Mission Statements in Film
March 28, 2007 2:56 PM   Subscribe

Mission Statements in Film: I'm working on a presentation about the importance of having clear objectives, and am interested in relevant video clips.

What I need are some examples from films (or TV, if it's on DVD) where some character lays out exactly what needs to be accomplished. On example would be the anytime on Mission Impossible when you hear "Your mission, should you choose to accept it, is..." but I'm racking my brain trying to think of other clear instances of similar mission statements. (It can be a lot less obvious than "This is our mission." Anything where someone lays out a plan for action. Creative examples from children's movies or comedies especially welcome.) TIA.
posted by Pater Aletheias to Society & Culture (23 answers total) 1 user marked this as a favorite
Any halfway decent heist movie (Oceans 11-35, etc).
posted by nathancaswell at 3:06 PM on March 28, 2007

Best answer: Chicken Run has some good scenes that sound like what you're after.
posted by Nodecam at 3:11 PM on March 28, 2007

the importance of having clear objectives

I know this isn't quite the way round that you're asking for, but I can't help thinking of "You're only supposed to blow the bloody doors off."
posted by chrismear at 3:30 PM on March 28, 2007

Monty Python and the Holy Grail?
Harold and Kumar go to White Castle?

Any number of epics/comedies based around a "quest."
posted by vacapinta at 3:35 PM on March 28, 2007

The penguins from Madagascar do a bunch of military/heist-style operations (and they are hilarious). Problem is I seem to remember they tend to do the old, "OK, here's what we do..." and then cut to the plan in action, rather than actually laying out the plan.
posted by Rock Steady at 3:36 PM on March 28, 2007

Maybe this part of Shaun Of The Dead? Easily available on DVD.
posted by liquidindian at 3:59 PM on March 28, 2007

Best answer: In interviews, Joss Whedon always works in comments about "the mission statement" for Buffy The Vampire Slayer (writing staff). His fascination with mission statements comes through in many of the episodes' dialogue. e.g.

Season 4, "The I In Team". Starts with This is your objective. Sub-T 67119. Demon class, Polgara species...

Season 7, "Chosen". Starts with Welcome to Sunnydale High. There’s no running in the halls, no yelling, no gum-chewing. Apart from that, there’s only one rule: if they move, kill them...
posted by nakedcodemonkey at 3:59 PM on March 28, 2007

Any halfway decent heist movie (Oceans 11-35, etc).

Maybe counterintutively, many, many good heist sequences don't because the payoff is precisely in seeing how the crew is going to pull off the seemingly impossible heist when/as it happens. To outline the plan to the audience beforehand is like being shown how to do a magic trick and then being shown the trick afterwards.
posted by juv3nal at 4:12 PM on March 28, 2007

Mission statement: A-B-C. A-always, B-be, C-closing.
posted by dogsbody at 4:19 PM on March 28, 2007

For some reason the first thing that came to mind was that sequence at the climax of Goodfellas where a strung-out Henry Hill has a very busy day (quotations are from the shooting script and may not exactly match what's in the movie.):

I was going to be busy all day. I
had to drop off some thirty-eights
at Jimmy's to match some silencers
he had gotten. I had to pick up my
brother at the hospital and drive
him back to the house for dinner
and then I had to pick up some new
Pittsburgh stuff for Judy to fly
down to some customers I had near

And later:

I was cooking dinner that night. I
had to start braising the beef,
pork butt and veal shanks for the
tomato sauce. It's Michael's
favorite. I was making ziti with
the meat gravy, and I'm planning
to roast some peppers over the
flames, and I was putting on some
string beans with the olive oil
and garlic, and I had some beautiful
cutlets, cut just right, that I
was going to fry up before dinner
just as an appetizer. I was home
for about an hour. My plan was
toStart the dinner early, so Karen
and I could go unload the guns
that Jimmy didn't want, and get
the package for Judy to take to
Atlanta latex that night. I kept
looking out the window and the
helicopter was gone. I asked Michael
to watch the sauce, and Karen and
I started out.

And then:

My plan was I had to get home and
get the package ready for Judy to
take on her trip. Also, I had to
get to Robin's house to give the
package a whack with some quinine.
Plus, I knew Robin was gonna get
on my ass. Then I had the cooking
to finish at home, and I had to
get Judy ready for the trip.

All of this while what he believes to be government helicopters trail his every move. This voiceover is intercut with various scenes and dialogue, but some part of it might be suitable.
posted by staggernation at 4:19 PM on March 28, 2007

the film BAADASSSSS!, also known as How to Get the Man's Foot Outta Your Ass has a sequence where Melvin Van Peebles outlines how he is going to get his movie made (against all odds) which includes him papering his motel room walls with storyboard illustrations.
posted by cda at 4:42 PM on March 28, 2007

What about the list of targets in Kill Bill? As I recall, it's just a list of names that Uma Thurman draws up on a piece of paper, and not an explicit plan of how she's going to go about killing the individuals in question, but it is pretty clear what her mission is.
posted by Orinda at 4:44 PM on March 28, 2007

Best answer: Space. The final frontier. These are the voyages of the starship Enterprise. Its five-year mission: to explore strange, new worlds. To seek out new life and new civilizations. To boldly go where no man has gone before.

Ah, and the music! I'm misting up right now.

For new Star Trek, substitute "ongoing" for "five-year".
posted by amtho at 5:00 PM on March 28, 2007

Best answer: I can't believe that no one has mentioned the bestest and funniest mission statement on film -- the Seventy Five Year Plan from Bottle Rocket.
posted by GregW at 6:06 PM on March 28, 2007

Best answer: Saving Private Ryan has the scene where Tom Hanks lays out the problem with finally going after Ryan. He uses a map and explains a key strategic component about D-Day, about capturing Cherbourg and the bridges across the rivers.

But the best scenes are from Apollo 13, and there are too many to mention...

* The scene where all the engineers argue about how best to get the capsule home, starting with Ed Harris at the chalkboard. "OK, here's the earth, here's the moon, here's the spacecraft. We need to get them back. How do we do it?" And they run through all the possible options.

* Gary Sinise's character laying out how they're going to run the simulation, culminating where he asks for a flashlight, but not just any flashlight -- only the ones they have on board the spacecraft.

* The scene where they have to jury-rig the air scrubbers. "We have to make this (holds up square box) fit into the hole for this (holds up round canister), using only this (points at stuff on table)."
posted by frogan at 6:21 PM on March 28, 2007 [1 favorite]

I second Bottle Rocket - it has the brilliantly laid-out Seventy-Five Year Plan, but the planning session for the bookstore heist is also fabulous. Really, the whole movie works for your purposes, because Dignan is so clearly on a (ridiculous, naive) mission for all of it.
posted by sarahsynonymous at 6:28 PM on March 28, 2007

Jerry Maguire - the mission statement is central to the movie
posted by Frank Grimes at 7:56 PM on March 28, 2007 [1 favorite]

Response by poster: Thanks, everyone. I appreciate all the input so far. I'm marking as best answers the ones that seem like an especially good fit for my style and the audience's expectations.
posted by Pater Aletheias at 8:31 PM on March 28, 2007

The heist scene from Ocean's 11, when they are rigging up the model casino vault.
posted by perpetualstroll at 12:13 AM on March 29, 2007

Perhaps the only time this has been typed on Metafilter and has had a chance of being useful:

Step 1: Collect underpants

Step 2: ???

Step 3: Profit!

That is, of course, an example of an unclear mission objective.
posted by painquale at 12:24 AM on March 29, 2007

Not sure it's exactly a mission statement but the St Crispin's Day speech from Henry V is certainly a highly motivational speech from a leader to his followers and what you'd term a 'call to action'. It may be of some use to you.

There's a 1989 movie version with Kenneth Branagh doing the business but many would think Larry had it nailed back in 1944 - it was kind of contemporary given the days they were living through.
posted by southof40 at 4:24 AM on March 29, 2007

Best answer: Dirty Dozen - when they're planning the assault, and all the steps needed. To this day, for a big task, I'll joke, "Fifteen: Franko goes in where the others have been."

The Great Escape - there has to be some review of the steps to break out, but I haven't seen this movie recently to be 100 percent accurate.
posted by fijiwriter at 7:58 AM on March 29, 2007

it's more making fun of clearly laid out plans, but the whole recurring directions on how to conquer the k-12 in better off dead comes to mind.
posted by ifjuly at 8:22 PM on March 29, 2007

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