GenreDrama, History, Mystery Music directorVangelis CountryUnited States
Release dateFebruary 12, 1982 (1982-02-12) Based onMissing
by Thomas Hauser WriterCosta-Gavras (screenplay), Donald Stewart (screenplay), Thomas Hauser (based on the book: "Missing") CastJack Lemmon (Ed Horman), Sissy Spacek (Beth Horman), John Shea (Charles Horman), Melanie Mayron (Terry Simon), Charles Cioffi (Ray Tower), David Clennon (Consul Phil Putnam) Similar moviesRelated Costa-Gavras movies
Missing trailer 1982
In 1973, U.S. businessman Ed Horman (Jack Lemmon) arrives in Chile to look for his son, Charles (John Shea), a politically left-leaning journalist who disappeared during a military coup. Charles wife, Beth (Sissy Spacek), has been looking for some time, but her requests for help from the U.S. consulate have thus far produced few results. As Ed and Beth try to figure out what really happened to Charles, Ed realizes that the American officials may know more than theyre telling.
Missing is a 1982 American drama film directed by Costa-Gavras, starring Jack Lemmon, Sissy Spacek, Melanie Mayron, John Shea, and Charles Cioffi. It is based on the true story of American journalist Charles Horman, who disappeared in the bloody aftermath of the US-backed Chilean coup of 1973 that deposed the democratically elected socialist President Salvador Allende. The film was jointly awarded the Palme dOr (with Yol) at the 1982 Cannes Film Festival.
Set largely during the days and weeks following Hormans disappearance, the movie depicts his father and wife searching to determine his fate. The film examines the relationship between Hormans wife Beth (Spacek) and her father-in-law, American businessman Ed Horman (Lemmon).
The film was banned in Chile during Augusto Pinochets dictatorship, even though neither Chile nor Pinochet are ever mentioned by name (although the Chilean cities of Vina del Mar and Santiago are).
Based on the real-life experiences of Ed Horman. A conservative American businessman travels to a South American country to investigate the sudden disappearance of his son after a right-wing military takeover. Accompanied by his son's wife he uncovers a trail of cover-ups that implicate the US State department which supports the right-wing dictatorship.
The film opens with Costa-Gavras statement that the events of the film are true.
At first, Ed blames his son and his «radical» political views for his disappearance, but he is crushed by the possibility that the government he reveres so highly may have been involved with his sons disappearance and possible death.
As a bookend of sorts to Costa-Gavras assertion that the events of Missing are true, the film ends with a postscript stating that after his return to the United States, Ed Horman received the body of his son Charles seven months later (making an autopsy impossible), and that a subsequent lawsuit against the US government was dismissed. It also adds that the State Department denies their involvement in the Allende coup, a position maintained to the present day.
Missing is based on a book that was first published under the title The Execution of Charles Horman: An American Sacrifice (1978) by Thomas Hauser (later republished under the title Missing in 1982).
The score is by the Greek electronic composer Vangelis. The movies piano theme has been used extensively in commercials, but an official release of the films soundtrack has not yet occurred. The main theme appeared first on Vangelis 1989 album Themes. The main theme is also available on a the Festival de Cannes (60th Anniversary) compilation of famous soundtracks. A bootleg release of the soundtrack exists. A sung version with lyrics by Tim Rice has been recorded by Elaine Paige & Nana Mouskouri.
The film was released on both VHS and Laserdisc, in 1982 and 1987, by MCA Videocassette, MCA Videodisc, and MCA Home Video respectively. The VHS version was pulled from the market due to the lawsuit filed against director Costa-Gavras. Universal Home Video re-released Missing on DVD in 2006, following the dismissal of the lawsuit. A special edition DVD was released by The Criterion Collection in October 2008.
Both the film and Thomas Hausers book The Execution of Charles Horman were removed from the United States market following a lawsuit filed against Costa-Gavras and Universal Picturess (then) parent company MCA by former ambassador Nathaniel Davis and two others for defamation of character. A lawsuit against Hauser himself was dismissed because the statute of limitations had expired. Davis and his associates lost their lawsuit, after which the film was re-released by Universal in 2006.
Missing won the Palme dOr (Golden Palm) at the 1982 Cannes Film Festival, where Lemmon was awarded Best Actor for his performance.
Best Writing (Screenplay Based on Material from Another Medium): Costa-Gavras, Donald Stewart
Best Picture: Edward Lewis and Mildred Lewis, Producers