ShortList is supported by you, our amazing readers. When you click through the links on our site and make a purchase we may earn a commission. Learn more

20 Things You (Probably) Didn't Know About Mission: Impossible

20 Things You (Probably) Didn't Know About Mission: Impossible

20 Things You (Probably) Didn't Know About Mission: Impossible
Danielle de Wolfe
03 February 2014

It’s been one of the most successful TV-to-movie adaptations, with lots of attractive people doing wonderfully spiffy spy things and Tom Cruise showing his ability to pull off many different hair cuts.

Obviously you love the Mission: Impossible films, because they are mostly excellent, but how much do you know about the first installment? This feature will not self-destruct because that would be dangerous and potentially leave us open to legal action.

(Images: All Star)


The sequence with the exploding fish tank in the restaurant was Tom Cruise’s idea. Those tanks contained 16 tons of water.


Apple spent $15 million on product placement in the movie, plus other associated tie-ins, in order to boost its image after, at the time, a large downturn in profits.


During shooting of the scene where Cruise is lowered from the ceiling to hack a government computer he kept hitting his face on the floor. In order to stay balance he asked a stunt man for the change from his pocket and put it in his shoes to weight them down.


Emilio Estevez isn’t credited for his role as Jack Harmon. Tom Cruise had once appeared in Estevez’s film Young Guns, for which he did not receive a credit.


The role of Claire was originally offered to Juliette Binoche.


The pub at the end of the movie is the Anchor Tavern, which is next to Southwark Bridge in London.


Although it’s now a popular filming location for movies that want a bit of a ‘ye olde European history’ look, Mission: Impossible was the first major studio movie to shoot in Prague.


Mission: Impossible was the first movie to open in more than 3,000 cinemas in America. It opened with $45 million, on a budget of $80 million, and would go on to take $458 million worldwide.


The IMF crew’s secret London hide-out is situated immediately above Liverpool Street Station.


Vanessa Redgrave’s role, Max, was written with a man in mind.


Several of the cast of the Mission: Impossible TV show were offered roles but all turned the film down as they didn’t like the direction the movie was taking the characters. Martin Landau said that an early draft he was shown had all the original team gradually killed off, an idea he didn’t like at all.


Because it was made in the days when email seemed very futuristic and new and whooshy, the film wasn’t entirely up on the rules of email addresses. Max’s address of Max@Job 3:14 is, of course, completely impossible.


Tom Cruise originally argued against the helicopter sequence at the end, saying the film should end on the train. Brian De Palma insisted a Mission: Impossible movie needed “some wham-bam ending”.


Brian De Palma was asked to return for a sequel but refuses to make sequels to any of his movies.


Mission: Impossible started shooting without a completed script. The opening and closing sequences were decided but the connecting story was only very loosely sketched.


Brian De Palma refused to do any press for the movie after its completion. This was, at the time, reported to be due to the fact he didn’t like the movie and didn’t get on with Tom Cruise. De Palma later said, in an interview with Premiere, that he was simply so exhausted from making the film that he couldn’t think about anything.


The film was originally planned to open with a complex sequence that would introduce a love triangle between Ethan, Claire and Phelps. De Palma scrapped it because he thought it would take the audience out of the spy genre.


The final train sequence, which was supposedly set on the journey to the Channel Tunnel, was actually filmed in Scotland.


The film was given a budget of $70 million. Unusually for a Hollywood movie, it came in on time and under budget.


Tom Cruise declined a set fee, instead opting for a sizeable percentage of the film’s box office takings. It’s estimated that he received around $70 million.