The Mission Film Guide
June 1, 2013
This film guide serves as an educational resource for viewing The Mission, the 1986 award-winning film set in eighteenth century colonial Brazil about the efforts of two Jesuit priests—one a missionary and one a former slave trader— to establish and defend a mission benefiting the indigenous Guarani people in the midst of the struggle for political mastery of the Americas between Portugal and Spain. The film addresses several themes related to religion and conflict, including ways of dealing with tension between religious and political authorities and ongoing debates about Catholic just war teaching. This guide includes a synopsis of the film, historical context on the Spanish and Portuguese colonization of the New World and the role of evangelization in that process, a list of key terms, discussion questions, and a list of recommended further readings.