Up 719 this week

Ikiru (1952)

Not Rated  |   |  Drama  |  25 March 1956 (USA)
Your rating:
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 -/10 X  
Ratings: 8.3/10 from 38,430 users  
Reviews: 153 user | 100 critic

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


0Check in

Watch Now

From $2.99 on Amazon Video

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

People who liked this also liked... 

Yojimbo (1961)
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 8.3/10 X  

A crafty ronin comes to a town divided by two criminal gangs and decides to play them against each other to free the town.

Director: Akira Kurosawa
Stars: Toshirô Mifune, Eijirô Tôno, Tatsuya Nakadai
Ran (1985)
Action | Drama | War
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 8.3/10 X  

An elderly lord abdicates to his three sons, and the two corrupt ones turn against him.

Director: Akira Kurosawa
Stars: Tatsuya Nakadai, Akira Terao, Jinpachi Nezu
Rashomon (1950)
Crime | Drama
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 8.3/10 X  

A heinous crime and its aftermath are recalled from differing points of view.

Director: Akira Kurosawa
Stars: Toshirô Mifune, Machiko Kyô, Masayuki Mori
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 8.2/10 X  

A war-hardened general, egged on by his ambitious wife, works to fulfill a prophecy that he would become lord of Spider's Web Castle.

Director: Akira Kurosawa
Stars: Toshirô Mifune, Minoru Chiaki, Isuzu Yamada
Drama | Romance
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 8.3/10 X  

After living a life marked by coldness, an aging professor is forced to confront the emptiness of his existence.

Director: Ingmar Bergman
Stars: Victor Sjöström, Bibi Andersson, Ingrid Thulin
Seven Samurai (1954)
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 8.7/10 X  

A poor village under attack by bandits recruits seven unemployed samurai to help them defend themselves.

Director: Akira Kurosawa
Stars: Toshirô Mifune, Takashi Shimura, Keiko Tsushima
Sanjuro (1962)
Action | Drama | Thriller
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 8.2/10 X  

A crafty samurai helps a young man and his fellow clansmen save his uncle, who has been framed and imprisoned by a corrupt superintendent.

Director: Akira Kurosawa
Stars: Toshirô Mifune, Tatsuya Nakadai, Keiju Kobayashi
Adventure | Drama | Thriller
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 8.2/10 X  

In a decrepit South American village, men are hired to transport an urgent nitroglycerine shipment without the equipment that would make it safe.

Director: Henri-Georges Clouzot
Stars: Yves Montand, Charles Vanel, Peter van Eyck
High and Low (1963)
Crime | Drama | Mystery
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 8.4/10 X  

An executive of a shoe company becomes a victim of extortion when his chauffeur's son is kidnapped and held for ransom.

Director: Akira Kurosawa
Stars: Toshirô Mifune, Yutaka Sada, Tatsuya Nakadai
Drama | Fantasy
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 8.2/10 X  

A man seeks answers about life, death, and the existence of God as he plays chess against the Grim Reaper during the Black Plague.

Director: Ingmar Bergman
Stars: Max von Sydow, Gunnar Björnstrand, Bengt Ekerot
Adventure | Drama
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 8.1/10 X  

Lured by gold, two greedy peasants escort a man and woman across enemy lines. However, they do not realize that their companions are actually a princess and her general.

Director: Akira Kurosawa
Stars: Toshirô Mifune, Misa Uehara, Minoru Chiaki
The General (1926)
Action | Adventure | Comedy
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 8.3/10 X  

When Union spies steal an engineer's beloved locomotive, he pursues it single-handedly and straight through enemy lines.

Directors: Clyde Bruckman, Buster Keaton
Stars: Buster Keaton, Marion Mack, Glen Cavender


Cast overview, first billed only:
Shin'ichi Himori ...
Haruo Tanaka ...
Minoru Chiaki ...
Miki Odagiri ...
Toyo Odagiri, employee
Bokuzen Hidari ...
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 ...
Isao Kimura ...
Masao Shimizu ...
Yûnosuke Itô ...


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




Not Rated | See all certifications »

Parents Guide:





Release Date:

25 March 1956 (USA)  »

Also Known As:

Ikiru  »

Filming Locations:

Box Office

Opening Weekend:

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


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

Company Credits

Production Co:

Show detailed on  »

Technical Specs


| (cut)

Sound Mix:

Aspect Ratio:

1.37 : 1
See  »

Did You Know?


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 »


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 »


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 »


Referenced in Nowhere to Hide (1999) See more »


Come On-A My House
(1951) (uncredited)
Words and Music by William Saroyan and Ross Bagdasarian
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...

99 of 105 people found this review helpful.  Was this review helpful to you?

Message Boards

Recent Posts
My (negative) thoughts on the film slinkoff
The Top 250 and Ikiru bimlanders
Most overrated director of all time saarijas
Why the difference in rating between male and female? ThaWalrus9
My theory as to why the Yakuza boss walks away nhpbob
Ikiru vs. Wild Strawberries tom718
Discuss Ikiru (1952) on the IMDb message boards »

Contribute to This Page

Create a character page for: