7.9/10
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The Ballad of Narayama (1983)

Narayama bushikô (original title)
Not Rated | | Drama | 29 April 1983 (Japan)
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:

Writers:

(screenplay), (novel)
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9 wins & 8 nominations. See more awards »

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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:

In a time not long past, the first law was . . . The Old Must Die . . . [Video Australia] See more »

Genres:

Drama

Certificate:

Not Rated | See all certifications »

Parents Guide:

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Details

Country:

Language:

Release Date:

29 April 1983 (Japan)  »

Also Known As:

Balladen om Narayama  »

Filming Locations:

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Company Credits

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Technical Specs

Runtime:

Sound Mix:

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Aspect Ratio:

1.85 : 1
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Did You Know?

Trivia

Included among the "1001 Movies You Must See Before You Die", edited by Steven Schneider. See more »

Connections

Referenced in The Great Grateful Jizo See more »

Soundtracks

Oya wo nemurasu komori uta
Performed by Sumiko Sakamoto
Courtesy of Radio City Records
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Frequently Asked Questions

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User Reviews

 
Disturbing, yes. Captivating, certainly!
7 February 2005 | by (Netherlands) – See all my reviews

This is a film about a culture that has evolved to deal with food scarcity. The people of the village have taken their choices to the extreme. Food is so hard to get (and keep) that the very old and very young must leave. Babiy boys are left to die in the snow, baby girls are raised only to be sold, and the old are brought to the mountain to die. The only thing there is plenty of is sex, for all but one man called Stinker by his peers.

The villagers are intent to secure life for themselves and their family and will do anything necessary. In the middle of this all lives an old lady, almost 70 (the dying age) but healthy and strong. She does not want to burden the family, so she gives up her place in order for the young ones to live.

Imamura registers all this without judgment. This is a lesson to most people, filmmakers in particular. See, feel, but don't judge right away. See, feel, think, and then try to understand.


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