All Mission Impossible Movies By Their Release Year

The Mission: Impossible film series is a beloved action-adventure franchise starring Tom Cruise as Ethan Hunt, an IMF agent tasked with completing dangerous and seemingly impossible missions. Along with Cruise as the iconic main character, various actors have also lent their talent to playing his close confidants and sidekicks, including Ving Rhames as Luther Stickell and Simon Pegg as Benji Dunn.

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The six movies released since 1996 have had audiences across the world on the edge of their seats, with each installment featuring increasingly thrilling action and spectacular stunts. From stopping rogue agents to protecting vital assets, these movies have kept us on our toes.

mission impossible movies

All Mission Impossible Movies In Order

  1. Mission: Impossible

    Director: Brian De Palma

    Writers: Bruce Geller, Steven Zaillian, David Koepp

    Stars: Tom Cruise, Emmanuelle Béart, Jon Voight

    Genres: Action, Adventure, Thriller

    Mission: Impossible (1996) on IMDb

    This first franchise installment fetched big numbers and a cult following for the Mission Impossible film series. Tom Cruise appeared as the main lead by the name of Ethan Hunt. The role has been reserved for him since becoming a legendary character.

    Ethan Hunt is an American spy agent working for the IMF. When Jim Phelps and his team are assigned a mission to prevent theft in Prague, Ethan Hunt is also one of his trusted partners. Everything went well until all the team members were killed, leaving Ethan alive and a prime suspect. To his surprise, he discovers that the Prague mission was to find the mole in their group.

    When Kittredge thinks Ethan is the mole, he flees to find the real culprit. Soon, he finds out that Claire, Phelp’s wife, managed to escape and is alive. They hire a pilot and a hacker to assist them in proving their innocence. They contact “Max,” the arms dealer who needs the original CIA NOC list, which was supposedly stolen but turned out fake and set with a tracking device.

    Ethan offers to provide the real list in exchange for the true identity of the mole. Meanwhile, Phelep also resurfaces, surviving the deadly shooting and claims Kittridge to be the betrayer. By now, Ethan figures out that Phelps is the mole and chases him down, finally killing him. He doubts the possibility of returning to the IMF when an attendant asks him if he’s ready to lead the team to another mission.

    This movie was the franchise’s ace, which built an unstoppable action series. Tom Cruise was the center of attraction with his charm and unbelievable stunts. The characters had depth and little elements of detailing of their own. Not only the famous tunnel chase scene but the suspense throughout the movie gives a nail-biting experience. The originality pulled over-the-top action and storyline smartly to make things work without seeming extra. Get your popcorn to begin with this one, and they are well-spent.

  2. Mission: Impossible 2

    Director: John Woo

    Writers: Bruce Geller, Ronald D. Moore, Brannon Braga

    Stars: Tom Cruise, Dougray Scott, Thandiwe Newton

    Genres: Action, Adventure, Thriller

    Mission: Impossible II (2000) on IMDb

    An acquaintance of Ethan, bio-chemical expert Nekhorvich, writes to him, informing him about a deadly virus, “Chimera,” he was forced to create. Another IMF agent, Sean Ambrose, in disguise as Dmitri, betrays and kills the scientist stealing the antidote “Bellerophon”. Ethan is called upon to recover the cure and destroy the deadly virus.

    For his assistance, an international thief Nyah Nordoff-Hall, the beautiful ex-girlfriend of Ambrose, is hired. Their mission becomes impossible as they have to enter the Biocyte laboratories to recover the virus and prevent it from getting into the wrong hands.

    Now, to execute their plan, Nyah reconciles with Ambrose to find out his plan. From a memory card, they discover that Chimera has a 20-hour dormant period and can only be controlled if bellerophon is given in that short span. Ethan enters the Biocyte headquarters and destroys all virus samples except one. Meanwhile, Ambrose fools Nyah into believing he is Ethan, and she reveals their plan to him. He orders her to retrieve the virus, but she injects herself with it.

    Ethan steals the Bellerophon samples to save her and flees while Ambrose and his men follow him. Ethan beats Ambrose in a fistfight before shooting him with a pistol and returns with the antidote just in time. Nyah is saved, and they manage to successfully control the outbreak. Her criminal record is cleared before she and Ethan leave for a vacation.

    This movie might not be the best in the series, but it still offers great action and stunts. As far as the plot is concerned, it is slow, predictable and overdone. More drama at some points makes it so far from realistic. Nevertheless, Tom Cruise was excellent, as always, with the stunts and performances, while other actors played a fair part in their acting skills.

  3. Mission: Impossible III

    Director: J.J. Abrams

    Writers: Alex Kurtzman, Roberto Orci, J.J. Abrams

    Stars: Tom Cruise, Michelle Monaghan, Ving Rhames

    Genres: Action, Adventure, Thriller

    Mission: Impossible III (2006) on IMDb

    Now retired from IMF fieldwork, Ethan Hunt settled down with his fiancee Julia, a nurse unaware of his IMF career. While he trains recruits, he is called upon for another mission to save one of his trainees, Lindsey. His senior, John Musgrave, has also arranged for a team. While Ethan rescues Lindsey and two destroyed laptops, he is unaware of an explosive fit in Lindsey’s head which explodes, killing her.

    After her funeral, he gets a blank postcard with a microdot under its stamp that Lindsey has left for him. It warns him of IMF director Brassel as a mole. Ethan reassures Julia of their relationship by marrying her. He then gets Davian’s information, an arms dealer who kidnapped Lindsey.

    When arrested, Davian threatens to kill Julia. As Davian manages to escape, he also kidnaps Julia demanding “the rabbit’s foot” in return within 48 hours. The IMF interrogates Ethan about Davian’s escape, but he sneaks to Shanghai to get the rabbit’s foot and deliver it. When he meets Davian, he is tranquilized and fitted with the same explosive in his head as that of Lindsey.

    Davian shoots Julia and leaves. Musgrave reappears, revealing himself as a betrayer and informing Davian killed his translator and not Julia. A relieved Ethan flees again, managing to fight Davian and throwing him onto the road, where he is crushed by a truck. He detonates the explosive while teaching Julia to use his pistol. She successfully kills Musgrave, and Ethan explains his job to her. The IMF team congratulates them while they leave for their honeymoon.

    This movie is a great comeback in the series, with several upgrades compared to the prequel. An energetic Tom Cruise makes his third appearance and does not fail to deliver. Philip Seymour Hoffman performs an equally beautiful performance, starring as the villain. The action is a feast, but the movie also has a great plot. Music and cinematography are the top tiers in this installment of the franchise.

  4. Mission Impossible- Ghost Protocol

    Director: Brad Bird

    Writers: Bruce Geller, Josh Appelbaum, André Nemec

    Stars: Tom Cruise, Jeremy Renner, Simon Pegg

    Genres: Action, Adventure, Thriller

    Mission: Impossible - Ghost Protocol (2011) on IMDb

    IMF agent Trevor Hanaway is killed by Moreau, who steals the Russian nuclear launch codes to hand them over to “Cobalt”. Meanwhile, Ethan Hunt is in a Moscow prison to take Bogdan with him. Upon learning of Hanaway’s death, Ethan is assigned to get details about Cobalt from the Kremlin. An unknown entity broadcasts across IMF frequency on his mission, alerting the Russians.

    As Hunt and his team abort the mission to escape, a blast destroys most of the Kremlin. On waking up, Ethan finds himself in the hospital with a Russian agent who thinks Ethan is the mastermind of the mishap. He manages to escape and meet the IMF secretary, who informs him of the Ghost protocol. The IMF is now declared it illegal but has to secretly look for Cobalt. Secretary is shot dead, but his aide Brandt joins hands with Ethan. After much hustle, Brandt finds out that Cobalt is Kurt Hendricks, a Russian nuclear strategist who wants to destroy the weak people through a nuclear war.

    Heading towards the exchange of codes between Moreau and Hendricks’ associate, Wistrom, which takes place in Dubai, IMF agents try their best to get the codes, but Hendricks escapes. Moreau is killed by Ethan’s teammate Carter who Brandt blames for ruining the mission. Ethan accuses Brandt of keeping a secret, to which he admits that he feels responsible for the death of Julia, Ethan’s wife.

    Later, Hendricks arrives in Mumbai to use the broadcast station of Indian entrepreneur Brij Nath to fire a missile. The IMF follows him, but it is too late to stop the launch. Ethan and Hendricks fight for the launch device, and Hendricks jumps to death along the device. Ethan risks his life and successfully deactivates the missile proving the innocence of IMF. Regular work is restored, and Ethan reveals to Brandt that Julia is alive. Free from the guilt, he accepts a new mission while Ethan has a hearty glance at his wife from a distance before leaving for a new mission.

    The franchise keeps getting better with each movie. This movie comes with an intriguing plot and breathtaking action scenes. Highly energetic movie with great acting worth the hype.

  5. Mission: Impossible – Rogue Nation

    Director: Christopher McQuarrie

    Writers: Bruce Geller, Christopher McQuarrie, Drew Pearce

    Stars: Tom Cruise, Rebecca Ferguson, Jeremy Renner

    Genres: Adventure, Action, Thriller

    Mission: Impossible - Rogue Nation (2015) on IMDb

    Ethan Hunt intercepts a shipment transported by rogue agents of various agencies, forming the terror organization Syndicate. Ethan is gassed to unconsciousness by a man, later revealed as Solomon Lane. Meanwhile, CIA director Alan Hunley doubts the existence of the Syndicate and demands to disband the IMF in front of a committee. Successful in his attempt, he merges IMF agents Dunn and Brandt into the CIA.

    When Ethan escapes from a torture cell run by a syndicate agent with the help of MI6 Agent Ilsa Faust Brandt warns him to go undercover and break contacts with the IMF. Months later, Dunn is invited to the Vienna opera, where Ethan asks him to track Solomon. Instead, they find syndicate assassins attempting to kill the Austrian chancellor. Unfortunately, Ethan fails to prevent the assassination and leaves with Dunn.

    Hunley holds Ethan and Dunn responsible for this event and orders them to execute them. Brandt takes control of things and hires old agent Stickell to find the duo before the CIA. Dunn and Ethan move to Casablanca to reunite with Faust. They succeed in stealing a digital box having a list of Syndicate assassins. However, access to information requires the biometrics of the British Prime Minister.

    Soon they leave for London, where Dunn is abducted by Solomon, who wants the decrypted data in the digital ledger, and Ethan agrees to do so. Hunley, Brandt and Atlee go ahead to meet the Prime Minister, who reveals the Syndicate was the idea of Atlee for carrying out missions. Surprisingly, it was not Atlee but Ethan wearing his mask. When real Atlee walks in, Ethan forces him to confess to starting the Syndicate before Solomon steals the information.

    When the file in the digital box is decrypted, it is not a list of assassins but rather 2.4 billion euro transaction details into numerous accounts. The information is destroyed, and Ethan offers to give Solomon the memorized data only if he frees Dunn. Agreeing to the deal, Dunn is allowed to leave. Syndicate assassins chase Faust and Ethan. Faust kills Vinter, and Ethan tricks Solomon to get into the same gas cell where he was gassed unconscious.

    Assured with the Syndicate’s existence and Ethan’s work, Hunley asks the committee to roll back the decision and reestablish the IMF. While walking out, Brandt congratulates Hunley for becoming the new IMF secretary.

    This movie is different and better in so many aspects. Despite being predictable, the plot is so strong that at the end, it is the great action scenes you remember and the story too. The main villain has left an impact equivalent to the main protagonist and all-time favorite, Tom Cruise. A complete feast without any major flaws.

  6. Mission: Impossible – Fallout

    Director: Christopher McQuarrie

    Writers: Bruce Geller, Christopher McQuarrie

    Stars: Tom Cruise, Henry Cavill, Ving Rhames

    Genres: Action, Adventure, Thriller

    Mission: Impossible - Fallout (2018) on IMDb

    A new terror group named Apostles has emerged by supporters of Solomon lane under extremist John Larke. Their goal is to use stolen plutonium cores to attack Mecca, Jerusalem and Rome. Ethan is assigned to recover the plutonium before it’s too late. Apostles capture Stickell, and to save him, Ethan lets the terrorists steal the cores. Furious by failure, the CIA director hires August Walker, an agent from the Special Activities Division, to help Ethan. The duo leaves to find Lark, but he is killed in a restroom fight.

    Ethan meets a widow, posing as Lark to obtain the cores. He finds out that only one core has been handed over, and for the other two, he needs to hand over Solomon to her. He agrees to the demand and makes a master plan to get Solomon out of custody without harming policemen.

    Later, Walker is tricked by Hunt into revealing he is the real Lark, and he threatens to kill Julia, Ethan’s ex-wife. The assassins in the CIA team kill Hunley, but Ethan manages to come up with a backup plan. He fits a tracking device in Solomon Lane, which takes them to a village where Julia works.

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    Lark and Lane are planning to contaminate the water of India, Pakistan and China with nuclear bombs. Ethan has his final face-off with Walker. He manages to get the detonator to deactivate all three bombs, and Lark dies after the helicopter with him falls off the cliff. Solomon is handed over to MI6, and Julia praises the caliber of Ethan and the beautiful life he has given her.

    So far, it is the final movie released by the franchise. Its plot is in the continuity of mission impossible: Rogue nation. Despite being the sixth movie of the series, it is fresh, innovative and full of action. It ends on a high note keeping the interest alive for Mission Impossible: Dead Reckoning.

  7. Mission: Impossible – Dead Reckoning

    Director: Christopher McQuarrie

    Writers: Bruce Geller, Christopher McQuarrie

    Stars: Tom Cruise, Rebecca Ferguson, Vanessa Kirby

    Genres: Action, Adventure, Thriller

    Mission: Impossible - Dead Reckoning Part One (2023) on IMDb

    Ethan Hunt is back and ready to take on another thrilling mission! In this movie, he teams up with his beloved crew for a heart-pounding adventure around the world to save it.

    On January 14, 2019, Tom Cruise officials announced that the seventh and eighth films of the Mission: Impossible film series are directed by Christopher McQuarrie, and both films will release on July 23, 2021, and August 5, 2022. Due to the COVID-19 pandemic, production was halted. Finally, the seventh installment of the Mission: Impossible film series is scheduled in US theaters on July 14, 2023, and the eighth is to be released on June 28, 2024.

    Featuring Grammy-winning composer Lorne Balfe’s score and the direction of Christopher McQuarrie, who has spearheaded both previous installments in the Mission: Impossible franchise, this movie is set to be an electrifying journey with Tom Cruise as super spy Ethan Hunt. With twists and turns around every corner for all new and returning characters alike, prepare for a thrilling adventure.

Final Words

To date, six Mission Impossible movies have been released. Two more movies are set to release in 2023 and 2024, respectively. Talking about the existing ones, their chronological order is very simple and in accordance with their release date. All these movies are based on a secret spy agency in America called IMF( impossible mission force). The story is fictional and full of suspense and unfolds with an action-filled plot with a mission that is nearly “impossible”.

All Mission Impossible Movies By Their IMDb Rating

  • Mission: Impossible – Fallout – 7.7 with 373K Votes
  • Mission: Impossible – Dead Reckoning – 7.7 with 222K Votes
  • Mission Impossible- Ghost Protocol – 7.4 with 524K Votes
  • Mission: Impossible – Rogue Nation – 7.4 with 407K Votes
  • Mission: Impossible – 7.2 with 466K Votes
  • Mission: Impossible III – 6.9 with 387K Votes
  • Mission: Impossible 2 – 6.1 with 374K Votes

All Mission Impossible Movies Box Office Collection

  • Mission: Impossible – $457.7 million
  • Mission: Impossible 2 – $934 million
  • Mission: Impossible III – $399.4 million
  • Mission Impossible- Ghost Protocol – $694.7 million
  • Mission: Impossible – Rogue Nation – $688.9 million
  • Mission: Impossible – Fallout – $791.1 million
  • Mission: Impossible – Dead Reckoning – $567.5 million
Kierra Rowsey
Kierra Rowsey

Kierra Rowsey is a freelance TV, Film and anime critic for over 12 years, living in Arkansas with her husband and three kids. She graduated from NYU College of Arts & Science in 2008.

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