100

Chicago Sun-Times

By Roger Ebert
Apart from its pure entertainment value - this is the best American crime movie in years - it is an important statement about a time and a condition that should not be forgotten. The Academy loves to honor prestigious movies in which long-ago crimes are rectified in far-away places. Here is a nominee with the ink still wet on its pages.
Full Review
100

USA Today

A powerful drama about the murder of three civil-rights workers in the South. Gene Hackman and Willem Dafoe are FBI men investigating. A legitimate Oscar contender. [6 Jan 1989, p.5D]
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90

Washington Post

Mississippi Burning speeds down the complicated, painful path of civil rights in search of a good thriller. Surprisingly, it finds it
Full Review
80

Washington Post

By Rita Kempley
Parker, a director of breadth, not depth, never supplies the big answers, but he does powerfully depict the climate of the Confederacy in the "Freedom Summer" of 1964.
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80

Empire

With remarkable performances, aggressive direction and a cracking pace, this is superb cinema, even if the historical accuracy leaves much to be desired.
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80

Variety

Though its credibility is undermined by a fanciful ending, Mississippi Burning captures much of the truth in its telling of the impact of a 1964 FBI probe into the murders of three civil rights workers.
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80

The New York Times

For those who know such places, Mr. Parker, who is English, evokes the texture, the gritty, fly-specked Southernness, the brooding sense of small-town menace, the racial hatred, with considerable accuracy.
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63

San Francisco Chronicle

Parker recreates the hate-and-fear-filled atmosphere in that small Southern town with broad brush strokes. But in the end, all of his spectacular fires send out a lot more heat than light. [13 Jan 1989, p.E1]
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50

TV Guide

Mississippi Burning is visually splendid. Director Parker and his crew have created a film that is unquestionably watchable. As a history lesson, however, it's laughable.
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25

Boston Globe

Mississippi Burning plays loose with truth, turning the history of the civil rights movement on its head. The filmmakers shamelessly transform what was ultimately a triumph of due process and nonviolent civil disobedience into an ugly might-makes-right spectacle. It's "Dirty Harry" coming at you from the left. [27 Jan 1989, p.72]
Full Review
65 out of 100
Generally favorable reviews
Metascore® based on all critic reviews. Scores range from 0 to 100, with higher scores indicating more favorable reviews.