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Ikiru (1952)

 -  Drama  -  25 March 1956 (USA)
8.4
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Ratings: 8.4/10 from 32,160 users  
Reviews: 143 user | 94 critic

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

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Top 250 #138 | Nominated for 1 BAFTA Film Award. Another 5 wins. See more awards »
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Edit

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
Nobuo Nakamura ...
Deputy Mayor
Atsushi Watanabe ...
Patient
Isao Kimura ...
Intern
Masao Shimizu ...
Doctor
Yûnosuke Itô ...
Novelist
Edit

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:

Doomed  »

Filming Locations:


Box Office

Opening Weekend:

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

Gross:

$55,240 (USA) (26 September 2003)
 »

Company Credits

Production Co:

 »
Show detailed on  »

Technical Specs

Runtime:

| (cut)

Sound Mix:

Aspect Ratio:

1.37 : 1
See  »
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Did You Know?

Trivia

When Takashi Shimura rehearsed his singing of "Song of the Gondola," director Akira Kurosawa instructed him to "sing the song as if you are a stranger in a world where nobody believes you exist." 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

Novelist: That's not art. A striptease isn't art. It's too direct. It's more direct than art. That woman's body up there? It's a big juicy steak. It's a glass of gin. It's a hormone extract. Streptomycin. Uranium!
See more »

Connections

References Citizen Kane (1941) See more »

Soundtracks

J'ai deux amours
(uncredited)
Music by Vincent Scotto
Performed by Josephine Baker
When entering in the bar with the long-faced man
See more »

Frequently Asked Questions

See more (Spoiler Alert!) »

User Reviews

 
The most moving and human film I have ever seen.
21 October 2002 | by (Athens, GA) – See all my reviews

I can safely say that I have seen no finer film than Kurosawa's true masterpiece, Ikiru. The story of a dying petty bureaucrat in 1950's Japan, Ikiru is as uncompromisingly honest and beautiful a film as has ever been made on the subject of life. Kurosawa elevates a story that could have been simple melodrama to the level of masterwork with a genuine love of his characters, and with an incredible technical direction. The film's structure accentuates and deepens its many, many lessons on life, and the performances, including a heartbreakingly earnest turn by Shimura are all flawless.

In short, Ikiru is easily one of the greatest works committed to film, and no discerning film aficionado should avoid experiencing it. Had Kurosawa directed only this film, it would still be enough to include him in the pantheon of the greatest storytellers who ever lived. Fortunately for us, it is simply the pinnacle of a staggeringly amazing career. It is the absolute definition of a 10/10 film.


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