Mission: Impossible (film series)

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Mission: Impossible
Blu-ray box set of the six films
Directed byBrian De Palma (1)
John Woo (2)
J. J. Abrams (3)
Brad Bird (4)
Christopher McQuarrie (5-6)
Produced byTom Cruise
Paula Wagner (1-3)
J. J. Abrams (4-6)
Bryan Burk (4-5)
David Ellison (5)
Dana Goldberg (5)
Don Granger (5)
Christopher McQuarrie (6)
Jake Myers (6)
Based onMission: Impossible
by Bruce Geller
StarringTom Cruise
Ving Rhames
Simon Pegg
(See below)
Distributed byParamount Pictures
Release date
Running time
769 minutes
CountryUnited States
BudgetTotal (6 films):
$828 million
Box officeTotal (6 films):
$3.570 billion

Mission: Impossible is a series of American action films based on the television series of the same name. The series is co-produced by and stars Tom Cruise, whose character is Ethan Hunt, a special agent of the 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 during 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 has received a positive reception from critics and is the 16th-highest-grossing film series of all time, with a worldwide gross of over $3.5 billion to date.[1] 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 and Brannon Braga
Mission: Impossible III May 5, 2006 (2006-05-05) J. J. Abrams Alex Kurtzman, Roberto Orci and J. J. Abrams
Mission: Impossible
Ghost Protocol
December 16, 2011 (2011-12-16) Brad Bird Josh Appelbaum and André Nemec Tom Cruise, J. J. Abrams and Bryan Burk
Mission: Impossible
Rogue Nation
July 31, 2015 (2015-07-31) Christopher McQuarrie Christopher McQuarrie and 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, Christopher McQuarrie, Jake Myers and J. J. Abrams

Mission: Impossible (1996)[edit]

Ethan Hunt is framed for the murder of his IMF team during a botched mission in Prague and accused of selling government secrets to an arms dealer known only as "Max". On the run, Ethan seeks to uncover the real traitor and clear his name. The film was directed by Brian De Palma.

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. The film was written and 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 – Fallout
1996 2000 2006 2011 2015 2018
Ethan Hunt Tom Cruise
Jim Phelps Jon Voight
Eugene Kittridge Henry Czerny
Claire Phelps Emmanuelle Béart
Franz Krieger Jean Reno
Luther Stickell Ving Rhames Ving Rhames
(uncredited cameo)
Ving Rhames
Sarah Davies Kristin Scott Thomas
Max Vanessa Redgrave
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
Owen Davian Philip Seymour Hoffman
Benji Dunn Simon Pegg
John Musgrave Billy Crudup
Declan Gormley Jonathan Rhys Meyers
Lindsey Farris Keri Russell
Zhen Lei Maggie Q
Theodore Brassel Laurence Fishburne
Julia Meade Michelle Monaghan Michelle Monaghan
(uncredited cameo)
Michelle Monaghan
William Brandt Jeremy Renner
Jane Carter Paula Patton
Kurt Hendricks Michael Nyqvist
Ilsa Faust Rebecca Ferguson
Solomon Lane Sean Harris
Alan Hunley Alec Baldwin
August Walker / John Lark Henry Cavill
Erica Sloane Angela Bassett
Alanna Mitsopolis / White Widow Vanessa Kirby

Additional crew and 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
TC Productions
Bad Robot Productions
Distributor Paramount Pictures
Running time 110 minutes 123 minutes 126 minutes 132 minutes 131 minutes 147 minutes


Box office performance[edit]

Film Release Date Box Office Gross All Time Ranking Budget References
Domestic Foreign Worldwide Domestic Worldwide
Mission: Impossible May 22, 1996 $180,981,856 $276,714,503 $457,696,359 242 229 $80 million [2]
Mission: Impossible 2 May 24, 2000 $215,409,889 $330,978,216 $546,388,105 171 168 $125 million [3]
Mission: Impossible III May 5, 2006 $134,029,801 $263,820,211 $397,850,012 433 278 $150 million [4]
Mission: Impossible - Ghost Protocol December 16, 2011 $209,397,903 $485,315,477 $694,713,380 181 110 $145 million [5]
Mission: Impossible - Rogue Nation July 31, 2015 $195,042,377 $487,671,890 $682,714,267 208 112 $150 million [6]
Mission: Impossible - Fallout July 27, 2018 $220,159,104 $570,858,348 $791,017,452 155 80 $178 million [7]
Total $1,155,020,930 $2,415,358,645 $3,570,379,575 20 16 $828 million [8]

Critical response[edit]

Film Rotten Tomatoes Metacritic CinemaScore
Mission: Impossible 63% (57 reviews)[9] 59 (29 critics)[10] B+[11]
Mission: Impossible 2 56% (147 reviews)[12] 59 (40 critics)[13] B[11]
Mission: Impossible III 70% (221 reviews)[14] 66 (42 critics)[15] A−[11]
Mission: Impossible - Ghost Protocol 93% (238 reviews)[16] 73 (47 critics)[17] A−[11]
Mission: Impossible - Rogue Nation 93% (299 reviews)[18] 75 (46 critics)[19] A−[11]
Mission: Impossible - Fallout 97% (371 reviews)[20] 86 (60 critics)[21] A[11]
Average 79% 70 A−


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.[22] 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."[23]

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,[24] 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. Most of the versions included in the score also retained the 5/4 time signature.[24]

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.[24] 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 Moviesat the Box Office". Box Office Mojo. Retrieved September 15, 2018.
  2. ^ "Mission: Impossible (1996)". Box Office Mojo.
  3. ^ "Mission: Impossible II (2000)". Box Office Mojo.
  4. ^ "Mission: Impossible III (2006)". Box Office Mojo.
  5. ^ "Mission: Impossible - Ghost Protocol (2011)". Box Office Mojo.
  6. ^ "Mission: Impossible - Rogue Nation (2015)". Box Office Mojo.
  7. ^ "Mission: Impossible - Fallout (2018)". Box Office Mojo.
  8. ^ "Mission: Impossible Movies at the Box Office". Box Office Mojo.
  9. ^ "Mission: Impossible (1996)". Rotten Tomatoes.
  10. ^ "Mission: Impossible Reviews". Metacritic.
  11. ^ a b c d e f "Cinemascore". cinemascore.com.
  12. ^ "Mission: Impossible 2 (2000)". Rotten Tomatoes.
  13. ^ "Mission: Impossible II Reviews". Metacritic.
  14. ^ "Mission: Impossible III (2006)". Rotten Tomatoes.
  15. ^ "Mission: Impossible III Reviews". Metacritic.
  16. ^ "Mission: Impossible Ghost Protocol (2011)". Rotten Tomatoes.
  17. ^ "Mission: Impossible - Ghost Protocol Reviews". Metacritic.
  18. ^ "Mission: Impossible Rogue Nation (2015)". Rotten Tomatoes.
  19. ^ "Mission: Impossible - Rogue Nation Reviews". Metacritic.
  20. ^ "Mission: Impossible - Fallout (2018)". Rotten Tomatoes.
  21. ^ "Mission: Impossible – Fallout Reviews". Metacritic.
  22. ^ 'Mission: Impossible' TV stars disgruntled. CNN. May 29, 1996.
  23. ^ Martin Landau Discusses 'Mission: Impossible' Movies, MTV Movies Blog, October 29, 2009
  24. ^ a b c They Shot, He Scored by Dave Karger. Published June 7, 1996. Retrieved February 11, 2011.

External links[edit]