Mission: Impossible (1996)

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Mission: Impossible 1, editorial content, spy movies, espionage, spy movie podcasts, Tom Cruise

Mission: Impossible 1

In 1996, Paramount Pictures and Cruise/Wagner Productions released the first movie of the Mission: Impossible series.  So, the first of the series is called Mission: Impossible and did not have a number.   We will call it here Mission: Impossible (1996)  since we now have multiple great additions to the Mission: Impossible series.

In this curation (and in the podcast), we discuss things beyond the scope of the movie, and its interrelationship with other movies and events:


  • Relationship to Mission: Impossible TV Series
  • The masks!
  • Other movies mentioned: The Godfather: Part II; Mission: Impossible II, Mission: Impossible III, and Mission: Impossible Ghost Protocol; Dr. No; Operation Amsterdam; The Sting;  Lethal Weapon 2; Duece Bigalow: Male Gigalow;  Total Recall;  Push;  Eraser;  Jackie Chan’s First Strike; A Low-Down Dirty Shame; Topkapi;  Rififi; The Wolverine;  The General (1926;  The Flying Scotsman (1929);  From Russia With Love;  Skyfall
  • Importance of The Drake Hotel in Chicago – even though it is never shown on-screen
  • A connection to No!
  • Origin of “the secretary will disavow. . .” – Operation Amsterdam!
  • The Vault Scene: modeled after Topkapi? Rififi?  We do an analysis!
  • The train scene – and others before and after: The Wolverine, The General (1926) The Flying Scotsman (1929), From Russia With Love, Skyfall
... read more

While the TV show of “Mission: Impossible” ran for 7 seasons (1966-1973) in the US, it then set-up the future ability for the Mission: Impossible movies to be made.  Back then, there were 27 episodes in a season, not counting the pilot in season one. The TV show, excellently executed,  won 19 awards and was nominated for 39.  A two-season reboot of the show ran from 1988-1990.

All totaled, there were over 200 episodes of the show.  Listen to our Mission: Impossible 1 podcast for additional insight and discussion.

So, how do you bring such a successful TV show to the Big Screen?  The answer to this question was to bring in one of the biggest box office names in Tom Cruise to play the lead character and add a lot of very cool stunt work.  So let’s get to our Mission: Impossible 1 curation and see what all the excitement is about!

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Curated Videos:

  • Mission Impossible Opening

    Most spy and action movies today include pre-title sequences, including James Bond, Mission: Impossible, and some Bourne films.

  • Opening Title Sequence

    This mask scene spills into the title sequence. The title appears to be designed to further hook the tv show fans.

  • This message will self-destruct

    First, we get the recording that explains the mission.

  • First Mission

    The first mission, as explained by the briefing is to get the NOC (Non-Official Cover) list from Golitsyn.

  • Restaurant Scene

    In the television series, it was common for IMF agents to turn to the other side and go bad.

  • Meeting with Max

    Ethan tells Max that he is going to steal the NOC list and wants to be paid for it.

  • Into the Vault Scene

    This scene is obviously modelled after the work of Jules Dassin. Dassin was the director of the 1964 heist film, “Topkapi”.

  • Ethan meets Jim again

    Jim Phelps tracks down Ethan and has a discussion explaining that Kittridge was really the mole. While he talks through how Kittridge did it, clips are shown with what really happened.

  • On the train

    The next scene is where it gets really fun. Claire walks into the luggage room in the train and sees Jim.

  • The final train scene

    The final scene is actually done on the outside of the train. This is a fantastic use of CGI and real footage.

  • Ending Scene

    The film wraps with Kittridge talking with Max and letting her know that she isn’t going to be arrested.