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Ikiru (1952)

 -  Drama  -  25 March 1956 (USA)
8.4
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Ratings: 8.4/10 from 31,366 users  
Reviews: 140 user | 93 critic

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

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Title: Ikiru (1952)

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Top 250 #133 | 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
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

Plot Keywords:

office | cancer | bureaucrat | dying | novelist | See more »

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

Hideo Oguni, one of the three main writers, originally envisioned Takashi Shimura's character as being a yakuza (gangster) as opposed to a government bureaucrat. 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: I have less than a year to live. When I found that out... somehow I was drawn to you. Once when I was a child, I almost drowned. It's just like that feeling. Darkness everywhere, and nothing for me to hold onto, no matter how hard I try. There's just you.
See more »

Connections

Referenced in Little Children (2006) See more »

Soundtracks

Bibbidi-Bobbidi-Boo
(uncredited)
Written by Al Hoffman, Mack David, and Jerry Livingston
heard in the background immediately after Watanabe and Kimura leave the striptease show
See more »

Frequently Asked Questions

See more (Spoiler Alert!) »

User Reviews

"Only when he learned he would die did he start to live!"
11 January 2003 | by (Switzerland) – See all my reviews

Ikiru ("to live")is a Kurosawa film devoid of samurai or Toshiro Mifune. It is an oddity in his canon, neither an adaptation, nor an epic, or even a detective story. Instead, it is the simple and touching story of the last months of the life of a man, Watanabbe, public official, who decides to give a meaning to his life by transcending the obtuse and stiff mind of government bureaucracy to get a small public children's park built. As a parable for the soulless workings of modern bureaucracy, the goal is set pretty high, and Kurosawa goes even further, giving this story a lot of character, frequent humor, life and, most of all, heart. And going beyond the strengths of the direction and script, is the central performance by Takashi Shimura (later Kambei in Seven Samurai). Shimura gives his character such a transparently good heart and such great pain that every second of Watanabe's plight and struggle tugs at your heart, not in an overwhelmingly sentimental manner, but in one than feels honest and pure. If even many hardened souls will be drawn to tears, it is not for pity, but, admirably, because of envy for Watanabe's beautiful human dignity in the end, and for a film to have such power is beyond pure accomplishment, as the need to see this and, more importantly, feel it, goes beyond pure necessity...


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