Mission: Impossible (1996) - Rotten Tomatoes

Mission: Impossible1996

Mission: Impossible (1996)



Critic Consensus: Full of special effects, Brian DePalma's update of Mission: Impossible has a lot of sweeping spectacle, but the plot is sometimes convoluted.

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Movie Info

After he is framed for the death of several colleagues and falsely branded a traitor, a secret agent embarks on a daring scheme to clear his name in this spy adventure. Though it drew its name from the familiar television series, director Brian DePalma's big-budget adaptation shares little more with the original show than the occasional self-destructing message and the name of team leader Jim Phelps (Jon Voight). The film focuses not on Phelps but his protégé, Ethan Hunt (a reserved Tom Cruise), who becomes a fugitive after taking the blame for a botched operation. He responds by banding together with a group of fellow renegades, and he is soon maneuvering his way through a twisted series of double crosses that mainly serve as excuses for spectacular high-tech action sequences. Much of the activity revolves around a missing computer disk, with the film's most famous scene depicting Hunt's delicate efforts to retrieve the disk from a secure, well-alarmed room in CIA headquarters. ~ Judd Blaise, Rovi

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Tom Cruise
as Ethan Hunt
Jon Voight
as Jim Phelps
Henry Czerny
as Kittridge
Jean Reno
as Krieger
Dale Dye
as Frank Barnes
Marcel Iures
as Golitsyn
Karel Dobry
as Matthias
Emilio Estevez
as Electronics Expert
Valentina Yakunina
as Drunken Female IMF Agent
Marek Vasut
as Druken Male IMF Agent
Nathan Osgood
as Kittridge Technician
John McLaughlin
as TV Interviewer
Rolf Saxon
as CIA Analyst William Donloe
Andrzej Borkowksi
as Kiev Room Agent
Andreas Wisniewski
as Max's Companion
David Shaeffer
as Dipolmat Rand Housman
Rudolf Pechan
as Mayor Brandl
Gaston Subert
as Jaroslav Reid
Ricco Ross
as Denied Area Security Guard
Mark Houghton
as Denied Area Security Guard
Bob Friend
as Sky News Man
Annabel Mullion
as Flight Attendant
Garrick Hagon
as CNN Reporter
Jirina Trebicka
as Cleaning Woman
Andrzei Borkowski
as Kiev Room Agent
Maya Dokic
as Kiev Room Agent
Sam Douglas
as Kiev Room Agent
Olegar Fedoro
as Kiev Room Agent
Carmela Marner
as Kiev Room Agent
Mimi Potworowska
as Kiev Room Agent
David Schneider
as Train Engineer
Susan Doucette
as CIA Agent
Helen Lindsay
as Female Executive in Train
Pat Starr
as CIA Agent
Richard D. Sharp
as CIA Lobby Guard
Randall Paul
as CIA Escort Guard
Graydon Gould
as Public Official
Tony Vogel
as M15 Agent
Michael Rogers
as Large Man
Laura Brook
as Margaret Hunt
Morgan Deare
as Donald Hunt
David Phelan
as Steward on Train
Richard Sharp
as CIA Lobby Guard
Melissa Knatchbull
as Air Stewdardess
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Critic Reviews for Mission: Impossible

All Critics (62) | Top Critics (24)

The "set" pieces of this film come off like clockwork, but there's no connective tissue -- no story line, no solid characterization, etc. In the end, De Palma's work seems full of sound and visual fury without signifying much of anything.

January 5, 2018 | Full Review…

De Palma has a choppy, episodic sense of story, and he crafts individual scenes rather than telling a single unified story.

October 29, 2008 | Rating: C+ | Full Review…

The most dour, sexless piece of escapism in memory.

May 20, 2008 | Full Review…

Unlike most action films, Mission: Impossible's distinct appeal operates not so much on suspense but on improbability.

September 1, 2006 | Rating: 3/4 | Full Review…

Despite the snags, De Palma remains a virtuoso puppet-master, pulling the strings taut in a nail-biting robbery sequence, switching from micro to macro with Hitchcockian panache, and finally letting rip with a hell-for-leather climax.

June 24, 2006 | Full Review…
Top Critic

Humorless, charmless and flat.

January 18, 2002 | Full Review…

Audience Reviews for Mission: Impossible

Revisiting the first M:I film now with its portrayal of the early internet stages feels like watching cavemen trying to make fire. The agent thriller aspects of the film still work, DePalma knows how to direct a film, of course. They are oddly contradictory to the action scenes, though, making for an very strangely timed film. The iconic break-in to the CIA headquarters stands the test of time, the over the top finale with the CGI helicopter less so. Let's put it this way: after this and the mediocre second part the series got better and better.

Jens S.
Jens S.

Super Reviewer


The first and still by far my favorite entry in the Mission Impossible franchise. The action is great (Who can forget the iconic vault sequence), DePalma's direction is tight and classy, and the plot (while admittedly a bit convoluted) is full of great twists and turns.

Christopher Heim
Christopher Heim

Super Reviewer

While this film hasn't aged well, (especially when it comes to its use of computer technology), there is a reason that it is a classic action film, and has now spawned four sequels, the latest of which will be in theaters this year. Tom Cruise is probably the best action star of the past twenty years, mainly because he does his own stunts, even in an age where CGI is replacing a lot of stunt doubles. While this is saving many stunt people from injuries, the action looks fake and lowers the stakes for the audience. Tom Cruise is doing everything that you see onscreen. The scene in the vault is still relevant today because it looks and feels real for the audience. Iconic imagery from this film is still referenced today, and has informed many modern action films, probably making it the most influential action film of the decade, besides "The Matrix." The stakes of the first film revolve around the identities of a secret government agency, and Ethan Hunt (Cruise) is framed in a worldwide conspiracy. Hunt is almost completely alone in his quest to clear his name and help his other agents keep their secrecy intact. While many aspects of this film are still impressive today a lot of this does not have the same impact that it had nearly twenty years ago. Luckily the sequels are of the same caliber and incorporate modern technology and stunts.

Spencer S.
Spencer S.

Super Reviewer

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