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Floating Clouds (1955)
"Ukigumo" (original title)

 |  Drama, Romance  |  6 June 1980 (USA)
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Ratings: 7.9/10 from 1,381 users  
Reviews: 8 user | 16 critic

A tragic social drama set in post war Japan and concerns a lonely women trying to find purpose and stability in a devastated Tokyo.



(novel), (adaptation)
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Cast overview, first billed only:
Yukiko Koda
Kengo Tomioka
Mariko Okada ...
Sei Mukai
Isao Yamagata ...
Sugio Iba
Chieko Nakakita ...
Kuniko Tomioka
Daisuke Katô ...
Seikichi Mukai
Mayuri Mokushô ...
Nomiya no musume
Noriko Sengoku ...
Yakushima no okaasan
Fuyuki Murakami ...
Futsuin no shikensho-chou
Heihachirô Ôkawa ...
Nobuo Kaneko ...
Futsuin no shoin - Suitou
Roy James ...
American soldier (as Roi H. Jêmusu)
Kan Hayashi
Akira Tani ...
Seijirô Onda


A tragic social drama set in post war Japan and concerns a lonely women trying to find purpose and stability in a devastated Tokyo.

Plot Summary | Plot Synopsis


Drama | Romance





Release Date:

6 June 1980 (USA)  »

Also Known As:

Floating Clouds  »

Filming Locations:


Company Credits

Production Co:

Show detailed on  »

Technical Specs


Sound Mix:

Aspect Ratio:

1.33 : 1
See  »

Did You Know?


Third in the centenary poll by Kinema-Junpo magazine about all-time best Japanese films, Seven Samurai (1954) and Tokyo Story (1953) preceded it. See more »


References Going My Way (1944) See more »

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User Reviews

Not a masterpiece, but a great demonstration of a director's craft.
19 April 2006 | by (Upstate New York) – See all my reviews

Ukigumo (1955), directed by Mikio Naruse, was shown as "Floating Clouds" at the Dryden Theatre in Rochester as part of a Naruse retrospective. This is Naruse's best-known film, and it stars his muse, the outstanding actor Hideko Takamine. The film is adapted from a novel by Fumiko Hayashi. Seven or eight of Naruse's films were based on novels by this author. Finally, many of the Toho studio supporting players appear in this movie, as they do in all of Naruse's films. In summary, "Floating Clouds" is classic Naruse.

As in many Naruse films, the theme is grim. Japan is still struggling in the aftermath of World War II. The economy is slow, and the pall of defeat still hangs over the country.

Although we think of the war as totally tragic for everyone involved--especially everyone Japanese--this isn't accurate. Hideko Takamine's character (Yukiko) had a passionate and sincere wartime romance with an engineer when they were both stationed in an area away from the combat zone. It becomes clear--ten years later--that this love affair was the high point of both their lives. Masuki Mori plays Kengo, the engineer who loves Yukiko, but who will never marry her.

The tragedy of the film is that both Yukiko and Kengo have known happiness, but realize they will never know it again. Such happiness as they can grasp is undone by the harsh realities of financial and physical problems.

This movie is not exactly a masterpiece, but it is the perfect film if you can only see one work by Naruse. It defines his themes, demonstrates his unique skills and extraordinary expertise, and showcases the best actors in his company. It's a movie worth seeking out and watching.

10 of 13 people found this review helpful.  Was this review helpful to you?

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