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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.



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

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 »

Parents Guide:





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?


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


Referenced in The Great Grateful Jizo See more »


Risuke no uta
Written by Hitoshi Machida
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User Reviews

21 August 2000 | by (Houston TX) – See all my reviews

This is one of the most beautiful and moving motion pictures I have ever seen. The extreme hardships faced by the people in this story are presented frankly and unsentimentally. The cinematography is absolutely exquisite, particularly the last 10-15 minutes. Although the film never gives in to or panders to sentimentality (sentimentality, Imamura?), the end is really a tear-jerker. As much as I hate to make lists of my "favorite things", this movie would definitely rate among my top ten of all times. Do yourself a favor and see this movie!

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