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Mississippi Burning

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Movie poster for Mississippi Burning

Mississippi Burning is a 1988 film which tells a fictionalized version of the investigation into the real-life murders of three civil rights workers in Mississippi in 1964. The movie focuses on two fictional FBI agents who investigate the murders, which culminates with U.S. vs. Cecil Price et. al., the famous "Mississippi Burning" Trial; see Mississippi Civil Rights Workers Murders for more information on the historical events.

The film stars Gene Hackman, Willem Dafoe, Frances McDormand, Brad Dourif, R. Lee Ermey and Gailard Sartain. The movie 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, Best Picture and Best Sound.

The film has been criticized by many, including historian Howard Zinn, for its fictionalization of history. While FBI agents are presented as heroes who descend upon the town by the hundreds, in reality the FBI and the Justice Department only reluctantly protected civil rights workers and protesters and often witnessed beatings without intervening.

On June 21, 2005, 41 years to the day, Edgar Ray Killen was convicted of manslaughter in the 1964 slayings of the three civil rights workers.

Tagline: 1964. When America was at war with itself.

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