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The Most Beautiful (1944)
"Ichiban utsukushiku" (original title)

 -  Drama  -  June 1987 (USA)
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Ratings: 5.9/10 from 826 users  
Reviews: 17 user | 18 critic

During World War II, the management of a war industry of optical instruments for weapons requests an effort from the workers to increase the productivity during four months. The target for ... See full summary »



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Cast overview, first billed only:
Chief Goro Ishida
Sôji Kiyokawa ...
Soichi Yoshikawa, Chief of General Affairs Section
Ichirô Sugai ...
Ken Shinda, Chief of Labor Section
Takako Irie ...
Noriko Mizushima, dorm mother
Yôko Yaguchi ...
Tsuru Watanabe, president of women workers
Sayuri Tanima ...
Yuriko Tanimura, vice president of the women workers
Sachiko Ozaki ...
Sachiko Yamazaki
Shizuko Nishigaki ...
Fusae Nishioka
Asako Suzuki ...
Asako Suzumura
Haruko Toyama ...
Masako Koyama
Aiko Masu ...
Tokiko Hiroda
Kazuko Hitomi ...
Kazuko Futomi
Shizuko Yamada ...
Hisae Yamaguchi
Itoko Kôno ...
Sue Okabe
Toshiko Hattori ...
Toshiko Hattori


During World War II, the management of a war industry of optical instruments for weapons requests an effort from the workers to increase the productivity during four months. The target for male workers is an increase of 100% of the production, but the female workers, led by the dedicated Tsuru Watanabe, ask the direction to surpass their goal from 50% to 70%. During the period, the women have to overcome illness and their personal problems to complete their quota. Written by Claudio Carvalho, Rio de Janeiro, Brazil

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Release Date:

June 1987 (USA)  »

Also Known As:

Ichiban utsukushiku  »

Filming Locations:

Company Credits

Production Co:

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Technical Specs


Sound Mix:

Aspect Ratio:

1.37 : 1
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Did You Know?


Most filming for the movie was shot on location at a real factory in Hiratsuke, named Nippon Kogaku, which helped give the movie more of a documentary feel to it. To get the best performance out of his actors, Akira Kurosawa had them live in the dormitory at the factory during filming, while being trained in the same jobs their characters were doing. This would start the career long trend of Kurosawa having his cast and crew live on set as big families during both preproduction and filming. See more »


Referenced in Kurosawa: The Last Emperor (1999) See more »

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User Reviews

'Rosie The Riveter', Japanese Style...
23 March 2010 | by (United States) – See all my reviews

Ichiban utsukushiku (1944) 'THE MOST BEAUTIFUL' is Akira Kurosawa's tribute to Japanese Women who supported the war effort (WWII) at the 'Home-Front'. It is analogous to films made in other countries at that time. The nations that participated in the conflict all called upon Women too help in the manufacturing process. Some successfully like Great Britain, Soviet Russia and the U.S.A. Others like China, Fascist Italy or Nazi Germany less so, with Imperial Japan falling in between. Not from lack of effort, but of resources.

Like LETTERS FROM IWO JIMA (2006) the film shows the war from the Japanese perspective. This is a propaganda film. That does not invalidate its message compared with the other participants in the conflict, it is just another point of view, made in wartime. The Women work in a optical factory which could pass for a 'Dickensian Workhouse'. Their work is important and they know it. The pressure of increased productivity with limited resources is clearly shown. It effects them all emotionally, physically and psychologically. The Men of the factory for the most part are unseen drones, except for the managers of the plant. They take a sensitive interest in the well being of their Female staff, without taking advantage of them. The War is largely unseen, but you know it is out there and getting closer all the time. The Director could see the end was coming, even if the Imperial General Staff could not.

The principal cast of Women actors are largely unknowns whose careers were brief before and after this film. They are all convincing in their roles and give believable characterizations. The only 'Star' recognizable too Western audiences would be the great TAKASHI SHIMURA. SHIMURA was a 'jake of all trades' for the TOHO Studios, Japan. His acting range spanned Business Men, Criminals, Detectives, Samurai and Scientists. Films of note, SHICHININ NO SAMURAI (1954) 'The Seven Samurai', GOJIRA (1954) 'Godzilla', CHIKYU BOEIGUN (1957) 'The Mysterians' and YOJIMBO (1961) 'Yojimbo, The Bodyguard'.

Those who have TCM or a well stocked local Library can take advantage of the films of AKIRA KUROSAWA and they should.

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Availability? martn2420
dearest to his heart morganseer
Not a 'real' propaganda film, per se. miso5000
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