Mixed or average reviews - based on 16 Critics

Critic score distribution:
  1. Positive: 9 out of 16
  2. Negative: 3 out of 16
Watch On
  1. Reviewed by: Mark Salisbury
    Enormous fun.
  2. 90
    Director Brian De Palma is having too much fun zipping around curves and hitting the accelerator to slow down. He's a supremely confident engineer, and if you're game enough to make a jump for it and hold on, he offers the giddy excitement of watching the ground rush by beneath your dangling feet.
  3. Exciting, smart and enormously enjoyable.
  4. A sleek, whooshingly entertaining update of the vintage television series.
  5. 75
    The bottom line on a film like this is, Tom Cruise looks cool and holds our attention while doing neat things that we don't quite understand--doing them so quickly and with so much style that we put our questions on hold, and go with the flow.
  6. It's a movie of profoundly convoluted pop pleasures. Between dazzling suspense sequences, it invites the audience to work for a good time.
  7. Reviewed by: Mike Clark
    Stylish, brisk but lacking in human dimension despite an attractive cast. [22 May 1996, p. D1]
  8. Reviewed by: Staff (Not credited)
    All Mission Impossible had to do was not self-destruct. Mission accomplished. Does it ignite? Not really, but Tom Cruise's first adventure as a producer has just enough hightech firepower, old-fashioned star power and a director who knows how to harness it all.
  9. 63
    This movie isn't a disaster, but, all things considered, there's little reason to make it a high priority for theatrical viewing.
  10. Reviewed by: Jack Kroll
    Holes in the script cause the narrative to burp at times.
  11. 50
    Whatever the reason for its disappointments, Mission: Impossible is a mission gone awry, prompting you to hope that reruns of its television incarnation will pop up on cable soon.
  12. Some of the suspense set-pieces are impressive, but the picture would pack a greater wallop if it were stitched together more tightly and consistently.
  13. Reviewed by: Staff (Not credited)
    The result is a gracefully plotted spy film in the classic mode, with just enough self-consciousness to keep things interesting.
  14. Every effect is so calculated that only the conscious minds of filmmakers and viewers are engaged--and not by very much or for very long.
  15. 30
    Humorless, charmless and flat.
  16. It's the worst kind of convoluted thriller -- it can never unravel satisfactorily because there's nothing simple at its center, just more confusion.
User Score

Generally favorable reviews- based on 161 Ratings

User score distribution:
  1. Positive: 21 out of 24
  2. Negative: 2 out of 24
  1. Dec 26, 2011
    Brian De Palma's action blockbuster "Mission Impossible" succeeds the impossible job most action movies do; seducing the audience without fear.
  2. ManfredP.
    May 1, 2006
    t's been a long time coming. It's April 18th 2006. It's been ten years since this film was released and its second sequel is t's been a long time coming. It's April 18th 2006. It's been ten years since this film was released and its second sequel is less than a month away. Now seems like the perfect time to reach back into the wells of my cinematic career and re-examine one of the single most important movies in my life. This is one of the movies that made me fall in love with movies. It made me appreciate the meaning of a good plot, the importance of cerating tension, the methods with which one creates suspense...and how to flawlessly set up, construct, and execute an explosive finalé so effective that you could've swore it gave you an errection. [***SPOILERS***] The movie opens with the simplest of shots: a camera slowly tracking in on a security monitor with an unknown guy hunched keenly over it watching two equally unidentified figures talking in a room. All we know is that we are in Prague. But our ignorance soon turns to astonishment as the layers of this lie - courtesy of fictional(? ) CIA special branch, IMF (Impossible Missions Force) - are stripped away and the truth is revealed. This one opening scene effectively establishes the style for the rest of the film; confused ignorance followed by shocking revelations. DePalma crafts an extraordingary plot of intrigue and betrayal and, of course, impossible missions whose tasks include a pursuit on the roof of a high-speed train and infiltrating the Central Intelligence Agency. But as well-conceived as the plot may be, the cinematography is equally commendable. With a range of shots being able to take the viewer from a sense of extreme panic and disorientation all the way to the most in-your-face shots that allow the action and story to carry the film on their own merits. I've seen other highly commended DePalma works, including 'Scarface' and 'The Untouchables', and whilst the former is exceptional in its style and excecution the latter is miserably out-of-synch with its own content. Even against 'Scarface', 'Mission: Impossible' more than holds its own. In fact, if there is one thing that 'Mission: Impossible' has over 'Scarface', it's the presence of a much more satisfying conclusion and a much more streamlined story. Heck, even the visuals give the reverred 'Scarface' a run for its money. I must have been about twelve or thirteen when I first saw this film, and it's as affecting today as it was all those years ago. Unfortunately, I'm not a member of the 'Star Wars' generation. Nor is my childhood filled with images from 'Star Wars'. My childhood was defined by movies like 'The Neverending Story' and 'The Land Before Time'. 'Mission: Impossible' was one of the first mature films I'd actually seen. It certainly left quite an impact on me...if only for the fact that I resolved I would one day understand the plot completely. Which, you'll be pleased to know, I now do :-D Full Review »
  3. BradB.
    Nov 3, 2006
    This is the best mission impossible film due to its originality and flair. Remember this film was made in 1996, 10 years ago yet it is still This is the best mission impossible film due to its originality and flair. Remember this film was made in 1996, 10 years ago yet it is still very captivating today. Full Review »