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 4,698 users  
Reviews: 25 user | 45 critic

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 ...
Casey 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

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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 »


Risuke no uta
Written by Hitoshi Machida
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User Reviews

Harsh yet beautiful
28 January 2005 | by (United States) – See all my reviews

This is actually an extraordinarily beautiful film, if one has even the remotest understanding of Japanese culture around that time period. The harshness of life in Japan made the sort of society in which people went to "be with their loved-ones" and "be with the God of the Mountain" at age 70 completely necessary. The focus of the film is the struggle for survival, and more than that, prospering, in the harsh environment of c. XIX Tohoku. The exploration of this topic takes the viewer into a study of survival through strict rules, and prospering through sexual relationships. The scenes of sexual intercourse serve to portray that even in sexual situations, the Japanese as a people have never viewed nature and animals as separate from ourselves.

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