claire Phelps Emmanuelle Béart
Eugene Kittridge Henry Czerny
Franz Krieger Jean Reno
Sarah Davies Kristin Scott Thomas
Jack Harmon Emilio Estevez
Max Vanessa Redgrave
Sean Ambrose Dougray Scott
Ulrich Dominic Purcell
Nyah Nordoff-Hall Thandie Newton
Hugh Stamp Richard Roxburgh
Billy Baird John Polson
John C. McCloy Brendan Gleeson
Dr. Nekhorvich Rade Šerbedžija
Owen Davian Philip Seymour Hoffman
Benji Dunn Simon Pegg
Julia Meade Michelle Monaghan Michelle Monaghan[3]
John Musgrave Billy Crudup
Declan Gormley Jonathan Rhys Meyers
Rick Meade Aaron Paul
Lindsey Farris Keri Russell
Zhen Lei Maggie Q
Theodore Brassel Laurence Fishburne
William Brandt Jeremy Renner
Jane Carter Paula Patton
Kurt Hendricks Michael Nyqvist
Trevor Hanaway Josh Holloway
Marius Wistrom Samuli Edelmann
Sabine Moreau Lea Seydoux
Ilsa Faust Rebecca Ferguson
Solomon Lane Sean Harris
Alan Hunley Alec Baldwin
Janik Vinter Jens Hultén
August Walker Henry Cavill
Erica Sloan Angela Bassett
White Widow Vanessa Kirby

Additional crew & production details[edit]

Crew/detail Film
Mission: Impossible Mission: Impossible 2 Mission: Impossible III Mission: Impossible -
Ghost Protocol
Mission: Impossible -
Rogue Nation
Mission: Impossible -
Composer Danny Elfman Hans Zimmer Michael Giacchino Joe Kraemer Lorne Balfe
Editor Paul Hirsch Christian Wagner
Steven Kemper
Maryann Brandon
Mary Jo Markey
Paul Hirsch Eddie Hamilton
Cinematographer Stephen H. Burum Jeffrey L. Kimball Dan Mindel Robert Elswit Rob Hardy
Production companies Cruise/Wagner Productions Skydance Productions
Bad Robot Productions
TC Productions
Skydance Media
Bad Robot Productions
Distributor Paramount Pictures
Running time 110 minutes 123 minutes 125 minutes 133 minutes 131 minutes 147 minutes


Box office performance[edit]

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 #237
#222 $80 million [4]
Mission: Impossible 2 May 24, 2000 $57,845,297 $215,409,889 $330,978,216 $546,388,105 #169
#165 $125 million [5]
Mission: Impossible III May 5, 2006 $47,743,273 $134,029,801 $263,820,211 $397,850,012 #421 #271 $150 million [6]
Mission: Impossible –
Ghost Protocol
December 16, 2011 $29,556,629 $209,397,903 $485,315,477 $694,713,380 #177 #107 $145 million [7]
Mission: Impossible – Rogue Nation July 31, 2015 $55,520,089 $195,042,377 $487,671,890 $682,714,267 #204 #109 $150 million [8]
Total $236,102,118 $934,861,826 $1,844,500,297 $2,779,362,123 #23 #20 $650 million [9]
Average $47.2 million $187 million $368.8 million $555 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[edit]

Film Rotten Tomatoes Metacritic CinemaScore
Mission: Impossible 62% (53 reviews)[10] 59 (29 reviews)[11] B+[12]
Mission: Impossible 2 57% (146 reviews)[13] 59 (40 reviews)[14] B[12]
Mission: Impossible III 70% (221 reviews)[15] 66 (42 reviews)[16] A–[12]
Mission: Impossible – Ghost Protocol 93% (237 reviews)[17] 73 (47 reviews)[18] A–[12]
Mission: Impossible – Rogue Nation 93% (293 reviews)[19] 75 (46 reviews)[20] A–[12]
Mission: Impossible – Fallout 93% (59 reviews)[21] 86 (22 reviews)[22]


Some fans of the TV series were upset that Jim Phelps, team leader in the series, became a traitor in the first film, 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.[23] 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."[24] Peter Graves turned down an offer to portray Jim Phelps in the 1996 film because of Phelps being an antagonist.[25]

Change to theme music[edit]

The television version is in a rarely used 5/4 (five quarter-notes to a measure) time and is difficult to dance to,[26] 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 six films are stylized renditions of Schifrin's original iconic theme, preserving the 5/4 rhythm, by Danny Elfman, Hans Zimmer, Michael Giacchino, Joe Kraemer and Lorne Balfe respectively by the films' chronology. Most of the versions included in the score also retained the 5/4 time signature.[26]

However, for Adam Clayton and Larry Mullen, Jr.'s version featured on the first film's motion picture soundtrack, the time signature was changed to standard pop 4/4 (four quarter-notes to a measure) time to make it more dance-friendly, although the intro is still in 5/4 time.[26] 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[edit]


  1. ^ "Mission Impossible Moviesat the Box Office". Box Office Mojo. Retrieved December 17, 2017. 
  2. ^ "Mission: Impossible Movies at the Box Office". Box Office Mojo. Retrieved August 31, 2012. 
  3. ^ Patrick Hipes. "Michelle Monaghan Returning For 'Mission: Impossible 6'". Deadline.com. Retrieved June 13, 2017. 
  4. ^ "Mission: Impossible (1996)". Box Office Mojo. August 31, 2012. 
  5. ^ "Mission: Impossible II (2000)". Box Office Mojo. August 31, 2012. 
  6. ^ "Mission: Impossible III (2006)". Box Office Mojo. August 31, 2012. 
  7. ^ "Mission: Impossible – Ghost Protocol (2011)". Box Office Mojo. August 31, 2012. 
  8. ^ "Mission: Impossible – Rogue Nation (2015)". Box Office Mojo. August 1, 2015. 
  9. ^ "Mission Impossible Moviesat the Box Office". Box Office Mojo. Retrieved July 15, 2014. 
  10. ^ "Mission Impossible". Rotten Tomatoes. Flixster. Retrieved August 31, 2012. 
  11. ^ "Mission: Impossible". Metacritic. CBS. Retrieved August 31, 2012. 
  12. ^ a b c d e "Cinemascore". Cinemascore.com. Retrieved February 21, 2015. 
  13. ^ "Mission Impossible 2". Rotten Tomatoes. Flixster. Retrieved August 31, 2012. 
  14. ^ "Mission: Impossible II". Metacritic. CBS. Retrieved August 31, 2012. 
  15. ^ "Mission Impossible III". Rotten Tomatoes. Flixster. Retrieved August 31, 2012. 
  16. ^ "Mission: Impossible III". Metacritic. CBS. Retrieved August 31, 2012. 
  17. ^ "Mission: Impossible Ghost Protocol". Rotten Tomatoes. Flixster. Retrieved August 31, 2012. 
  18. ^ "Mission: Impossible Ghost Protocol". Metacritic. CBS. Retrieved August 31, 2012. 
  19. ^ "Mission: Impossible Rogue Nation". Rotten Tomatoes. Flixster. Retrieved August 12, 2015. 
  20. ^ "Mission: Impossible Rogue Nation". Metacritic. CBS. Retrieved July 24, 2015. 
  21. ^ "Mission: Impossible Fallout". Rotten Tomatoes. Flixster. Retrieved July 12, 2018. 
  22. ^ "Mission: Impossible Fallout". Metacritic. CBS. Retrieved July 12, 2018. 
  23. ^ 'Mission: Impossible' TV stars disgruntled. CNN. May 29, 1996.
  24. ^ Martin Landau Discusses 'Mission: Impossible' Movies, MTV Movies Blog, October 29, 2009
  25. ^ Eric Ditzian (March 15, 2010). "Peter Graves And The Legacy Of 'Mission: Impossible'". MTV.com. Retrieved February 27, 2014. 
  26. ^ a b c They Shot, He Scored by Dave Karger. Published June 7, 1996. Retrieved February 11, 2011.

External links[edit]