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The Ballad of Narayama (1983)
"Narayama-bushi kô" (original title)

 -  Drama  -  29 April 1983 (Japan)
7.8
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Ratings: 7.8/10 from 3,928 users  
Reviews: 24 user | 44 critic

In a small village in a valley everyone who reaches the age of 70 must leave the village and go to a certain mountain top to die. If anyone should refuse he or she would disgrace their ... See full summary »

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Title: The Ballad of Narayama (1983)

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Cast

Cast overview, first billed only:
Ken Ogata ...
Tatsuhei
Sumiko Sakamoto ...
Orin
Tonpei Hidari ...
Risuke
Aki Takejô ...
Tamayan
Shôichi Ozawa ...
Katsuzô
Fujio Tokita ...
Jinsaku
Sanshô Shinsui ...
Zeniya no Tadayan
Seiji Kurasaki ...
Kesakichi
Junko Takada ...
Matsuyan
Mitsuko Baishô ...
Oei
Taiji Tonoyama ...
Teruyan
Casey Takamine ...
Arayashiki (as Kêshi Takamine)
Nenji Kobayashi ...
Tsune
Nijiko Kiyokawa ...
Okane
Akio Yokoyama ...
Amaya
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Storyline

In a small village in a valley everyone who reaches the age of 70 must leave the village and go to a certain mountain top to die. If anyone should refuse he or she would disgrace their family. Old Orin is 69. This winter it is her turn to go to the mountain. But first she must make sure that her eldest son Tatsuhei finds a wife. Written by Mattias Thuresson

Plot Summary | Add Synopsis

Taglines:

Only time could change the cruelty of tradition ... only their Love could survive it ... See more »

Genres:

Drama

Certificate:

Not Rated | See all certifications »
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Details

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Language:

Release Date:

29 April 1983 (Japan)  »

Also Known As:

Narayama-bushi kô  »

Filming Locations:

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Company Credits

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Aspect Ratio:

1.85 : 1
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Did You Know?

Connections

Referenced in The Great Grateful Jizo See more »

Soundtracks

Oya wo nemurasu komori uta
Performed by Sumiko Sakamoto
Courtesy of Radio City Records
See more »

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User Reviews

 
A shocking, depressing, and even humorous depiction of a villages efforts to survive.
27 January 2005 | by (United States) – See all my reviews

"Ballad of Narayama" is ultimately a film about survival.

Set during the Meiji Period, the inhabitants of a tiny Japanese farming village are forced to embrace extreme tactics to ensure that they stay alive.

Male babies are instantly killed with hardly any remorse, while females are usually sold. Stealing food is punishable by death, which we see in a very disturbing scene where an entire family are buried alive due their father's crime.

And, ultimately, the elderly are sent to die at the base of a mountain called Narayama when they reach the age of 70.

Despite the depressing tone, there is a lot of humor in this film, as well. The songs that the villagers sing about each other are pretty funny, and it's difficult not to laugh at Old Orin trying to knock her own teeth out with a rock.

Speaking of Old Orin, the actress who player her (Sumiko Sakamoto) gives a wonderful performance in this film. She had her teeth surgically removed for this role, and gives a realistic depiction of a 70-year-old woman even though she was in her 40s when the film was made.

"Ballad of Narayama" is indeed a depressing film in many aspects, but it's also filled with humor and offers a better understanding of what life must be like in these types of situations.


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