The Human Condition I: No Greater Love (I) (1959)
"Ningen no jôken" (original title)

Not Rated  |   |  Drama, War  |  14 December 1959 (USA)
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Ratings: 8.5/10 from 3,417 users  
Reviews: 17 user | 35 critic

A Japanese pacifist, unable to face the dire consequences of conscientious objection, is transformed by his attempts to compromise with the demands of war-time Japan.



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Cast overview, first billed only:
Michiyo Aratama ...
Chikage Awashima ...
Tôfuku Kin
Ineko Arima ...
Shunran Yô
Keiji Sada ...
Akira Ishihama ...
Kôji Nanbara ...
Kô (as Shinji Nanbara)
Seiji Miyaguchi ...
Kyôritsu Ô
Tôru Abe ...
Watarai Gunsô
Masao Mishima ...
Kuroki Shochô
Eitarô Ozawa ...
Kôji Mitsui ...
Akitake Kôno ...
Kôno Taii
Honsha Buchô


In the World War II, the pacifist and humanist Japanese Kaji accepts to travel with his wife Michiko to the tiny Manchurian village Loh Hu Liong to work as supervisor in an iron ore mine to avoid to be summoned to the military service. Kaji works with Okishima (Sô Yamamura) and he implements a better treatment to the laborers and improves the mine production. When the feared Kempetai (The "Military Police Corps", the military police arm of the Imperial Japanese Army from 1881 to 1945) brings six hundred Chinese POWs to the mine, Kaji negotiates with their leaders expecting them to control their comrades. However the methods of Kaji upset the corrupt system in the site, and the foreman Furuya (Kôji Mitsui) plots a scheme to use the naive Chen (Akira Ishihama) to turn off the electrical power of the barbwire fences to allow the prisoners to escape. When seven prisoners are falsely accused of an attempt of fleeing, a cruel Kempetai sergeant uses his sword to behead the prisoners. When ... Written by Claudio Carvalho, Rio de Janeiro, Brazil

Plot Summary | Add Synopsis


Drama | War


Not Rated | See all certifications »

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Release Date:

14 December 1959 (USA)  »

Also Known As:

Human Condition I: No Greater Love  »

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Aspect Ratio:

2.35 : 1
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Did You Know?


At one point a Japanese guard begins to whip Kao, yet the motions he makes are just a flailing of his arms, visibly missing the actor. Kao retaliates by throwing a rock at the guard, but the rock never strikes the guard. However, the actor playing the guard overreacts as if he has been struck. See more »


[first lines]
Michiko: This isn't like you.
Kaji: Why?
Michiko: You're running away. Don't you want me?
Kaji: Of course I do.
Michiko: And I want you, too. Yet we can't marry-...
Kaji: How many times must I explain?
Michiko: Because you might be called up? I wouldn't care if it was the day after. Of course I'd cry. I'd cry bitterly. But happiness only lies in marrying the one you love.
Kaji: Alright. I'll take you back to my dormitory. You'll stay with me tonight. Alright?
Michiko: Yes, I'll go.
See more »


Followed by The Human Condition III: A Soldier's Prayer (1961) See more »

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User Reviews

A masterpiece.
14 September 2000 | by (Montreal) – See all my reviews

The greatest film ever made! And I've seen many, many films. This even supercedes The Seven Samurai which I consider a masterwork. The Human Condition is 10 hours and in 3 movies. A stunning performance by Tatsuya Nakadai. Find the 3 parts, hie yourself off to a monastery and watch them, with a bit of a breather between each movie. Stroheim's Greed was about 10 hours before the Hollywood hacks cut it back. This one is intact. It is subtitled and not dubbed.

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