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The Burmese Harp (1956)
"Biruma no tategoto" (original title)

 -  Drama | Music | War  -  28 April 1967 (USA)
8.0
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Ratings: 8.0/10 from 3,328 users  
Reviews: 38 user | 45 critic

In the War's closing days, when a conscience-driven Japanese soldier fails to get his countrymen to surrender to overwhelming force, he adopts the lifestyle of a Buddhist monk.

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Title: The Burmese Harp (1956)

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Nominated for 1 Oscar. Another 4 wins & 2 nominations. See more awards »
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Cast

Cast overview, first billed only:
Rentarô Mikuni ...
Captain Inouye
...
Mizushima
Jun Hamamura ...
Ito
Taketoshi Naitô ...
Kobayashi (as Takeo Naito)
Shunji Kasuga ...
Maki
Kô Nishimura ...
Baba (as Akira Nishimura)
Keishichi Nakahara ...
Takagi
Toshiaki Ito ...
Hashimoto
Hiroshi Hijikata ...
Okada
Tomio Aoki ...
Oyama
Akinori Hanamura ...
Nakamura (as Nobuteru Hanamura)
Sanpei Mine ...
Abe
Takashi Koshiba ...
Shimizu
Tomoko Tonai
Tokuhei Miyahara ...
Nagai
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Storyline

Mizushima is a soldier in the Japanese army in Burma in World War II. He's a good soldier and frequently plays his harp to entertain his fellow soldiers. When the war comes to an end, he is asked by the British to go into the mountains to try and convince a Japanese troop to surrender. Given only 30 minutes to convince them, Mizushima is unsuccessful - they would rather die with honor - and the British attack. Deeply affected by what has happened, he becomes a Buddhist monk, traveling the countryside burying the remains of Japanese soldiers. He is unable however to rejoin his brothers-in-arms. Written by garykmcd

Plot Summary | Add Synopsis

Genres:

Drama | Music | War

Certificate:

Not Rated | See all certifications »
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Details

Country:

Language:

|

Release Date:

28 April 1967 (USA)  »

Also Known As:

The Burmese Harp  »

Filming Locations:

 »

Company Credits

Production Co:

 »
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Technical Specs

Runtime:

Sound Mix:

Aspect Ratio:

1.33 : 1
See  »
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Did You Know?

Trivia

Kon Ichikawa said the original novel was treated as a fantasy, but he chose to eliminate that aspect of the story. See more »

Goofs

The 'British' officer in charge of the funerary cremation repository speaks with a decidedly Australian, not British, accent. See more »

Quotes

Captain Inouye: [Excerpt from Mizushima's letter, which Captain Inouye reads to his men as they sail back to Japan] As I climbed mountains and crossed streams, burying the bodies left in the grasses and streams, my heart was wracked with questions. Why must the world suffer such misery? Why must there be such inexplicable pain? As the days passed, I came to understand. I realized that, in the end, the answers were not for human beings to know, that our work is simply to ease the great suffering of the world. To...
See more »

Connections

Featured in Burden of Love (1955) See more »

Soundtracks

Ryoshu
("Dreaming of Home and Mother")
Written by John Pond Ordway
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User Reviews

 
a movie to carry with you
9 July 2005 | by (New York, NY) – See all my reviews

Living in Thailand at the age of 10, I saw this movie broadcast on TV. Thirty years later I still think of it. And eventually I became a dharma student. Coincidence? I think not! Such is the awesome impact of this movie. More than an important anti-war film, it can really bring out some seldom expressed feelings - not because of carefully crafted scenarios which bring moral indignation against war, confusion or cruelty, but instead showing a more natural horror of war's results. After watching the film for the third time, I still feel a deep visceral pang when Mizushima covers his face and runs past yet another mountain of rotting bodies he finds on the shores of the river.

What's really sad is that you can't get the movie on DVD!


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

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