IMDb > The Ballad of Narayama (1958)

The Ballad of Narayama (1958) More at IMDbPro »Narayama bushikô (original title)

Photos (See all 11 | slideshow)


User Rating:
8.0/10   1,720 votes »
Your Rating:
Saving vote...
Deleting vote...
/10   (delete | history)
Sorry, there was a problem
Popularity: ?
Up 37% in popularity this week. See why on IMDbPro.
View company contact information for The Ballad of Narayama on IMDbPro.
Release Date:
19 June 1961 (USA) See more »
A kabuki theatre-inflected story about a poor village whose people have to be carried to a nearby mountain to die once they get old. Full summary » | Add synopsis »
Plot Keywords:
6 wins & 1 nomination See more »
User Reviews:
Imamura's version is a bit better, but this one's great, too See more (11 total) »


  (in credits order) (complete, awaiting verification)

Kinuyo Tanaka ... Orin
Teiji Takahashi ... Tatsuhei
Yûko Mochizuki ... Tamayan
Danko Ichikawa ... Kesakichi
Seiji Miyaguchi ... Mata-yan
Keiko Ogasawara ... Matsu-yan
Yûnosuke Itô ... Matayan's son

Eijirô Tôno ... Messenger
Ken Mitsuda ... Teruyan

Directed by
Keisuke Kinoshita 
Writing credits
(in alphabetical order)
Shichirô Fukazawa  stories
Keisuke Kinoshita  writer

Produced by
Masaharu Kokaji .... producer
Ryuzo Otani .... producer
Original Music by
Chûji Kinoshita 
Matsunosuke Nozawa 
Cinematography by
Hiroshi Kusuda 
Film Editing by
Yoshi Sugihara 
Production Design by
Kisaku Itô 
Art Direction by
Chiyoo Umeda 
Set Decoration by
Mototsugu Komaki 
Costume Design by
Toshikazu Sugiyama 
Production Management
Kei Hamano .... production supervisor
Second Unit Director or Assistant Director
Yoshikazu Ôtsuki .... assistant director
Art Department
Genzô Furumiya .... set designer
Sound Department
Shûzô Horikawa .... sound mixer
Hideo Nishizaki .... sound recordist
Hisao Ôno .... sound recordist
Camera and Electrical Department
Takashi Akamatsu .... camera operator
Hiroshi Iijima .... lighting technician
Tôichirô Narushima .... camera operator
Ryôzô Toyoshima .... gaffer

Production CompaniesDistributors

Additional Details

Also Known As:
"Narayama bushikô" - Japan (original title)
"Ballad of Narayama" - International (English title) (alternative title), USA
See more »
98 min
Color (Fujicolor)
Aspect Ratio:
2.35 : 1 See more »
Sound Mix:

Did You Know?

Official submission of Japan for the 'Best Foreign Language Film' category of the 31st Academy Awards in 1959.See more »
Movie Connections:
Remade as The Ballad of Narayama (1983)See more »


This FAQ is empty. Add the first question.
3 out of 5 people found the following review useful.
Imamura's version is a bit better, but this one's great, too, 24 February 2013
Author: zetes from Saint Paul, MN

I had seen Shohei Imamura's version of this novel a few years ago, and it ranks as one of my favorite films. This earlier version, presented as a sort of kabuki-like play, loses a bit of its power because it streamlines the narrative a bit (not that I've read it; I suppose Imamura could have added details), but it's quite a wonder itself. The focus is more on the grandmother, the old woman who is to be taken and then abandoned on Narayama, here played by Kinuyo Tanaka. Teiji Takahashi (who acted in several Ozu films) plays her son, the man who is reluctant to follow the tradition. The acting is very good, though obviously stylized. What one will probably most remember about this version of the story is the gorgeous, painterly cinematography. It's all deliberately artificial, with a lot of painted backdrops and seamless scene transitions (Joe Wright's recent Anna Karenina adaptation may have been directly influenced by it). One moment that I found unintentionally funny: a bunch of crows are startled at one point and start to fly around, and a couple of them run into the matte painting in the background and have to turn around. The film is quite a wonder to behold, and the emotional heft of the story still works. It's certainly a nice companion piece to Imamura's masterpiece.

Was the above review useful to you?
See more (11 total) »


If you enjoyed this title, our database also recommends:
- - - - -
Ran Banshun The Color of Paradise Blackboards Japón
IMDb User Rating:
IMDb User Rating:
IMDb User Rating:
IMDb User Rating:
IMDb User Rating:
Show more recommendations

Related Links

Full cast and crew Company credits External reviews
News articles IMDb Drama section IMDb Japan section

You may report errors and omissions on this page to the IMDb database managers. They will be examined and if approved will be included in a future update. Clicking the 'Edit page' button will take you through a step-by-step process.