In September1973, in Chile, the American journalist Charles Horman arrives in Valparaiso with his friend Terry Simon to meet his wife Beth and bring her back to New York with him. However, they are surprised by the military coup d’état sponsored by the US Government to replace President Salvador Allende and Charles is arrested by the military force.
His father Ed Horman, a conservative businessman from New York, arrives in Chile to seek out his missing son with Beth. He goes to the American Consulate to meet the Consul that promises the best efforts to find Charles while the skeptical Beth does not trust on the word of the American authorities. The nationalism and confidence of Ed in his government changes when he finds the truth about what happened with his beloved son.
Missing is a 1982 American historical drama film directed by Costa-Gavras and starring Jack Lemmon, Sissy Spacek, Melanie Mayron, John Shea, Janice Rule and Charles Cioffi. It is based on the true story of American journalist Charles Horman, who disappeared in the bloody aftermath of the US-backed Chilean coup of 1973 that deposed the democratically elected socialist President Salvador Allende. The film was jointly awarded the Palme d’Or (with Yol) at the 1982 Cannes Film Festival.
Set largely during the days and weeks following Horman’s disappearance, the movie depicts his father and wife searching to determine his fate. The film examines the relationship between Horman’s wife Beth (Spacek) and her father-in-law, American businessman Ed Horman (Jack Lemmon). The film was banned in Chile during Augusto Pinochet’s dictatorship, even though neither Chile nor Pinochet are ever mentioned by name (although the Chilean cities of Viña del Mar and Santiago are).
About the Story
The film opens with Costa-Gavras’ statement that the events of the film are true. At first, When Ed arrives in the Latin American country where his son Charles Horman worked, Ed blames his son and his radical political views for his disappearance, but he is later crushed when discovering that the government he reveres so highly has been involved with his son’s disappearance and possible death as a collaborator of the dictatorship.
As a bookend of sorts to Costa-Gavras’ assertion that the events of Missing are true, the film ends with a postscript stating that after his return to the United States, Ed Horman received the body of his son Charles seven months later (making an autopsy impossible), and that a subsequent lawsuit against the US government was dismissed. It also adds that the State Department denies their involvement in the Allende coup, a position maintained to the present day.
Directed by: Costa-Gavras
Starring: Jack Lemmon, Sissy Spacek, Melanie Mayron, John Shea, Charles Cioffi, David Clennon, Richard Venture, Janice Rule
Screenplay by: Costa-Gavras, Donald Stewart
Production Design by: Peter Jamison
Cinematography by: Ricardo Aronovich
Film Editing by: Françoise Bonnot
Costume Design by: Joe I. Tompkins
Set Decoration by: Linda Spheeris
Art Direction by: Lucero Isaac, Agustín Ituarte
Music by: Vangelis
Distributed by: Universal Pictures
Release Date: February 12, 1982