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The Mission is a 1986 British drama film about the experiences of a Jesuit missionary in 18th-century South America. The film was written by Robert Bolt and directed by Roland Joffé. It stars Robert De Niro, Jeremy Irons, Ray McAnally, Aidan Quinn, Cherie Lunghi and Liam Neeson. It won the Palme d'Or and the Academy Award for Best Cinematography. In April 2007, it was ranked number 1 on the Church Times Top 50 Religious Films list. The music, scored by Italian composer Ennio Morricone, was listed at #23 on AFI's 100 Years of Film Scores.
Tropes from The Mission:
- Actual Pacifist: Father Gabriel refuses to fight back physically against the Spanish and Portuguese, unlike Mendoza.
- Crowning Music of Awesome: It's Ennio Morricone, of course it's awesome.
- Downer Ending: Gabriel, Mendoza, Fielding, and most of the Guaraní are killed by the European strike force. However, the ending quote suggests all is not lost.
"The light shines in the darkness, and the darkness has not overcome it." - John 1:5
- Good Shepherd: Father Gabriel is about as saintly as they come.
- Heel Face Turn: Rodrigo Mendoza is a slaver who undergoes penance and eventually dies protecting those he had hurt in the past.
- I Did What I Had to Do: Cabeza and Hontar, the Spanish and Portuguese governors, try to justify their actions this way. Cardinal Altamirano (who is clearly guilt ridden after condemning the missionaries) doesn't buy it.
- Inevitable Waterfall: The most famous shot from the movie is of a priest being tied to a cross and being sent downriver to Iquazu Falls.
- The Atoner: Mendoza.
- To Be Lawful or Good: The Cardinal has a choice between pulling support for the Guaraní, dooming them, or letting the Catholic Church be condemned. He chooses the former.