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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.

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

Cast overview, first billed only:
...
...
Haruo Tanaka ...
Sakai
...
Noguchi
...
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
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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:

Akira Kurosawa's Masterpiece 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:

Ikiru  »

Filming Locations:


Box Office

Opening Weekend:

$7,590 (USA) (5 January 2003)

Gross:

$55,240 (USA) (28 September 2003)
 »

Company Credits

Production Co:

 »
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Technical Specs

Runtime:

| (cut)

Sound Mix:

Aspect Ratio:

1.37 : 1
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Did You Know?

Trivia

The song sung by Kanji Watanabe, in the bar, is called Gondola no Uta, "The Gondola Song". Written in 1915, it is a song about women and how they should find love before their time has run out. 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

Narrator: There's nothing left of that will or passion. They've been completely worn down by the minutia of the bureaucratic machine and the meaningless busyness it breeds.
See more »

Connections

Referenced in American Beauty (1999) See more »

Soundtracks

Too Young
(uncredited)
Music by Sidney Lippman
Words by Sylvia Dee
Performed by Toni Arden
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.


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