A bureaucrat tries to find a meaning in his life after he discovers he has terminal cancer.

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Top Rated Movies #131 | Nominated for 1 BAFTA Film Award. Another 5 wins. See more awards »
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Cast

Cast overview, first billed only:
...
Shin'ichi Himori ...
Haruo Tanaka ...
Sakai
Minoru Chiaki ...
Noguchi
Miki Odagiri ...
Toyo Odagiri, employee
Bokuzen Hidari ...
Ohara
Minosuke Yamada ...
Subordinate Clerk Saito
Kamatari Fujiwara ...
Sub-Section Chief Ono
Makoto Kobori ...
Kiichi Watanabe, Kanji's Brother
Nobuo Kaneko ...
Mitsuo Watanabe, Kanji's son
...
Deputy Mayor
Atsushi Watanabe ...
Patient
Isao Kimura ...
Intern
Masao Shimizu ...
Doctor
Yûnosuke Itô ...
Novelist
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Storyline

Kanji Watanabe is a longtime bureaucrat in a city office who, along with the rest of the office, spends his entire working life doing nothing. He learns he is dying of cancer and wants to find some meaning in his life. He finds himself unable to talk with his family, and spends a night on the town with a novelist, but that leaves him unfulfilled. He next spends time with a young woman from his office, but finally decides he can make a difference through his job... After Watanabe's death, co-workers at his funeral discuss his behavior over the last several months and debate why he suddenly became assertive in his job to promote a city park, and resolve to be more like Watanabe. Written by Mike Rosenlof <mrosenlof@qualcomm.com>

Plot Summary | Add Synopsis

Genres:

Drama

Certificate:

Not Rated | See all certifications »

Parents Guide:

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Details

Country:

Language:

Release Date:

25 March 1956 (USA)  »

Also Known As:

Ikiru  »

Filming Locations:


Box Office

Opening Weekend:

$7,590 (USA) (3 January 2003)

Gross:

$55,240 (USA) (26 September 2003)
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Company Credits

Production Co:

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Technical Specs

Runtime:

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Sound Mix:

Aspect Ratio:

1.37 : 1
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Did You Know?

Trivia

Akira Kurosawa:  [weather]  Rain is present during the construction site scene. The swing scene, on the other hand, is calmly accompanied by snow. See more »

Goofs

In the last scene with Toyo (in the restaurant with the birthday party going on), the position of the bell on the mechanical bunny changes, even though neither actor has touched the bunny. See more »

Quotes

Kanji: Life is so short / Fall in love, dear maiden / While your lips are still red / And before you are cold, / For there will be no tomorrow.
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Connections

Referenced in Little Children (2006) See more »

Soundtracks

Gondora no uta
(uncredited)
Music by Shinpei Nakayama
Words by Isamu Yoshii
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Frequently Asked Questions

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User Reviews

To Live in Death
11 June 2004 | by See all my reviews

Probably one of the most difficult aspects a film like "Ikiru" has to overcome is the very rough march of time. To actually find someone these days, let's say a crowd of regular movie-goers to sit down and watch a film about an old Japanese man dying of cancer would be too much to ask.

Long held shots, hardly uplifting subject, to westerners very foreign. An array of reasons not to see it. And yet, once you actually start getting into the picture it doesn't let you go. Which is why it may be rightfully considered to be a classic.

Of all of Kurosawas film this is probably the one movie that works perfectly on an universal level. Because at its core it is about one of the most basic desires of human existence...namely to be able to look back on your life and say "It was worth it."

In its starch and unforgiving black-and-white form the movie records the time of one man's life in such a beautiful and yes, colorful way, that by the time the final moments of the film play out, it will be very hard for anybody not to be touched. A glorious moment in 20th century cinema, that will hopefully be preserved for decades to come.


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