Mississippi Burning

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Mississippi Burning is a 1988 American crime drama film loosely based on the FBI 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 (portrayed by Gene Hackman and Willem Dafoe), who investigate the murders. Hackman's character (Agent Rupert Anderson) and Dafoe's character (Agent Alan Ward) are loosely based on the partnership of FBI agent John Proctor and 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 2010 Hindi film, Aakrosh is an unofficial remake of Mississippi Burning.

Contents

Plot

The story is loosely based on the real-life murders of civil rights workers in Mississippi in 1964. After the three are reported missing, two FBI agents are sent to investigate the incident in rural Jessup County, Mississippi (modeled after Neshoba County where the real murders took place). The two agents take two completely different approaches: Agent Alan Ward (Dafoe), a young liberal northerner, takes a direct approach to the investigation. Agent Rupert Anderson (Hackman), a former Mississippi sheriff who understands the intricacies of race relations in the south, takes a more subtle tack. It is very hard for the two to work in the town, as the local sheriff's office is linked to a major branch of the Ku Klux Klan, and the two agents cannot talk to the local African American community, due to their fear of Klan attacks. Slowly but steadily, relations between the FBI and the local Jessup County sheriff's office deteriorate, as do relations between the two FBI agents. Things boil over when the bodies are located and the Deputy Sheriff, Clinton Pell realizes that his wife gave their locations to Anderson and assaults her in a fit of anger. When Anderson sees her in the hospital, he storms off to confront the Deputy but is stopped by Ward. After a brief scuffle, the two agree that they will work together and bring down the Jessup County branch of the Ku Klux Klan using Anderson's as yet untried approach.

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