The Ballad of Narayama (1983)
"Narayama bushikô" (original title)

Not Rated  |   |  Drama  |  29 April 1983 (Japan)
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Ratings: 7.9/10 from 4,641 users  
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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.



(screenplay), (novel)
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Cast overview, first billed only:
Ken Ogata ...
Sumiko Sakamoto ...
Tonpei Hidari ...
Aki Takejô ...
Shôichi Ozawa ...
Fujio Tokita ...
Sanshô Shinsui ...
Zeniya no Tadayan
Seiji Kurasaki ...
Junko Takada ...
Mitsuko Baishô ...
Taiji Tonoyama ...
Kêshî Takamine ...
Arayashiki (as Kêshi Takamine)
Nenji Kobayashi ...
Nijiko Kiyokawa ...
Akio Yokoyama ...


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


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




Not Rated | See all certifications »

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Release Date:

29 April 1983 (Japan)  »

Also Known As:

Balladen om Narayama  »

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Aspect Ratio:

1.85 : 1
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Did You Know?


Remake of Ballad of Narayama (1958) See more »


Oya wo nemurasu komori uta
Performed by Sumiko Sakamoto
Courtesy of Radio City Records
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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.

26 of 32 people found this review helpful.  Was this review helpful to you?

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