Mission: Impossible Theme Song

This is for the whole franchise

Just to recap—because technically there is only one Mission: Impossible theme song—let’s look at what the franchise has come up with so far.

From Wikipedia:

  1. Mission: Impossible, the original 1966-1973 television series
  2. Mission: Impossible, the 1988-1990 television series revival
  3. Mission: Impossible, the 1996 film starring Tom Cruise
  4. Mission: Impossible II, the 2000 sequel to the film
  5. Mission: Impossible III, the 2006 sequel to the film
  6. Mission: Impossible – Ghost Protocol, a forthcoming sequel announced for 2011

So, to make this post a little more exciting, we’ll try to discuss something from each. But first, something about the song.

The tune of course started life as the opening credits theme for the original television series. It has officially been called “Theme from Mission: Impossible” more so than anything else. It was composed by Lalo Schifrin, an Argentine composer who has received four Grammy Awards and six Oscar nominations, and is also known as the composer of the Dirty Harry theme, the Starsky and Hutch theme, as well as music for the Rush Hour film series.

Just to give you an idea of how legendary Mr. Schifrin and his theme song is, Lipton (the iced tea maker) created a tribute commercial in 2010 that fictionalized how he come up with the tune.

Now, on to the original series. Of course, this started it all. The theme was featured in the opening and closing credits; the opening sequence is legendary in itself—the match and fuse scene that burns from left to right as clips and the show’s stars are featured. The opening lasted 50 seconds. Luckily, this YouTuber compiled everything (opening, intro and closing) in one convenient video. See below.


The original series also gave birth to a soundtrack, but was only released in 1996 (I guess to bank on the success of the first film).

The 1988 television series revival is widely referred to as “The New Mission: Impossible.” Only actor Peter Graves (Jim Phelps) was able to reprise his role. The new series, of course, had a more modernized sequence and theme song. Below is the opening credits.


The tracks from this series, as well as the original one, can be found in an all-in-one soundtrack album called The Best Of Mission: Impossible Then And Now, which (I think) was also released in 1996.

The films

Mission: Impossible

The first film gave birth to a rockin’ soundtrack and remake of the theme by U2 members Adam Clayton (bass) and Larry Mullen, Jr. (drums).

Below is their version (with official video).

The song above peaked at #7 on the Billboard Hot 100, while the soundtrack (album) reached gold status.

The soundtrack also contained a remix (by the same U2 guys) entitled “Mission: Impossible Theme (Mission Accomplished)”. Listen below.


Because the film was scored by composer Danny Elfman, he also had a take on the theme song—featured in the opening of the movie. See below.

Mission: Impossible II

The film was scored by Hans Zimmer, and its soundtrack featured a bunch of rock songs from a bunch of rock bands. It gave birth to Limp Bizkit’s “Take a Look Around” that samples the original theme’s melody. Below is the song.

There’s also track in the Hans Zimmer score called “Mission:Impossible Theme” that lasts 39 seconds. For now I can’t get a hold of this version.

Mission: Impossible III

The second sequel did not do much for the good of the theme song. Official composer was Michael Giacchino. However, this time, the franchise did not release a song compilation album (just Giacchino score album). There is a 51-second version of the theme in the album, I guess a take by Mr. Giacchino but I also can’t find a video of it. Sorry.

Mission: Impossible – Ghost Protocol

The upcoming film is set to be scored once again by Michael Giacchino. Will update this once more information comes along. Movie is set to be released on December 16, 2011.