Director: Brian De Palma
Writter: Bruce Geller, David Koepp
Tom Plays: Ethan Hunt
Status: ON DVD


This DePalma film is a big-screen remake of a prior American television show, modernized and updated with all of the eye-popping special effects that a Hollywood mega-budget can buy. The show’s Jim Phelps is the leader of the ‘Impossible Missions Force.’ In this ‘episode,’ Ethan Hunt is the point man for an IMF mission to catch a spy in the act of stealing information about the ‘covers’ of many other covert operatives. In the tradition of the TV show, the viewer is led down many plot twists, turns, and reversals, while the IMF members employ the latest in technology, disguises, and spy gadgetry to accomplish their mission


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Continuity: In the cargo car when Ethan pulls off the mask, his collar is too big for him. The next time we see him it is just the right size.

Continuity: On the train when Max gets the disc from under her seat it is a floppy but when Kittrick asks her for the disc she gives him a CD.

Factual errors: The London-Paris passenger train via the Channel Tunnel is the Eurostar, not the TGV.

Factual errors: When in the tunnel, the Eurostar uses an overhead power cable system; the TGV uses one at all times. No such power cable, which would have made the helicopter interactions impossible, is ever shown.

Errors in geography: The Channel Tunnel has separate single-track tunnels for the two directions of travel.

Continuity: Ethan reaches out and catches a drop of sweat falling from his head while two inches from the floor in the CIA Terminal Room. There is not enough distance between him and the floor for his hand to stop the sweat the way it is shown.

Continuity: Krieger throws a disk in the trash really hard and you can see a piece break off. When Ethan recovers it, it is good as new.

Continuity: Ethan has blood on his hands after finding Sarah and Golitsyn dead, then wipes them off in the phone box while talking to Kettridge. When he throws the chewing gum bomb at the fish tank his hands are clean but when he arrives at the hotel he proceeds to wash blood off them.

Plot holes: When Hunt falls in the computer room, the air pressure generated ahead of his body by the fall would set off the floor alarm if it were anywhere as sensitive as shown.

Errors in geography: When Ethan makes the phone call from Liverpool Street Station the phone number being traced is a Knightsbridge number and not a Liverpool Street number.

Factual errors: Trains run on the left track, both in Great Britain and in France.

Continuity: At CIA headquarters, the fire alarms in three sections are tripped. Then Luther hacks into the alarm system to trip the alarm in Section 21. Later in the Situation Room, the alarm is displayed in a corner of the wall display, but Section 21 isn’t lit up.

Audio/visual unsynchronized: The sound effects used for the helicopter is not of the NOTAR which is the one shown.

Revealing mistakes: In the opening scene, when Ethan gives Claire the injection, you can see that the needle is rounded and not sharp.

Errors in geography: Onboard the Eurostar/TGV, Max is reading the US edition of the Financial Times, as indicated by the American flag in the upper corner. That edition would not be for sale in London or Paris.

Continuity: Claire places the tracker on the NOC list’s technician near the top of his left shoulder. When we see him in the bathroom in the overhead shot, the grey square has dropped to his lower back on the left side, closer to the center. It is visible when he reaches to clean the sink.

Revealing mistakes: In Prague, Ethan walks by the car twice when Claire sees him.

Continuity: After obtaining the NOC list, Ethan Hunt sends a meeting request to Max at the address Job 315. The original Usenet group and email was Job 314.

Errors made by characters (possibly deliberate errors by the filmmakers): When Ethan is quoting the Bible to Max, he says “palaces” instead of places as shown in the Bible he is reading.


Ethan Hunt: Zero bodycount.
Franz Krieger: We’ll see.

Ethan Hunt: Relax Luther, it’s much worse than you think.

Luther Stickell: You really think we can do this.
Ethan Hunt: We’re going to do it.

Eugene Kittridge: I understand you’re very upset.
Ethan Hunt: Kittridge, you’ve never seen me very upset.
Eugene Kittridge: All right, Hunt. Enough is enough. You have bribed, cajoled, and killed, and you have done it using loyalties on the inside. You want to shake hands with the devil, that’s fine with me. I just want to make sure that you do it in hell!

Jim Phelps: Any questions?
Ethan Hunt: Yeah. Could we get a capuccino machine in here? ‘Cause I don’t know what you call this.
Jack Harmen: I call it cruel and unusual.
Claire Phelps: Hey, I made that coffee.
Ethan Hunt: Exactly.

[Ethan Hunt has just discovered that arms-dealer Max is a woman] Max: Anonimity… is like a warm blanket.

Ethan Hunt: So, how does it feel to be a solid citizen again?
Luther Stickell: Man, I don’t know. I’m gonna miss bein’ disreputable.
Ethan Hunt: Well, Luther, if it makes you feel any better, I’ll always think of you that way.

[over the phone] Ethan Hunt: They’re dead.
Eugene Kittridge: What? Who’s dead?
Ethan Hunt: My team. My team is DEAD. They knew we were coming, man. They knew we were coming and the disk is gone.
Eugene Kittridge: Wait a minute…
Ethan Hunt: Did you hear me? The list is in the open.

Ethan Hunt: You’re worried about me. Why?

Ethan Hunt: [referring to CIA headquarters] This is the Mount Everest of hacks.

Ethan Hunt: [just before entering the vault] Krieger, from this point on… absolute silence!

Eugene Kittridge: I think we’ve lost enough agents for one night.
Ethan Hunt: You mean, *I’ve* lost enough agents for one night.
Eugene Kittridge: You seem hell-bent on blaming yourself, Ethan.
Ethan Hunt: Who else is left?
Eugene Kittridge: Yeah. I see your point.

Luther Stickell: Reach your folks?
[Ethan nods] Luther Stickell: How do they feel?
Ethan Hunt: About what?
Luther Stickell: The apology from the Justice Department, VIP treatment. You know, the whole nine yards.
Ethan Hunt: Well, my mom was a little confused how the DEA could mistake her and Uncle Donald for a couple of dope smugglers in the Florida Keys.

[last lines] Flight Attendant: Excuse me. Mr. Hunt? Would you like to watch a movie?
Ethan Hunt: Oh, uh, no thank you.
Flight Attendant: Would you consider the cinema of the Caribbean? Aruba, perhaps?

Ethan Hunt: [to Claire] Wake up, Claire! Jim’s dead! He’s dead! They’re all dead!

Ethan Hunt: I thought I was going to see Max.
Matthias: You misunderstood. No one sees Max.
Ethan Hunt: Then what am I doing here?
Matthias: Allowing Max to see you and hear what you’ve got to say.
Ethan Hunt: I don’t communicate very well through a shroud.
Matthias: If Max doesn’t like what you have to say, you will be wearing that shroud indefinitely.

Ethan Hunt: Saved your ass again, Jack.
Jack Harmen: Give me a break, Pops.
Sarah Davies: Such a nice ass.
Jack Harmen: And a lonely ass.

Ethan Hunt: If a man has crushed, shot, stabbed, and detonated five members of his own IMF team, how upset do you really think you’re gonna make him by hauling Mom and Uncle Donald down to the county courthouse?

Claire Phelps: Just give me the money.
Ethan Hunt: [quietly] You’ve earned it.



Computer systems coordinator Andrew Eio’s name appears as an IMF agent on the “NOC list”.

In-joke: Tom Cruise goes online with his laptop by typing in, not Usenet, but Crusenet.

As Max looks over the NOC list on the train, it’s possible to see that the names are repeated many times.

Alan Silvestri was originally hired to score the film, and had written roughly twenty-three minutes of music before he was taken off. He recycled the material he had written and used it for the score to Eraser. Bootleg copies of his “Mission: Impossible” score are in circulation.

Jim Phelps stays at the Drake Hotel in Chicago. In Tom Cruise’s earlier film, Risky Business, this is where he waits for Rebecca De Mornay.

Diehard fans of the original TV series were upset by the treatment of the Jim Phelps character in this film, and by the decision to turn much of the focus onto one character.

The six-digit code to the vault holding the NOC list 789551.

While filming the famous scene where Tom Cruise drops from the ceiling and hovers inches above the ground, Cruise’s head kept hitting the floor until he got the idea to put coins in his shoes for balance.

The main lobby of CIA Headquarters at Langley was actually shot inside County Hall, London. The helipad next to Tower Bridge where Kitteridge lands does not exist and was specially built for the film and removed afterwards. The site is a public park.

Brian De Palma originally offered the role of Claire to Juliette Binoche.

The first film to be shown at over 3,000 theatres in the U.S.

When Jim Phelps is getting his mission on the airplane, his team is shown one by one. In the dossiers there are aliases. The aliases are as follows: for Jack Harmon (Emilio Estevez), his alias is “Tony Baretta” (the character from the cop show Baretta. For Sarah Davies (‘Kristin Scott-Thomas’ ), her alias is “‘Sarah Walker'”, Hannah Williams’ (Ingeborga Dapkunaite) alias is Pauline Brady, and Ethan Hunt’s (Tom Cruise) alias is Phillipe Douchette.

Oscar-nominated writing team Willard Huyck and Gloria Katz began a script that would pass through the hands of writers David Koepp and Steven Zaillian, before being ultimately refined by Koepp and Robert Towne. Towne kept revising the script all the way through production after Koepp left to direct The Trigger Effect.

The NOC list theft, with Tom Cruise hanging on a rope from the ceiling, is inspired by the museum heist in Jules Dassin’s film Topkapi.

Ethan Hunt never fires a gun.

Body count: 8

Peter Graves, who played Jim Phelps in the original TV series, turned down the opportunity to reprise his role in the movie after he learned that his character was to be killed off at the end of the movie.

Emilio Estevez was cast in the role of Jack Harmon to create a sense of shock in the audience when he died early in the film. The film makers felt that casting a well-known actor in the role would increase the impact of Jack Harmon’s death.