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Fires on the Plain (1959)
"Nobi" (original title)

 -  Drama | War  -  3 November 1959 (Japan)
8.0
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Ratings: 8.0/10 from 2,810 users  
Reviews: 33 user | 31 critic

In the closing days of WWII remnants of the Japanese army in Leyte are abandoned by their command and face certain starvation.

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Title: Fires on the Plain (1959)

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Cast

Credited cast:
Eiji Funakoshi ...
Tamura
Osamu Takizawa ...
Yasuda
Mickey Curtis ...
Nagamatsu
Mantarô Ushio ...
Sergeant
Kyû Sazanka ...
Army surgeon
Yoshihiro Hamaguchi ...
Officer
Asao Sano ...
Soldier
Masaya Tsukida ...
Soldier
Hikaru Hoshi ...
Soldier
Rest of cast listed alphabetically:
Shizuo Chûjô
Jun Hamamura
Tomio Hanano
Yûzô Hayakawa ...
(as Yuji Hayakawa)
Keiichi Hosokawa
Tatsuya Ishiguro
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Storyline

It is the Philipines, 1945. The Japanese Imperial Army has been reduced to a ragtag mob hiding in the jungles. Among them is Pvt. Tamura. The situation goes from bad to worse and in the face of the brutal conditions facing the men, some go insane and resort to murder and cannibalism. In the midst of this, Pvt. Tamura tries to survive without giving up his principles. Written by Eugene Ly <euge.ly@utoronto.ca>

Plot Summary | Add Synopsis

Genres:

Drama | War

Certificate:

Not Rated | See all certifications »

Parents Guide:

 »
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Details

Country:

Language:

Release Date:

3 November 1959 (Japan)  »

Also Known As:

Fires on the Plain  »

Filming Locations:

 »

Company Credits

Show detailed on  »

Technical Specs

Runtime:

Sound Mix:

Aspect Ratio:

2.35 : 1
See  »
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Did You Know?

Trivia

In order to achieve maximum authenticity, actors were fed very little, and were not permitted to tend to matters of simple hygiene such as brushing their teeth and cutting their nails. As a precaution against serious deterioration of the actors' health, a number of nurses were always on call on the set. Eiji Funakoshi was never specifically told not to eat. He willingly starved himself to help get him into character. The rest of the cast and crew were unaware of this until he collapsed on-set. Production was shut down for two weeks. See more »

Quotes

Dying Buddhist soldier: [to Tamura as he opens his eyes] What? You still here? Poor guy, when I'm dead, you can eat this.
[He outstretches his arm]
Dying Buddhist soldier: [Disgusted by the thought, Tamura leaves] Come back! You can eat me!
See more »

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User Reviews

 
Sympathy for the Devils
29 January 2000 | by (Los Angeles) – See all my reviews

Every American who thinks he or she understands World War Two should see this movie. Few Hollywood films about the war have defied the stereotype of Japanese soldiers as emotionless brutes obeying orders without thinking. We like to think that every Japanese man was ready and able to fight to the death, right up to the day we bombed Nagasaki. "Fires on the Plain" shows a different reality: troops pathetically undersupplied, demoralized and starved to the point of cannibalism. They euphemistically refer to human flesh as "monkey meat." The movie and novel on which it was based also put to death the myth that Japanese soldiers all preferred death to surrender: They had good reason to believe that their enemies were in no mood to take prisoners. To me it raises a question most Americans would rather avoid: If the Japanese military was so beaten down at this point in the war, why was it necessary to nuke Hiroshima?


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