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The Eel (1997)
"Unagi" (original title)

Not Rated  |   |  Drama  |  21 August 1998 (USA)
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Ratings: 7.4/10 from 4,204 users  
Reviews: 23 user | 40 critic

A businessman kills his adulterous wife and is sent to prison. After the release, he opens a barbershop and meets new people, talking almost to no one except an eel he befriended while in prison.


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Cast overview, first billed only:
Takuro Yamashita
Keiko Hattori
Mitsuko Baishô ...
Misako Nakajima
Akira Emoto ...
Tamotsu Takasaki
Fujio Tokita ...
Jiro Nakajima
Shô Aikawa ...
Yuji Nozawa
Ken Kobayashi ...
Masaki Saito
Sabu Kawahara ...
Seitaro Misato
Etsuko Ichihara ...
Fumie Hattori
Tomorowo Taguchi ...
Eiji Dojima
Chiho Terada ...
Emiko Yamashita
Shinshô Nakamaru
Sei Hiraizumi
Seiji Kurasaki
Toshirô Ishidô


White-collar worker Yamashita finds out that his wife has a lover visiting her when he's away, suddenly returns home and kills her. After eight years in prison, he returns to live in a small village, opens a barber shop (he was trained as a barber in prison) and talks almost to no-one except for the eel he "befriended" in prison. One day he finds the unconscious body of Keiko, who attempted suicide and reminds him of his wife. She starts to work at his shop, but he doesn't let her become close to him. Written by Anonymous

Plot Summary | Add Synopsis




Not Rated | See all certifications »




Release Date:

21 August 1998 (USA)  »

Also Known As:

The Eel  »

Box Office

Opening Weekend:

DEM 12,386 (Germany) (6 February 1998)


$413,793 (USA) (28 May 1999)

Company Credits

Show detailed on  »

Technical Specs


Sound Mix:


Aspect Ratio:

1.85 : 1
See  »

Did You Know?


Finnish censorship certificate # 103959. See more »


Jiro Nakajima: Is it bad to have such rumors about a guy on parole?
See more »


Featured in Especial Cannes: 50 Anos de Festival (1997) See more »

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User Reviews

A little gem
28 March 1999 | by (Australia) – See all my reviews

THE EEL borders on dark humour when a man, who after eight years in prison for the murder of his wife, is released from jail. He sets himself up in a barber shop by the river and trouble comes knocking on his door and he can not seem to get away from it. Simple, yet effective, a very mature piece of work and pleasing overall.

5 of 10 people found this review helpful.  Was this review helpful to you?

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