33 user 26 critic

The Idiot (1951)

Hakuchi (original title)
A Japanese veteran, driven partially mad from the war, travels to the snowy island of Kameda where he soon enters a love triangle with his best friend and a disgraced woman.



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Cast overview, first billed only:
Taeko Nasu
Kinji Kameda
Denkichi Akama
Ono, Ayako's father
Satoko, Ayako's mother
Eijirô Yanagi ...
Mutsuo Kayama, the secretary
Noriko Sengoku ...
Kokuten Kôdô ...
Bokuzen Hidari ...
Eiko Miyoshi ...
Madame Kayama
Chiyoko Fumiya ...
Mitsuyo Akashi ...
Madame Akama
Daisuke Inoue ...


Kameda, who has been in an asylum on Okinawa, travels to Hokkaido. There he becomes involved with two women, Taeko and Ayako. Taeko comes to love Kameda, but is loved in turn by Akama. When Akama realizes that he will never have Taeko, his thoughts turn to murder, and great tragedy ensues. Written by Jim Beaver <jumblejim@prodigy.net>

Plot Summary | Add Synopsis


Drama | Romance


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Release Date:

30 April 1963 (USA)  »

Also Known As:

The Idiot  »

Filming Locations:

Company Credits

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Technical Specs


| (premiere) | (extended)

Sound Mix:

Aspect Ratio:

1.37 : 1
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Did You Know?


Akira Kurosawa in his autobiography describes this film - which was heavily edited from the director's original four-hour-and-twenty-six-minute version, by order of the studio, Shochiku - as "ruinous" to his career. Upon release, reviews of this film in the Japanese press were, according to Kurosawa, universally "scathing." ("It was as if [the reviews] were a mirror reflection of the studio's attitude toward me," he writes.) Not surprisingly, therefore, in the annual Kinema Junpo critics' poll for films released in 1951, The Idiot (1951) appears way down in the list, ranked at #18. Of all twenty five Japanese-language films that Kurosawa released from the end of the Second World War to the end of his career, this film is the only one that failed to place within the "Best Ten" list of films in the Kinema Junpo poll of its release year. In fact, it has been claimed that only the immense popularity of the film's star, Setsuko Hara, prevented the film from being a complete commercial disaster. See more »


Mutsuo Kayama, the secretary: What could be so frightening about that idiot?
See more »


Version of Idiot (1910) See more »


In the Hall of the Mountain King
From "Peer Gynt Suite No. 1, Op. 46"
Music by Edvard Grieg
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User Reviews

The imposed edit of this movie makes it impossible to rate.
14 May 2005 | by (Madrid) – See all my reviews

Although severely mutilated, this film still distillates the genius of Kurosawa, unfortunately the artistic decisions are still made by the people who have the money, not by the people who have the talent.

For the people who have read Dostoievski's "The Idiot", I think this film will be an amazing experience. For the rest the movie probably won't be very clear, because the studio edited off over an hour of footage, which obviously crippled the movie.

That was the luck which Kurosawa's "The Idiot" ran. And many of other films too.


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