This Roland Joffé movie is one of the best I have seen. A few days ago I watched this for the 2nd time and the tragic ending again made me eyes wet. The music by Ennio Morricone is one of the most beautiful scores ever written. I love Gabriel's Oboe, which is now perhaps more known as Nella Fantasia, after given lyrics by Chiara Ferraù, and sung by famous singers such as Sarah Brightman, Russell Watson, Amici Forever, Il Divo, Katherine Jenkins, etc.
Set in 18th century, the Jesuit missionaries, lead by Father Gabriel (Jeremy Irons) christianize the Guarani Indians in the South America jungle, which at that time is the teritory of the Spain. He is helped by Rodrigo Mendoza (Robert De Niro), an ex-mercenary, who is seeking redemption after murdering his own brother. With the Treaty of Madrid in 1750, the missionary is now handed over to the Portuguese colonial, who want to enslave the Indians. The Jesuits are ordered to leave by the Vatican, but refuse. The Cardinal visits the place and sees with his own eyes that the mission actually has an excellent progress. However, he cannot do anything to defend them against the greedy colonialists. The mission is finally destroyed by the Spanish and Portuguese forces.