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Mississippi Burning Academy Award Winner! Academy Award Nomination! Academy Award Nomination! Academy Award Nomination! Academy Award Nomination! Academy Award Nomination! Academy Award Nomination! 

By Ali Davis

Gene Hackman and Willem Dafoe star in this well-intentioned and largely successful civil rights-era thriller. Mississippi Burning, using the real-life 1964 disappearance of three civil rights workers as its inspiration, tells the story of two FBI men (Hackman and Dafoe, entertainingly called "Hoover Boys" by the locals) who come in to try to solve the crime. Hackman is a former small-town Mississippi sheriff himself, while Dafoe is a by-the-numbers young hotshot. Yes, there is some tension between the two. The movie has an interesting fatalism, as all the FBI's best efforts incite more and more violence, which becomes disturbing--the film's message, perhaps inadvertently, seems to be that vigilantism is the only real way to get things done. The brilliant Frances McDormand, here early in her career, is not given enough to do but still does it well enough to have racked up an Oscar® nomination for Best Supporting Actress. (Hackman also received a nomination for Best Actor, and the film won an Academy Award for Cinematography). The story line of Mississippi Burning is ultimately unsatisfying--it is, after all, the story of white men coming in to rescue poor blacks--but it is beautifully shot and very watchable and features a terrific cast playing at the top of their games.

Academy Awards

Mississippi Burning received an Academy Award for Cinematography (Peter Biziou). Mississippi Burning also received Academy Awards nominations for Best Picture (Frederick Zollo - Producer, Robert F. Colesberry - Producer), Actor (Gene Hackman), Supporting Actress (Frances McDormand), Director (Alan Parker), Film Editing (Gerry Hambling) and Sound (Robert Litt, Elliot Tyson, Rick Kline, Danny Michael).

 

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FILM FACTS

Buy this VHS movie from Amazon.com! (Click here!)Buy this DVD from Amazon.com! (Click here!)Buy this soundtrack from Amazon.com! (Click here!)Rated RNot on an American Film Institute 100 list

Director: Alan Parker

Stars: Gene Hackman, Willem Dafoe, Frances McDormand, Brad Dourif

Released: December 9, 1988

Availability: DVD VHS CD


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