Mississippi Burning

Topics: Mississippi Burning, Academy Award for Best Picture, Ku Klux Klan Pages: 1 (411 words) Published: March 7, 2008
Mississippi Burning is a 1988 film based on the investigation into the real-life murders of three civil rights workers in the U.S. state of Mississippi in 1964. The movie focuses on two fictional FBI agents who investigate the murders. Willem Dafoe's character is loosely based on the actions of FBI Agent John Proctor. Hackman's character is very loosely based on FBI agent Joseph Sullivan. The film also stars Frances McDormand, Brad Dourif, R. Lee Ermey and Gailard Sartain, and was written by Chris Gerolmo and directed by Alan Parker. It won the Academy Award for Best Cinematography, and was nominated for Best Actor in a Leading Role (Hackman), Best Actress in a Supporting Role (McDormand), Best Director, Best Film Editing (Gerry Hambling), Best Picture and Best Sound. The film has been criticized by many, including historian Howard Zinn, for its fictionalization of history. According to Zinn: while FBI agents are presented as heroes who descend upon the town by the hundreds, in reality the FBI and the Justice Department only reluctantly protected civil rights workers and protesters and reportedly witnessed beatings without intervening.[1] Mississippi Burning was preceded in 1975 by a television docudrama titled Attack on Terror: The FBI vs. the Ku Klux Klan, depicting many of the same events. None of the movies used the real names of the murderers, due to legal considerations. Mississippi Burning never even mentions the names of the victims. They are referred to as "The Boys". The film presents the policeman's wife as the informant. The identity of the real informant - known as "Mr. X." was a closely held secret for 40 years. In the process of reopening the case, journalist Jerry Mitchell and teacher Barry Bradford uncovered his real name.[2] The opening scenes of the movie were some of the most harrowing ever seen in any film of the 1980s. An Apostolic church was the first building seen in the film, ablaze with the Ku Klux Klan calling card - a wooden cross -...
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