Father Gabriel ascends the mountains of Brazil to bring christianity to the natives. He is successful and brings about a golden age among them. Mendoza, a slaver, kills his brother in a fit of rage, and only Fr. Gabriel's guidance prevents his suicide.
Gabriel brings Mendoza to work at his mission with the natives, and Mendoza finds peace and asks to become a priest. The church , under pressure, cedes the land to the Portuguese which will allow slavers in again. Mendoza breaks his vows and organizes the natives to resist while Gabriel warns him to help them as a priest.
Robert De Niro ... Rodrigo Mendoza
Jeremy Irons ... Father Gabriel
Ray McAnally ... Altamirano
Aidan Quinn ... Felipe Mendoza
Cherie Lunghi ... Carlotta
Ronald Pickup ... Hontar
Chuck Low ... Cabeza
Liam Neeson ... Fielding
Bercelio Moya ... Indian Boy
Directed: Roland Joffé
Music: Ennio Morricone
DivX 3 / AC3
The more I see this film the more I like it. First off, it has magnificent South American jungle scenery, filmed in an area that features multiple gorgeous falls. This is one of the prettiest films you will ever watch - guaranteed - and please see it on widescreen DVD. "The Mission" won the Oscar for Best Cinematography in 1986 and that award was well-deserved. There is just one stunning scene after another.
The story is very interesting, too: a supposed true-life account what happened back in the 1700s when a few dedicated priests tried to bring Christianity to the natives. It shows what occurred when a combination of the Catholic Church and the Portugese slave-traders and politicians attempted to put a halt to their missionary. This is a drama, not an "action film," but the movie has extended violent ending, and sometimes is shocking in that finale.
Jeremy Irons, as the dedicated Jesuit who heads the mission, and Robert De Niro in a surprise role as the killer slave-trader-turned-repentant priest are both excellent in their leading roles. It was interesting to see a young Liam Neeson, too.
To some, the story might be a bit slow I found it very involving.
Ennio Morricone's score deserves a special mention. It's one of the most beautiful scores I've had the pleasure to listen to, especially in segments with oboe and flute. The chorus in the background is perhaps a bit much, but it musters all the intended emotions.
This is simply one of the prettiest and classiest movies I've seen and it's highly recommended.
# The majority of the crew became ill with amoebic dysentery. Robert De Niro was one of the small few who did not catch the illness.
# Many of the people who played the natives were actual native South Americans who spoke little English. They were given free reign to say whatever lines they wanted, and it is rumored that in a couple scenes they're actually cursing up a storm.