Today in 1989, Mississippi Burning was released in UK cinemas
Mississippi Burning is an American crime thriller film directed by Alan Parker, loosely based on the FBI’s investigation into the 1964 Chaney, Goodman, and Schwerner murder case in Mississippi. The film stars Gene Hackman and Willem Dafoe as two FBI agents assigned to investigate the disappearance of three civil rights workers in fictional Jessup County, Mississippi. The investigation is met with hostility and backlash by the town’s residents, local police, and the Ku Klux Klan.
Upon release, Mississippi Burning became embroiled in controversy; it was heavily criticised by African-American activists involved in the civil rights movement and the families of Chaney, Goodman, and Schwerner for its fictionalisation of history. Critical reaction was mixed, though the performances of Hackman, Dafoe, and Frances McDormand were generally praised. The film received seven Academy Awards nominations, including Best Picture, but won only for Best Cinematography.