The Mission: Impossible franchise has almost quietly become one of the best, most reliably entertaining action movie franchises in existence. Over the last 20+ years, the films have continued to evolve with viewer tastes, while also serving as a workshop of sorts for various filmmakers to ply their craft. From Brian De Palma’s classic espionage caper in the first Mission: Impossible to the team format established in J.J. Abrams’ M:I-III and carried over into each subsequent film, Mission: Impossible is the rare auteur-driven blockbuster franchise.
The only true mainstay has been Tom Cruise (although Ving Rhames also shows up in every movie), who has used the series to prove his chops as a dedicated action star known for performing all of his own stunts. In fact, part of the spectacle of watching a Mission: Impossible movie is seeing what new over-the-top way Cruise has found to defy death. Of course, they’re also fun spy movies with all sorts of cool gadgets and genre tropes, and each one contains some interesting Easter eggs.
Here are 35 of the best hidden details you may not have noticed in the Mission: Impossible series.
Note: We’ve covered the first 5 movies here, but we’ll be adding Mission: Impossible – Fallout to the list once we’ve had time to examine it more closely.