Director: J.J. Abrams
Writter: Alex Kurtzman, Roberto Orci
Tom Plays: Ethan Hunt
Status: ON DVD


Former spy Ethan Hunt is called back into action to recover a missing IMF Agent. But complications arise when his fiancée is captured and he must fight to get her back.


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Crew or equipment visible: Camera operator visible in far left corner of Ethan’s sunglasses at the funeral service.

Continuity: When Ethan is writing the calculations for the building jumps on the window, the math changes between shots.

Errors in geography: The location of Owen Davian’s release is said to take place on the Bay Bridge which is over the Chesapeake Bay in Maryland. As the helicopter is leaving the scene with Davian, Ethan Hunt jumps into a convertible and continues along a bridge with the Lincoln Memorial in the background. The Lincoln Memorial is about an hour away from the Bay Bridge. The bridge with the Lincoln Memorial in the background is off Rte 395 going from Northern Virginia into DC.

Factual errors: There are no direct flight between Washington, D.C. and Helsinki, Finland.

Continuity: After Ethan shoots down the jet on the bridge, it is seen blowing up and the helicopter swings away. A few seconds later, the helicopter is back to its normal position as if it never occurred.

Continuity: As Owen Davian is being transported along the bridge, the fly over shot shows no cars passing next to the caravan, but then the camera cuts to a car behind the caravan and suddenly there are cars.

Crew or equipment visible: When Ethan’s team return from China and the camera pans around the airplane the entire crew can be seen in the red painted part of the plane.

Audio/visual unsynchronized: When Ethan is fleeing the scene of the bridge attack in the Mercedes convertible, we see him steering with one hand and using his phone with the other, but the soundtrack indicates manual gear-changes are being performed.

Continuity: When they are being attacked and shot at on the bridge, Ethan’s back left jean pocket is ripped. After recovering from the almost fall off the bridge, his jeans are no longer ripped.

Continuity: In the final scenes as Ethan is running through the narrow streets of Shanghai, he is almost hit by a truck traveling at quite a speed. As he turns the corner from where the truck has just come, we can see that it is narrow and there are pedestrians in the middle of the road. Not the sort of road for trucks to be traveling at speed.

Continuity: Ethan is told to meet ‘at the crack of dawn’ the next morning for the mission, but when Ethan appears the next morning it is obvious the outdoor shadows are near mid-day.

Errors in geography: The railway wagons in the yard at the factory in Berlin have American-style couplings, not European ones.

Errors in geography: The truck that Luther is in in the factory in Berlin is an American truck as vehicles in Europe don’t have indicators (turn signals) switched on all the time.

Continuity: When Ethan is having the thing in his brain detonated, Julia Meade hides behind a wall to avoid gun fire. Her position on the wall changes to where her shoulder is over the wall and therefore able to get shot, back and forth throughout the whole sequence.

Errors in geography: In the final scenes as Ethan is just about to run through the streets of Shanghai, you can see a real map of Shanghai and the place where Ethan is. In the next scene, Ethan escapes through the rooftop and you can see a village, which in reality isn’t there, because at this point of the map there are traffic routes and tourist streets. Then he runs through an old China street with old fashioned prototype Chinese, which in reality is a modern city street with normal people.

Factual errors: In the final scenes when Owen Davian is killed, there is a shot of a taxi with the Chinese characters indicating it is a bus.

Continuity: In the chapter when Ethan parachutes from the building having recovered the rabbit’s foot, when he is picked up by the Land Rovers, the road condition alternates from dry to wet and back to dry again in the space of seconds.

Crew or equipment visible: When Ethan is escaping from IMF headquarters and climbing up the elevator shaft cable, you can see the back of his coat being lifted up from the cord that is lifting him.

Errors in geography: The GPS coordinates N57,50 E21,00 shown at 0:10:06 are in fact a location in Baltic Sea and not “near Berlin”

Continuity: When Davian is being kidnapped in the bathroom, as Hunt is coughing to kill time, the camera switches back between Hunt and the bodyguard, the tissue he is holding continually switches between his left and right hands.

Revealing mistakes: When Ethan is lying atop the Vatican wall, he places a photo in front of the camera for the benefit of the security crew. In the photo, the traffic in the left of the frame is not moving. This should be easily detected by security when the camera comes back on-line, since its integrity has already been compromised.

Factual errors: While the IMF caravan is on the Bay Bridge with Davian, all of the vehicles with Virginia tags are labeled incorrectly. Virginia license plates consist of three letters, a hyphen, and four numbers (LLL-NNNN) not three letters as shown.


[from trailer] Ethan Hunt: [shouting] You will never get what you want!
Owen Davian: [shouting] You don’t think I’ll do it?

Zhen: It’s such a nice car…
Ethan Hunt: Do it.

Ethan Hunt: I have the Rabbit’s Foot, but I can’t make it to the roof!
Declan: What the hell d’you mean you can’t make it to the roof – where are you?
Ethan Hunt: Look up! Look up! Look up!

Luther Stickell: Was there something more going on between you two?
Ethan Hunt: Lindsey was like my little sister.
Luther Stickell: And you never… slept with your little sister, right?

Ethan Hunt: I’m part of an agency… called the IMF.
Julia: What’s that stand for?
Ethan Hunt: Impossible Mission Force.
Julia: [chuckles] Shut up.

Ethan Hunt: [to Julia] I need you to trust me.

Ethan Hunt: I’ll die unless you kill me!

[last lines] Ethan Hunt: I’ll send you a postcard.
Brassel: Fair enough.

Luther Stickell: [convincing him not to get married, like a broken record] Don’t do it, Ethan.
Ethan Hunt: Luther? Julia and I got married two days ago.
Luther Stickell: Well, congratulations!

Ethan Hunt: Humpty Dumpty sat on a wall!

Ethan Hunt: I need… I need to ask you for something incredible.

Owen Davian: …Three…
Ethan Hunt: Please… I can get you the rabbit’s foot… please… don’t do it, don’t fuckin’ do it!
Owen Davian: Four…

[In the middle of a complicated operation, Ethan – disguised as Owen Davian and sitting in a car, makes a drop to Luther, underneath the car in a manhole] Ethan Hunt: [Deadpan] What’s up?
Luther Stickell: [Deadpan] Nothin’. What’s up with you?
Ethan Hunt: [Deadpan] Nothin’.

Ethan Hunt: [about to get electrocuted] Throw the switch on and off.
[slight pause] Ethan Hunt: Don’t forget the off.

Declan: Ethan! Get in! They’re coming!
Ethan Hunt: Who?
Declan: Building security and they’re pissed!


Carrie-Anne Moss was offered a role after Tom Cruise was impressed with her work in Suspect Zero, which Cruise produced. When Joe Carnahan left the project, and J.J. Abrams took the reigns, her character was dropped from the film entirely.

Kelly Brook was at one point slated to appear.

David Fincher was first slated to direct the film but dropped out to produce Lords of Dogtown, which he also dropped out of directing. The basic storyline of the version he was working on dealt with black market trade of body parts in Africa.

While the producers signed on J.J. Abrams as director in August 2004 after Joe Carnahan’s departure, the film was abruptly delayed for at least a year due to Tom Cruise’s commitment to the abruptly green-lit War of the Worlds. The production was delayed until Summer 2005, causing the film to be released in 2006. Abrams was hired after Cruise saw episodes of the Abrams series Alias on DVD and was impressed.

Kenneth Branagh was cast as the villain, but because of shooting-delays he had to drop out to begin work on As You Like It.

Studio filming took place at sound stages at the Paramount Studios lot, which for the previous 18 years had been used solely for episodes of Star Trek.

At one point, Ricky Gervais was cast in the film as an ally to Ethan Hunt. But due to various production and casting changes, Gervais had to pull out of the film and was replaced by Simon Pegg.

In early May 2004, it was reported that Tom Cruise (in his role as a producer) had requested of the German government that filming be allowed in the 40-metre glass dome of the German Parliament building, the Bundestag. He had earlier visited the Foster & Partners-designed building and been very impressed. His request was denied, however, by Parliament President Wolfgang Thierse. “The building is not available as a film location and we refuse point blank every request to use it as such,” a spokesman said.

The film’s former director Joe Carnahan was offered the position of director after Tom Cruise was impressed by his work on Narc, which Cruise also executive produced. Carnahan stepped down from the position of director because of creative differences only a month before filming was originally due to begin in August of 2004. His departure delayed the film by a year, while a new director was being sought after. In this time, Cruise went on to film War of the Worlds which had its originally intended 2006 release fast-tracked by a whole year.

Thandie Newton was offered the chance to reprise the role of Nyah Nordoff Hall, but turned it down to concentrate on spending time with her family. Her role in the story was later changed to a new character named Leah Quint (played by Carrie-Anne Moss) but when J.J. Abrams took over directing the project, the character was totally scrapped from the story.

The Lamborghini that was blown up had no engine.

Some of the scenes were shot in downtown Richmond, Virginia. The crew and cast were directed to the set of “Heyday”. This diversionary title was posted everywhere downtown so as to distract onlookers and tourists from the movie set.

Cameo: [Daniel Mindel] The film’s cinematographer appears as a doctor talking to Julia in the hospital.

During the credits, one of the organizations which the producers of the film wish to thank is the Hanso Foundation, a group tied to J.J. Abrams’ television series, Lost.

The assistant directors on both units, Mathew Dunne and Tommy Gormley had characters named after them, “Declan Gormley” and “Benjimin Dunne” respectively.

Ethan Hunt makes references to Lake Wanaka. Lake Wanaka is a lake in the South Island of New Zealand, which Tom Cruise visited while in New Zealand filming The Last Samurai. He liked the place so much that he included it in this film.

Scarlett Johansson was cast in the film early on but pulled out of the project and her role eventually went to Keri Russell.

The interior of Ethan Hunt’s house was based on ‘JJ Abrams’ ‘s family’s home.

Philip Seymour Hoffman’s character’s name, Owen Davian, is an in-joke and a nod to his long-time manager, Davien Littlefield.

One of the five percussionists in the orchestra which did the film’s score was Emil Richards, who 30 years ago played bongos on the original “Mission: Impossible” theme.

Cameo: [Michael Kehoe] craft service crew member appears as Mike the hospital employee when Ethan enters the hospital he’s in search for his wife and heads for the front desk where Mike is seated.

At the party, when Ethan answers the phone and gets the call about a free trip to Mexico, the voice on the other line is that of director J.J. Abrams.

When Ethan wakes up tied to the chair and Brownway shoots the charge up his nose, the hand seen holding the gun to Tom Cruise’s nose is not Eddie Marsan’s, but Cruise’s own hand. The same goes later when Musgrave puts the phone to Ethan’s ear, then Ethan bites Musgrave’s hand. The hand that Cruise bit was not Billy Crudup’s, but again it was his own hand.

Phil Alden Robinson was one of the finalists for the director’s job.

This would be the last Cruise/Wagner film distributed by Paramount. After the release, Paramount owner Sumner Redstone decided not to renew their distribution rights. Apparently, Redstone was disgusted by Tom Cruise’s recent antics particularly his appearance on The Oprah Winfrey show. Following that, Cruise and his partner Paula Wagner had resurrected the United Artists company which was closed a few years ago.

The shot where Musgrave is killed and drops the “Rabbit’s Foot” and it rolls perfectly into frame as the camera pushes in on Billy Crudup was an unplanned effect. In previous takes it was simply thrown to the side but the accidental shot looked so incredible and made more sense it was kept, to the ecstatic response of the cast and crew.