Mississippi Burning

Mississippi Burning is a 1988 American crime thriller film directed by Alan Parker that is loosely based on the 1964 murder investigation of Chaney, Goodman, and Schwerner in Mississippi. It stars Gene Hackman and Willem Dafoe as two FBI agents investigating the disappearance of three civil rights workers in fictional Jessup County, Mississippi, who are met with hostility by the town's residents, local police, and the Ku Klux Klan.


In 1964, three civil rights workers – two Jewish and one black – go missing while in Jessup County, Mississippi, organizing a voter registry for African Americans after having being shot dead in their car by pursuants. The FBI sends Alan Ward and Rupert Anderson to investigate. Ward is a Northerner, senior in rank but much younger than Anderson, and approaches the investigation by the book. In contrast, Anderson, a former Mississippi sheriff, is more nuanced in his approach. The pair find it difficult to conduct interviews with the local townspeople, as Sheriff Ray Stuckey and his deputies influence the public and are linked to a branch of the Ku Klux Klan. The wife of Deputy Sheriff Clinton Pell reveals to Anderson in a discreet conversation that the three missing men have been murdered and their bodies buried in an earthen dam. Pell beats his wife brutally in retribution after discovering her betrayal.