The Mission (1986 film)

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The Mission is a 1986 British drama film about the experiences of a Jesuit missionary in 18th century South America.

Directed by Roland Joffé. Written by Robert Bolt.


  • If might is right, then love has no place in the world. It may be so, it may be so. But I don't have the strength to live in a world like that, Rodrigo.
  • We are not the members of a democracy, Father. We are the members of an order.
  • If you die with blood in your hands, Rodrigo, then you betray everything we have done! You promised your life to God! AND GOD IS LOVE!


  • [to Cabeza and Hontar] And you have the effrontery to tell me that this slaughter was necessary?
  • Your Holiness, a surgeon to save the body must often hack off a limb. But in truth nothing could prepare me for the beauty and the power of the limb that I had come here to sever.
  • With an orchestra, the Jesuits could have subdued the entire continent.
  • [paraphrasing 1 Corinthians 13] Though I have all faith so that I could remove mountains and have not love, I am nothing. And though I bestow all my goods to feed the poor and though I give my body to be burned and have not love, it profiteth me nothing. Love suffereth and love is kind. Love envieth not. Love vaunteth not itself, is not puffed up. When I was a child, I spake as a child, I understood as a child. But when I became a man, I put away childish things. But now abideth faith, hope, love... these three. But the greatest of these is love.


Hontar: We must work in the world, your eminence. The world is thus.
Altamirano: No, Señor Hontar. Thus have we made the world... thus have I made it.

Portuguese Soldier: [Upon seeing the mission, and hearing the Guaraní singing during mass] None of us wants to do this.
Portuguese Commander: [On the verge of crying] I'm not interested. Take your position!

Cabeza: I cannot and will not accept a challenge from a priest. His cloth protects him.
Mendoza: My cloth protects *you*!

Altamirano: [spoiler] So, your Holiness. Now your priests are dead, and I am left alive. But in truth it is I who am dead, and they who live. For as always, your Holiness. The spirit of the dead will survive in the memory of the living.

Altamirano: Tell them they must leave the missions. They must submit to the will of God.
Gabriel: They say it was the will of God that they came out of the jungle and built the mission. They don't understand why God has changed his mind.

Mendoza: Are you laughing at me?
Gabriel: I am laughing because what I see is laughable. I see a coward, a man running from the world.

Mendoza: For me these is no redemption, no penance great enough.
Gabriel: There is. But do you dare to try it?
Mendoza: Do you dare to see it fail?

[Mendoza is repeatedly dragging a load of armor up a cliff as penance for killing his brother]
Fielding: How long must he carry that stupid thing?
Gabriel: God knows.

Gabriel: So you're hunting above the falls now, Captain Mendoza?
Gabriel: We're building a mission here. We're going to make Christians of these people!
Mendoza: If you have the time.


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