8.3/10
44,909
171 user 111 critic

Ikiru (1952)

Not Rated | | Drama | 25 March 1956 (USA)
A bureaucrat tries to find a meaning in his life after he discovers he has terminal cancer.

Director:

Reviews

Watch Now

From $2.99 (SD) on Amazon Video

ON DISC
Top Rated Movies #129 | Nominated for 1 BAFTA Film Award. Another 5 wins. See more awards »
Learn more

People who liked this also liked... 

Rashômon (1950)
Crime | Drama | Mystery
    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
Yojimbo (1961)
Action | Drama | Thriller
    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
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 8.2/10 X  

In Medieval Japan, an elderly warlord retires, handing over his empire to his three sons. However, he vastly underestimates how the new-found power will corrupt them and cause them to turn on each other...and him.

Director: Akira Kurosawa
Stars: Tatsuya Nakadai, Akira Terao, Jinpachi Nezu
Drama
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 8.1/10 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
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
Tokyo Story (1953)
Drama
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 8.3/10 X  

An old couple visit their children and grandchildren in the city; but the children have little time for them.

Director: Yasujirô Ozu
Stars: Chishû Ryû, Chieko Higashiyama, Sô Yamamura
Drama | Romance
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 8.2/10 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
Red Beard (1965)
Drama
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 8.3/10 X  

In 19th century Japan, a rough tempered yet charitable town doctor trains a young intern.

Director: Akira Kurosawa
Stars: Toshirô Mifune, Yûzô Kayama, Tsutomu Yamazaki
Seven Samurai (1954)
Adventure | Drama
    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 | Crime | Drama
    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
    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
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
Edit

Cast

Cast overview, first billed only:
...
...
Haruo Tanaka ...
Sakai
...
Noguchi
Miki Odagiri ...
Toyo Odagiri, employee
...
Ohara
Minosuke Yamada ...
Subordinate Clerk Saito
...
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 civil servant. He has worked in the same department for 30 years. His life is pretty boring and monotonous, though he once used to have passion and drive. Then one day he discovers that he has stomach cancer and has less than a year to live. After the initial depression he sets about living for the first time in over 20 years. Then he realises that his limited time left is not just for living life to the full but to leave something meaningful behind... Written by grantss

Plot Summary | Add Synopsis

Taglines:

One of the Great Films of Our Time!

Genres:

Drama

Certificate:

Not Rated | See all certifications »

Parents Guide:

 »
Edit

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)
 »

Company Credits

Production Co:

 »
Show detailed on  »

Technical Specs

Runtime:

| (cut)

Sound Mix:

Aspect Ratio:

1.37 : 1
See  »
Edit

Did You Know?

Trivia

Partly, the script of Ikiru was inspired by Leo Tolstoy's work "The Death of Ivan Ilyich". 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

Toyo: All I do is make these little things.
[Pulls out a stuffed mechanical bunny]
Toyo: Just making these is so much fun. I feel like I'm making friends with every baby in Japan. Why don't you try making something too?
Kanji: What could I possibly make at that office.
Toyo: Yeah, it's hopeless there. You should quit and go somewhere...
Kanji: It's too late - - No - It's not too late. It's not hopeless. Even there, there's something I can do. I just have to find the will.
See more »

Connections

Featured in Kurosawa: The Last Emperor (1999) See more »

Soundtracks

Parade of the Tin Soldiers
written by Leon Jessel
See more »

Frequently Asked Questions

See more (Spoiler Alert!) »

User Reviews

 
Simply Brilliant - Kurosawa's Greatest
29 December 2004 | by (Putney VT) – See all my reviews

Kanji Watanabi is a quiet, melancholy man who has spent all his life behind his office desk doing sweet eff-all. When he is diagnosed with stomach cancer he realizes that he has been petty much dead his whole life, and searches desperately for away to live again.

This is Akira Kurosawa's masterpiece, yes, even better than Rashomon and The Seven Samauri. It is a perfect true story of everybody's life- how we don't even realize we have it until we know it will be over in a short while. Watanabi's quest for self-discovery is one of the greatest from any motion picture ever made. The all-too-true paradox is one to end all paradoxes- that Watanabi is dead, and had been all his life, until he realized he was sick, which is when he began living for the first time. Takashi Shimura, the actor best known for his role as the wise, bald-headed Samauri in The Seven Samauri, and the professor out of the early Godzilla films, plays Watanabi perfectly- in my mind, it's one of the greatest film performances of all time.

Not everyone will love this movie. It was made a long time ago, the main character is an old fogey, it has subtitles, and it's pretty long. Many people today, especially young kids, would find it boring. Well, let 'em. There's no need to worry about them, they'll always have Pirates of the Carribbean, they'll always have The Matrix. Leave Ikiru and films like it to the true lovers of cinema.


112 of 145 people found this review helpful.  Was this review helpful to you?

Contribute to This Page

Create a character page for:
?