IMDb > Onibaba (1964)
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Onibaba (1964) More at IMDbPro »

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Kaneto Shindô (written by)
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Release Date:
4 February 1965 (USA) See more »
Two women kill samurai and sell their belongings for a living. While one of them is having an affair with their neighbor, the other woman meets a mysterious samurai wearing a bizarre mask. Full summary » | Add synopsis »
Plot Keywords:
2 wins See more »
User Reviews:
An absolutely amazing piece of poetry See more (70 total) »


  (in credits order)
Nobuko Otowa ... Kichi's Mother
Jitsuko Yoshimura ... Kichi's Wife
Kei Satô ... Hachi
Jûkichi Uno ... Samurai General
Taiji Tonoyama ... Ushi
Someshô Matsumoto ... Runaway Warrior A
Kentarô Kaji ... Runaway Warrior B
Hosui Araya ... Ushi's Follower
Fudeko Tanaka ... Old Woman
Michinori Yoshida ... Samurai with Blood
Hiroyoshi Yamaguchi ... Horse Riding Samurai A
Hiroshi Tanaka ... Horse Riding Samurai B
Kanzô Uni ... Horse Riding Samurai C
Nobuko Shimakage ... Child

Directed by
Kaneto Shindô 
Writing credits
(in alphabetical order)
Kaneto Shindô  written by

Produced by
Hisao Itoya .... producer
Kazuo Kuwahara .... delegate producer
Tamotsu Minato .... producer
Setsuo Noto .... producer
Original Music by
Hikaru Hayashi 
Cinematography by
Kiyomi Kuroda 
Film Editing by
Toshio Enoki 
Art Direction by
Kaneto Shindô 
Makeup Department
Shigeo Kobayashi .... makeup department head
Kaneyasu Masuda .... makeup artist
Production Management
Toshio Miyagawa .... production supervisor
Second Unit Director or Assistant Director
Masami Maeda .... assistant director
Hiroshi Matsumoto .... assistant director
Hiroshi Nagai .... first assistant director
Isao Seki .... assistant director
Yasuhiro Suzuki .... assistant director
Sakurô Yasu .... assistant director
Art Department
Toshiharu Takazu .... props
Sound Department
Tetsuya Ôhashi .... sound (as Tetsuya Ohashi)
Special Effects by
Yoshio Kurihara .... special effects
Camera and Electrical Department
Yokichi Hishinuma .... gaffer
Fuminori Minami .... camera operator
Kanji Ozeki .... lighting technician
Toshihiko Satô .... camera operator
Yoshiteru Takao .... camera operator
Osamu Toyoda .... camera operator
Kichizô Yamashita .... lighting technician
Costume and Wardrobe Department
Yoshio Ueno .... costume supervisor
Editorial Department
Mitsuyo Yosoda .... assistant editor
Other crew
Shizuka Hanayasu .... production ad
Taro Okamoto .... title designer
Takako Shirota .... continuity
Mihoko Yoshino .... production accountant

Production CompaniesDistributorsOther Companies

Additional Details

Also Known As:
103 min | Argentina:105 min
Aspect Ratio:
2.35 : 1 See more »
Sound Mix:
Argentina:16 | Canada:AA (Ontario) | Canada:13+ (Quebec) | Finland:K-16 | Netherlands:18 (1966) | Sweden:15 | UK:15 (video rating, uncut) (1994) | UK:X (original rating, cut version) (1968) | UK:(Banned) (1965-1968) | USA:Unrated | West Germany:18 (nf) (cut)

Did You Know?

Award: Grand Prix Inter-Clubs du Cinéma (France 1966).See more »
Woman:I'm not a demon! I'm a human being!See more »
Movie Connections:
Referenced in Night of the Babysitter (2015)See more »


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39 out of 52 people found the following review useful.
An absolutely amazing piece of poetry, 3 February 2005
Author: The_Void from Beverley Hills, England

To describe this film in one word, that word would have to 'wow', or something to that effect. In short, Onibaba is an absolutely spectacular cinematic spectacle, and one that has few equals in it's field. In fact, it's the perfect fusion between art-house cinema and atmospheric horror! Loosely based on a Buddhist fable, Onibaba tells a story of lust, envy, wrath and betrayal which is wrapped up by way of a hideous demon mask. Onibaba is a human drama before it's a horror movie - all the character actions are driven by their various needs and wants, and the all the comeuppance emancipates from there. The characters and their actions are constantly fascinating, and it's that which predominantly keeps the film alive. We follow a mother and her daughter-in-law; a couple that are forced to eke out an existence in war torn Japan by killing passing samurai's and selling their belongings for food. Their existence is upset one day, however, when the son's friend, Hachi, returns from the war to the place where the two women live.

The title of the film roughly translates into English as 'demon woman', and that is an apt title for this story. Although the film doesn't contain any actual demons or other mythical creatures, the real horror comes from the character actions and the film succeeds as a horror film in that way. The atmospheric location, which consists of a huge area covered in reeds, adds weight to film's claim to the horror genre also and the location provides a truly stunning set for this story to take place. The film also features a dark pit, which the women use to dump the bodies of the Samurai they kill, which adds to the fantasy and inventive element of the story. The film is cinematic poetry on many levels, from the bleak yet beautiful cinematography, to the elements of the location mentioned - all the way down to it's central piece of imagery - the mask itself. The mask is the film's centrepiece, and the part's where it features are the most memorable of the movie.

Prolific Japanese director Kaneto Shindô takes us on a tour-de-force of atmospheric direction. He spends a fair amount of time focusing on the reeds blowing in the wind and many of his angles focus on the sky, which will no doubt irritate the less adept viewers amongst us - but the rest of us know that this is a way for Shindô to aptly portray his setting, and every instance when he did that was a delight for yours truly. There are many great shots in this movie, and if you're a fan of technical prowess, Onibaba is your film; and even if you're not, this film is a must see.

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Cover Art: Criterion vs. Eureka Tuan77
This scared me s***less suaheli
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