Down 12,685 this week

Vengeance is Mine (1979)
"Fukushû suru wa ware ni ari" (original title)

 -  Crime | Drama  -  17 October 1979 (USA)
Your rating:
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 -/10 X  
Ratings: 7.9/10 from 3,659 users  
Reviews: 30 user | 53 critic

Chronological exploits of Iwao Enokizu, a murderous thief on the lam.



(screenplay), (novel), 1 more credit »
0Check in

Watch Now

From $2.99 on Amazon Instant Video


Editors' Spotlight

IMDb Picks: March

IMDb's editors share the movies and TV shows they are excited to see in March.

User Lists

Related lists from IMDb users

a list of 46 titles
created 06 Jul 2011
a list of 24 titles
created 17 Mar 2012
a list of 38 titles
created 14 Jan 2013
a list of 25 titles
created 21 Feb 2013
a list of 24 titles
created 09 Sep 2013

Related Items

Connect with IMDb

Share this Rating

Title: Vengeance is Mine (1979)

Vengeance is Mine (1979) on IMDb 7.9/10

Want to share IMDb's rating on your own site? Use the HTML below.

Take The Quiz!

Test your knowledge of Vengeance is Mine.
21 wins & 6 nominations. See more awards »



Learn more

People who liked this also liked... 

The Eel (1997)
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.4/10 X  

White-collar worker Yamashita finds out that his wife has a lover visiting her when he's away, suddenly returns home and kills her. After eight years in prison, he returns to live in a ... See full summary »

Director: Shôhei Imamura
Stars: Kôji Yakusho, Misa Shimizu, Mitsuko Baishô
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.9/10 X  

In a poor 19th century rural Japanese village, everyone who reaches the age of 70 has to climb a nearby mountain to die. An old woman is getting close to the cut-off age, and we follow her last days with her family.

Director: Shôhei Imamura
Stars: Ken Ogata, Sumiko Sakamoto, Tonpei Hidari
Why Not? (1981)
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7/10 X  

Near the turbulent end of the Edo era, a man returning to Japan after exile in America searches for his wife and becomes swept up in the current of revolution in this incisive period drama from the great Shohei Imamura.

Director: Shôhei Imamura
Stars: Shigeru Izumiya, Kaori Momoi, Masao Kusakari
Black Rain (1989)
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 8/10 X  

The story of the aftermath of the Hiroshima bombing, based on Masuji Ibuse's novel.

Director: Shôhei Imamura
Stars: Yoshiko Tanaka, Kazuo Kitamura, Etsuko Ichihara
Dr. Akagi (1998)
Comedy | Drama | History
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.5/10 X  

At the end of WWII, Japanese doctor Akagi searches for the cure for hepatitis in the prisoner-of-war camp.

Director: Shôhei Imamura
Stars: Akira Emoto, Kumiko Asô, Juro Kara
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.8/10 X  

Sadako was raised as a maid in the household of her husband, who continues to treat her as a serf. While the husband is away... See full synopsis »

Director: Shôhei Imamura
Stars: Masumi Harukawa, Kô Nishimura, Shigeru Tsuyuguchi
Drama | Comedy | Crime
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.6/10 X  

A young hoodlum decides to work for a criminal organization who is tearing itself apart.

Director: Shôhei Imamura
Stars: Hiroyuki Nagato, Jitsuko Yoshimura, Masao Mishima
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.6/10 X  

Amorality in Japan. Tome is born into poverty in rural Japan, in the late 1910s. Chuji, her father, dotes on her; her mother is less faithful. Tome becomes a neighbor's mistress, works at ... See full summary »

Director: Shôhei Imamura
Stars: Emiko Aizawa, Setsuko Amamiya, Tomio Aoki
Stripped Naked (Video 2009)
Drama | Thriller
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 3.4/10 X  

The story of Cassie (Sarah Allen, Secret Window), a stripper whose boyfriend leaves her on the side of the road during an argument. While trying to get to a phone, she runs into a guy who's... See full summary »

Director: Lee Demarbre
Stars: Sarah Allen, Jon Cor, Mark Slacke
Comedy | Drama
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.5/10 X  

Life of a pornographer who tries to stay under the radar of the mob. He has a mistress, a step-son, a step-daughter (whom he's attracted to) and a wife who believes her first husband was reincarnated as a restless carp.

Director: Shôhei Imamura
Stars: Shôichi Ozawa, Sumiko Sakamoto, Ganjirô Nakamura
Ballada o bombere (Video 2011)
Action | Drama | War
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 6.8/10 X  

The Bomber (2011) / (Russian language title: Ballada o Bombere) Storyline During World War II, a soviet aircraft crashes on Nazi-occupied territory. But the pilot Grivtsov and his beloved ... See full summary »

Director: Vitaliy Vorobyov
Stars: Nikita Efremov, Ekaterina Astakhova, Aleksandr Davydov
Natalie (2010)
Mystery | Romance
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 4.6/10 X  

People who have build a wall around themselves. A sculptor Jun-hyeok, an art critic Min-woo, and a modern dance student Mi-ran. A mystery melodrama about the love and secrets of the three people.

Director: Kyung-Jung Ju
Stars: Ji-hoon Kim, Ki-yeon Kim, Seong-jae Lee


Cast overview, first billed only:
Ken Ogata ...
Iwao Enokizu
Rentarô Mikuni ...
Shizuo Enokizu
Chôchô Miyako ...
Kayo Enokizu
Mitsuko Baishô ...
Kazuko Enokizu
Mayumi Ogawa ...
Haru Asano
Nijiko Kiyokawa ...
Hisano Asano
Taiji Tonoyama ...
Tanejirô Shibata
Gorô Tarumi ...
Daihachi Baba
Moeko Ezawa ...
Chiyoko Hata
Kazuko Shirakawa ...
Sachiko Yoshizato
Furankî Sakai ...
Inspector Kawai
Torahiko Hamada ...
Agent Yoshino
Yasuhisa Sonoda ...
Inspector assistant Kuwata
Akira Hamada ...
Detective Ichikawa
Kazunaga Tsuji ...
Detective Kuchiishi


Iwao Enokizu is a middle-aged man who has an unexplainable urge to commit insane and violent murders. Eventually he is chased by the police all over Japan, but somehow he always manages to escape. He meets a woman who runs a brothel. They love each other but how long can they be together? Written by Mattias Thuresson

Plot Summary | Add Synopsis


Crime | Drama


Not Rated | See all certifications »

Parents Guide:



Official Sites:



Release Date:

17 October 1979 (USA)  »

Also Known As:

Vengeance is Mine  »

Filming Locations:


Company Credits

Show detailed on  »

Technical Specs


Sound Mix:


Aspect Ratio:

1.85 : 1
See  »

Did You Know?


Listed under Roger Ebert's "Great Movies." See more »


Shizuo Enokizu: You can only kill those who never harmed you.
See more »


Features The Great Battle (1969) See more »

Frequently Asked Questions

This FAQ is empty. Add the first question.

User Reviews

Vengeance Is Mine
22 September 2010 | by See all my reviews

In late 1963 a serial killer and conman Akira Nishiguchi gained nationwide attention in Japan by murdering five people, several of them while on the run from the police. In the late 1970s a book based on his life inspired the master director Shôhei Imamura to use his story as the basis for a cold crime film titled Vengeance Is Mine. The film starts with the capture of the killer Iwao Enokizu (Ken Ogata) and advances non-chronologically, depicting the detectives interviewing his family and former lovers and how Enokizu first came to know them. Particularly the muted relationship of Iwao's wife Kazuko (Mitsuko Baisho) and his Catholic father Shizuo (Rentarô Mikuni) is paid attention to, so is his stay at a brothel-like inn managed by Haru Asano (Mayumi Ogawa) and her ex-con mother Hisano (Nijiko Kiyokawa). The scenes ranging from Enokizu's childhood to his time in death row cast light on what kind of man he is, but avoid serving easy, clear-cut explanations of his inner motives.

Imamura has taken an unspectacular, down-to-earth approach to his enigmatic subject. Some techniques, such as identifying the victims' names and causes of death by subtitles, are not far from the style of documentaries. While some of Enokizu's killings take place off-screen, the depicted murder scenes are not softened by turning the camera away or fading to black, making especially the sexual violence hard to watch for sensitive viewers. Still, Vengeance Is Mine is more of a character study than a crime thriller, as in the latter parts of the film the detectives' role is diminished and the focus turned to Enokizu. He is portrayed as having been belligerent and self-confident from young age, soon blossoming into a full-blown psychopath to whom other people's feelings are of little concern, as exemplified by his cruel psychological treatment of his family. Even if Iwao's basic nature is inherent, it could be possible that the suppressed atmosphere in his parents' home has affected the way he turned out: the deeply Christian father sparks Iwao's hatred for weakness and humility, prompting him to openly mock the lack of action from the family's part when feelings develop between Kazuko and Shizuo.

Besides his twisted relationship with his family, another defining element in the film is Enokizu's stay at the inn with Haru, a mistreated woman who has to look after her unreliable mother. Imamura's portrayal of Haru is highly forlorn; to her Iwao's presence represents a possibility of freedom from her gloomy life, even when his past is no longer a secret to her. It is also during this time when the stress of being a fugitive is starting to take its toll on Enokizu; he turns from a self-confident fraudster to a more serene and openly menacing figure, an interesting change as we, the audience, already know him as cocky and carefree from the first scene that has yet to happen in the story's timeline.

The very dark lighting in the interior scenes and the slow-paced, detached storytelling will alienate those expecting a suspenseful serial killer thriller, but as a flat-out drama Vengeance Is Mine provides a fascinating trip into the world of the suave killer. Ken Ogata handles the lead role with natural charm, effortlessly fitting in the various roles Enokizu assumes over the course of the film. Rentarô Mikuni also makes a great counterforce to him as the guilt-ridden father, but especially the unlucky women Haru and Hisano are powerfully brought to life by Ogawa and Kiyokawa. The visuals are not as aesthetically striking as in Imamura's earlier masterpiece Unholy Desire (1964), but the mood is so heavily tied to the reality of Japanese society in the 1960s and 70s that the depressing mundanity of the surroundings is never out of place. The only moment rising above the strictly realistic atmosphere would be the very final scene on the top of a mountain: Enokizu's spirit will remain lingering in the lives of those around him. All in all, Vengeance is Mine should not be ignored by any enthusiast of crime cinema, but admirers of slow-burning character dramas are probably the ones to find it the most rewarding.

7 of 7 people found this review helpful.  Was this review helpful to you?

Message Boards

Recent Posts
Recommend similar titles? jonnyheckman
Coming to Criterion... SamSanch3z
HVE VHS mifune1
Discuss Vengeance is Mine (1979) on the IMDb message boards »

Contribute to This Page

Create a character page for: