There Was a Father (1942)
"Chichi ariki" (original title)

Not Rated  |   |  Drama  |  November 1982 (USA)
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Ratings: 7.9/10 from 1,521 users  
Reviews: 12 user | 22 critic

Shuhei Horikawa, a poor schoolteacher, struggles to raise his son Ryohei by himself, despite neither money nor prospects.


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Credited cast:
Shûji Sano ...
Shin Saburi ...
Yasutaro Kurokawa
Takeshi Sakamoto ...
Makoto Hirata
Mitsuko Mito ...
Fumiko Hirata
Masayoshi Ôtsuka ...
Seiichi Hirata
Shin'ichi Himori ...
Minoru Uchida
Haruhiko Tsuda ...
Ryohei as a child
Rest of cast listed alphabetically:
Shôtarô Fujimatsu
Chiyoko Fumiya
Masao Hayama
Kanji Kawahara ...
Teacher of junior high school
Teruo Kisaragi
Shôichi Kotôda
Masami Kubota


A father and his son, a son and his father. Horikawa is a widower, a teacher, and a good father to Ryohei, who's about 10. After a tragedy, Horikawa resigns from teaching and takes Ryohei from Tokyo to the town of Ueno, enrolling him in junior high; to the lad's sorrow, he will be a boarder. Horikawa returns to work in Tokyo, their separation is complete. Jump ahead more than ten years: with dad's help, Ryohei has finished college and has a teaching job in Akita. Horikawa considers living with his son, which Ryohei wants, but the elder's notions of duty and hard work preclude it. Ryohei arranges a ten-day vacation with his father. Heartbreak comes quietly, nearly hidden by dignity. Written by <>

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Not Rated | See all certifications »




Release Date:

November 1982 (USA)  »

Also Known As:

There Was a Father  »

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Aspect Ratio:

1.37 : 1
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Referenced in I Lived, But... (1983) See more »

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User Reviews

Good, not great, movie from Ozu...
4 May 2007 | by See all my reviews

Slow-moving tale of a father's relation to his son. After a pupil accidentally dies on an excursion, a teacher (Chishu Ryu) retires from services and starts working second rate jobs to provide for his son's education. The movie jumps many years to show the relation of the father and son as the son has come adult. It is a film about sacrifice and duty. The two main characters must live a life apart, given that the son has so fulfill his studying duties and the father is working elsewhere. There are some heartthrob scenes with the small boy and a gentle Ozu melancholy throughout, but I find it not to have very much going for it in terms of theme display or drama compared to other Ozu I have seen, with basically just the two characters. Still, effective film-making on very simple premises. Excellent score – I thought the composer must have been Ozu regular, but was not.

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