Joyce Strawn

Written by Joyce Strawn

Modified & Updated: 05 Mar 2024

Jessica Corbett

Reviewed by Jessica Corbett


The Missing is a thrilling and mysterious movie that has captivated audiences since its release. Directed by Ron Howard and released in 2003, the film tells the story of Maggie Gilkeson, a determined woman whose daughter is abducted by a group of outlaws led by a sinister figure named Chidin. Filled with suspense, action, and a touch of supernatural elements, The Missing takes viewers on a gripping journey through the unforgiving landscapes of the Southwest. With renowned actors like Cate Blanchett, Tommy Lee Jones, and Evan Rachel Wood delivering powerful performances, the movie has gained widespread acclaim for its compelling storyline and exceptional cinematography. In this article, we will delve into 46 fascinating facts about The Missing that will deepen your appreciation for this cinematic gem.

Key Takeaways:

  • “The Missing” is a gripping action-thriller set in the Wild West, exploring themes of family and cultural clashes, with intense action sequences and a powerful message about the strength of family bonds.
  • The film’s captivating blend of action, drama, and western elements, along with its strong ensemble cast and stunning cinematography, offers a unique cinematic experience that immerses audiences in the rugged beauty of the American West.
Table of Contents

The Missing” is based on a novel.

The movie is adapted from Thomas Eidson’s novel “The Last Ride.”

The film stars Tommy Lee Jones as the protagonist.

Jones portrays Samuel Jones, a determined father searching for his kidnapped daughter.

Cate Blanchett plays the role of the daughter, Maggie Gilkeson.

Blanchett’s versatile acting skills bring depth to the character of the resilient Maggie.

Ron Howard directed the movie.

Howard, known for his exceptional storytelling, skillfully crafts a suspenseful narrative.

“The Missing” is set in the late 19th century.

The film takes place in New Mexico during a time when lawlessness prevailed.

The movie explores the clash between Native Americans and settlers.

It delves into the complexities of the historical relationship between Native Americans and European settlers.

The stunning cinematography captures the rugged beauty of the American West.

The landscapes serve as both a backdrop and a character in the film.

The film received mixed reviews from critics.

While some praised its performances and unique story, others felt it was unevenly paced.

“The Missing” grossed over $38 million worldwide.

Despite mixed reviews, the movie had moderate commercial success.

The intense action sequences keep viewers on the edge of their seats.

The film’s gripping chase scenes and gunfights provide plenty of adrenaline-fueled moments.

Tommy Lee Jones and Cate Blanchett trained extensively for their roles.

They learned skills such as trapping, horseback riding, and knife fighting to fully embody their characters.

Multiple Native American tribes are depicted in the film.

The movie respectfully represents the Apache, Navajo, and Kiowa tribes, among others.

“The Missing” has a supernatural element.

The story incorporates Native American mysticism and folklore, adding an intriguing layer to the plot.

The film’s soundtrack enhances the suspenseful atmosphere.

James Horner composed the score, which intensifies the emotional impact of the movie.

Ron Howard and Tommy Lee Jones previously collaborated on the film “Space Cowboys.”

Their successful partnership likely influenced their decision to work together on “The Missing.”

“The Missing” was partially filmed in the beautiful landscapes of New Mexico.

The stunning locations contribute to the authenticity of the setting.

The movie’s runtime is approximately 137 minutes.

The engaging storyline keeps audiences engrossed throughout the duration.

The costume design accurately reflects the time period.

The wardrobe captures the authenticity of late 19th-century fashion and adds to the overall visual appeal.

“The Missing” explores themes of family and redemption.

Samuel’s relentless pursuit to rescue his daughter highlights the power of familial bonds.

The film showcases the harsh realities of life in the Wild West.

It offers a gritty portrayal of the challenges faced by both settlers and Native Americans during that era.

“The Missing” was nominated for an Academy Award for Best Achievement in Makeup.

The impressive makeup effects in the film contributed to its recognition in this category.

Ron Howard specifically chose New Mexico as the shooting location for its historical significance.

He wanted to capture the essence of the Wild West, and New Mexico provided a perfect backdrop for the story.

The movie addresses the issue of human trafficking.

Maggie’s kidnapping sheds light on the dark underworld of women being coerced into slavery.

The film’s screenplay was written by Ken Kaufman.

Kaufman skillfully adapted Eidson’s novel into a compelling script.

“The Missing” has a strong ensemble cast.

In addition to Tommy Lee Jones and Cate Blanchett, the movie features talented actors such as Evan Rachel Wood and Jenna Boyd.

The film’s title refers to both the physical absence of a person and the emotional void it creates.

This theme underscores the emotional journey of the characters.

“The Missing” explores the complexities of cultural assimilation.

The conflict between preserving one’s cultural identity versus embracing change is an important aspect of the story.

The movie realistically portrays the brutality of the time period.

It doesn’t shy away from depicting the harshness and violence that characterized life in the Wild West.

The film highlights the resilience and strength of women.

Maggie’s character showcases her determination and resourcefulness in the face of adversity.

“The Missing” was inspired by real events.

Although fictional, the story draws inspiration from historical accounts of kidnappings during that period.

The film’s screenplay underwent several revisions before production.

Ken Kaufman worked closely with Ron Howard to fine-tune the narrative and character development.

The movie delves into the moral gray areas of vigilante justice.

The characters are forced to confront their own choices and the consequences that come with seeking revenge.

“The Missing” was praised for its authentic portrayal of Native American culture.

The filmmakers consulted with Native American advisors to ensure accuracy and respect in their representation.

The film’s editing is seamless.

Michael Hill’s editing contributes to the smooth flow of the narrative, enhancing the viewing experience.

“The Missing” explores the theme of forgiveness.

The characters navigate personal conflicts and grapple with letting go of past grievances.

The movie incorporates elements of a traditional western with a thrilling twist.

It offers a fresh take on the genre, keeping audiences engaged till the end.

“The Missing” premiered at the Rome Film Festival.

The movie was showcased on an international platform, gaining recognition for its unique storytelling.

The film’s marketing campaign focused on the emotional intensity of the story.

The trailers and promotional material emphasized the high stakes and emotional rollercoaster experienced by the characters.

“The Missing” is a gripping, character-driven film.

The focus on the personal journeys of the characters adds depth to the overall narrative.

The movie’s climax is intense and emotionally charged.

The final confrontation between Samuel and the antagonist raises the stakes and leaves audiences on the edge of their seats.

“The Missing” accurately portrays the hardships faced by women in the Wild West.

It sheds light on the limited rights and opportunities available to women during that era.

The movie offers a poignant exploration of the human spirit’s resilience.

It showcases the characters’ ability to endure and overcome unimaginable obstacles.

“The Missing” poses thought-provoking questions about justice and revenge.

It challenges viewers to consider the moral implications of seeking vengeance.

The film’s pacing keeps audiences engaged from start to finish.

The story unfolds at a steady rhythm, keeping the suspense alive throughout.

“The Missing” is a captivating blend of action, drama, and western elements.

It successfully combines different genres to create a unique cinematic experience.

“The Missing” delivers a powerful message about the strength of family bonds.

It emphasizes the lengths a parent would go to protect their child, regardless of the risks involved.

There you have it – 46 fascinating facts about the movie “The Missing.” It’s a film that immerses audiences in the Wild West while exploring themes of family, redemption, and the complexities of cultural clashes. Whether you’re a fan of action-packed thrillers or thought-provoking dramas, “The Missing” offers a compelling cinematic experience you won’t soon forget.


In conclusion, The Missing is a thrilling and captivating movie that keeps audiences on the edge of their seats. With its intricate plot, brilliant performances, and stunning cinematography, it is no wonder that this film has gained a strong following over the years. Whether you are a fan of Westerns or simply enjoy a well-crafted suspenseful story, The Missing is definitely worth watching.


1. Who directed The Missing?

The Missing was directed by Ron Howard, who is known for his exceptional storytelling abilities.

2. When was The Missing released?

The movie was released in 2003.

3. What is the genre of The Missing?

The Missing falls under the genres of Western, Drama, and Thriller.

4. Who are the main actors in The Missing?

The film stars Tommy Lee Jones, Cate Blanchett, and Evan Rachel Wood in the lead roles.

5. Is The Missing based on a true story?

No, The Missing is not based on a true story. It is a work of fiction.

6. What is the runtime of The Missing?

The film has a runtime of approximately 2 hours and 17 minutes.

7. Where was The Missing filmed?

The movie was primarily filmed in New Mexico, USA.

8. Does The Missing have any awards or nominations?

Yes, The Missing received several award nominations, including a nomination for Best Actress at the Academy Awards.

9. Can I watch The Missing with my family?

The movie is rated R for violence and language, so it is recommended for mature audiences.

10. Is The Missing available on streaming platforms?

Yes, The Missing can be streamed on various platforms like Netflix and Amazon Prime Video.

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