Rodrigo Mendoza (ROBERT DE NIRO) was a violent soldier-for-hire in 1750s South America. Now he is a man of peace serving the Rain Forest Indians he once enslaved. But armies of Spain and Portugal threaten the lifestyle and... more » safety of the native peoples. Now Rodrigo may have to pick up his sword and musket once again. From the producer of Chariots of Fire and the director of The Killing Fields comes a powerful epic co-starring JEREMY IRONS and graced with dazzling Academy Award-winning cinematography, set to a memorable music score and scripted by the Oscar-winning screenwriter of A Man for All Seasons and Doctor Zhivago.« less
Darlene L. (Earthnut) from YUKON, OK Reviewed on 1/22/2013...
Saw this movie when it was first released and thought it was great, but naturally disturbing. Was thrilled to see it again after so many years, and enjoyed it just as much as I did the first time. Great movie, and of course, still disturbing, but that's man's history ~ "Men seeking power and control and will beat, torture, and kill anyone who stands in their way." Those that fought against those power seekers are heros.
A beautifully filmed, heartbreaking masterpiece!
Dave | Tennessee United States | 05/07/2005
(5 out of 5 stars)
"Robert De Niro is Rodrigo Mendoza, a wealthy adventurer who makes a fortune as a mid-eighteenth-century slave trader, capturing Guarani Indians in Paraguay and selling them for a huge profit to the local governor. Mendoza's life takes a turn for the worse, however, when he learns that the woman he loves, Carlotta (Cherie Lunghi), has fallen in love with his younger brother, Felipe (Aidan Quinn). And when he discovers them in bed together, he loses control and kills his brother in a swordfight. Afterwards, however, Mendoza is consumed with extreme guilt and he becomes a Jesuit postulant after meeting Father Gabriel (Jeremy Irons). But Father Gabriel, who has always cared for the natives and resented the slave traders, is at first unsure if Mendoza's desire to do penance and achieve redemption is sincere. Mendoza fianlly completes his penance after suffering many hardships, and he helps Gabriel teach the Indians about Christianity. As the years pass, Mendoza and Gabriel become close if somewhat wary companions, running the isolated mission above Iguacu Falls together while allowing each other plenty of personal space.
Everything changes, though, when in 1750 Spain and Portugal sign the Treaty of Madrid, which redefines their territorial borders in the Americas. The end result of the treaty is that Spain (which has forsaken slavery) delivers the Indian land to Portugal (where slavery remains legal). To avoid the Jesuit order being expulled from Portugal, all Jesuit missions in South America are ordered closed by the Pope, which means the Indians living there will be abandoned to the slave traders. The Guarani Indians are determined to stay and fight for the mission they've come to love, and this deeply troubles Mendoza. Despite his Jesuit vow of practicing nonviolence, he knows that with his past fighting skills as a mercenary he's the only one who can teach the Guaranis to defend themselves. Gabriel also stays, but for a different reason. The end result of the inevitable battle is predictable but nevertheless is devastating to watch.
"The Mission" is without a doubt one of the most breathtaking masterpieces I've ever seen. It is simply stunning, both in a visual and spiritual way that few films can achieve. Robert De Niro, although boldy cast against type, gave one of his finest performances and certainly deserved an oscar. Jeremy Irons was also outstanding, and the supporting cast (including Aidan Quinn and Liam Neeson) was wonderful. The scenery was incredible, as was the cinematography. And who can forget the beautiful music by one of the greatest composers of all time, Ennio Morricone? In short, to call this one of the greatest movies of all time is an understatement. The dvd has an awesome picture and sound quality that even improve the viewing experience, and the in-depth making-of documentary was very informative and entertaining. If you enjoy watching movies at all, then do yourself a favor and add this treasure to your collection!"
BreathTaking Tale of Exploration and Colonialization
rodboomboom | Dearborn, Michigan United States | 01/05/2004
(5 out of 5 stars)
"This is provocative cinema adventure of priests taking Kingdom of God to a native population yet untouched by advancing culture and technology. DeNiro is powerful in role of changed mercenary/slavetrader who jumps sides, while Irons is just superb in role of spiritual giant with magic oboe who leads this people against all odds only to be overran -- or were they?The storyline develops slowly yet beautifully in this magnificent landscape of South America. What makes it all one moving drama is a great soundtrack by Ennio Morricone."
A mesmerisingly brilliant film experience
Dave | 07/15/1999
(5 out of 5 stars)
"This isn't just an excellent movie, it's nothing short of an experience that stirs your very soul. A masterpiece of cinematic art, it's unpretentious in its courage, raw in its rugged beauty and heart-wrenching in its honesty. Jeremy Irons and Robert De Niro looked like two actors who transcended their performances and got enveloped in a real embrace of the movie's theme about courage and redemption whilst making this film. The powerful current of passion in this movie is beautifully directed and surges as the movie progresses, until its climatic ending which leaves the viewer both lifted and drained. A totally underrated movie by Hollywood standards, it ironically redeems tinseltown from the bulk of what it churns out these days. A very brilliant film that demands repeated watchings to further appreciate, not to mention an unearthly film score that's short of a better word, "HEAVENLY""
Letting the Story tell the Story -- A Fine Film
C. Price | Southern California | 02/19/2005
(5 out of 5 stars)
"There is a historical and sorrowful story about how colonial imperialism and a church more concerned with its political power than its charge to protect its new native converts, lead to the destruction of a South American Indian tribe. This movie captures that story powerfully through an excellent mixture of dramatization and historical faithfulness.
It is to the credit of the film that it avoids coming off as moralistic, judgmental, or naively black and white. This is not to say that this is not a clash of good and evil, it is. Slavery is evil. The church's shift from offering true sanctuary to the hunted natives to abandoning those sanctuaries is evil. The political struggle between Spain and Portugal that creates the opening for the slavers to resume their trade is evil. But would it not also be evil if the intercession of the church resulted in the destruction of its ability to do any good elsewhere? The film avoids characterizing this latter concern as of no consequence, but its narrative shows that the wrong decision was made.
Another moral issue that arises is the choices two Jesuits make when they decide to resist the church's decision to abandon the Indian sanctuaries. One, a former slaver and mercenary, chooses to lead the natives in battle. The other, to whom the maxim "God is love" is the foundation of his worldview, chooses to lead the natives in prayer. Here again, however, the film does not treat the correctness of either choice as a foregone conclusion. You feel sympathy and understanding for both paths.
A closing dialogue captures one of the movies' messages. A governor is consoling a Bishop who is not sure he made the right decision about the native sancutaries:
Governor: "Your emminence, thus is the world"
Bishop: "No, thus have we made the world."
The acting is superb, the cinementography is truly beautiful, and the message is conveyed through the narrative rather than through preachy dialogue. This set also includes welcome features, including a full-length director's commentary and a documentary that visits the South American location and the plight of the natives there."
Steven R. McEvoy | Canada | 03/31/2007
(5 out of 5 stars)
"This is a true story and it is a very sad one in the history of the west and of the church. Robert De Niro, Jeremy Irons, Liam Neeson and many more take us through the history of slavers in South America. Irons, who plays a Spanish Jesuit Priest, goes into the wilderness to build a mission, to convert the Indians. DeNiro plays a slaver who eventually joins Irons' mission and serves the native peoples.
The main question in this film is that of ownership, and the right to make slaves. The mission begins in Spanish territory that is sold to the Portuguese. The Portuguese do not want to accept that the natives are humans - but at best trained monkeys - and that their Christianity does not protect them from becoming slaves. The Cardinal who came to oversee the decision came with a decision already made, and his inner turmoil, as the narrator, draws the viewer into the political side of the decision and the political side of the church's role in the decision, at that time, in a way that few other films ever have.
The film is a cinematographic masterpiece. While watching the movie, pay close attention to light and darkness, the music, and the angles used in filming. This movie is great and a must see because of the story it tells and the way it tells it. It is truly a film and not just a movie. "