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Koyaanisqatsi (1982)

Unrated  |   |  Documentary, Music  |  24 August 1983 (France)
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Reviews: 185 user | 85 critic

A collection of expertly photographed phenomena with no conventional plot. The footage focuses on nature, humanity and the relationship between them.


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Title: Koyaanisqatsi (1982)

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Uncredited cast:
Himself (archive footage) (uncredited)
Himself (archive footage) (uncredited)


This documentary looks at the world and more specifically the effect man has had on the landscape and the environment. Without narration, the film shows the world in a pristine condition and untouched: blue skies, beautiful landscapes and endless vistas. The man-made world is much less appealing. Essentially a montage using a variety of film techniques to provide a visually stunning montage of images. Written by garykmcd

Plot Summary | Add Synopsis


October 4, 1982. More than 5,000 people filled the sold out Radio City Music Hall to experience a remarkable film event. That event was the world premiere of KOYAANISQATSI. Now everyone can share the power of that experience. See more »


Documentary | Music


Unrated | See all certifications »

Parents Guide:



Official Sites:


Release Date:

24 August 1983 (France)  »

Also Known As:

Koyaanisqatsi: Life Out of Balance  »

Company Credits

Show detailed on  »

Technical Specs


Sound Mix:


Aspect Ratio:

1.85 : 1
See  »

Did You Know?


The cave paintings shown at the beginning and the very end of the film are to be found in The Great Gallery, a large rock panel of such paintings, at least 1500 years old, in Horseshoe Canyon, Utah. See more »


About an hour into the movie, the camera operator is reflected in the elevator's glass window as the elevator passes "between" floors while shooting the escalators. See more »


[last lines]
title card: Translation of the Hopi Prophecies sung in the film: "If we dig precious things from the land, we will invite disaster." - "Near the Day of Purification, there will be cobwebs spun back and forth in the sky." - "A container of ashes might one day be thrown from the sky, which could burn the land and boil the oceans."
See more »


Referenced in Mystery Science Theater 3000: Catalina Caper (1990) See more »

Frequently Asked Questions

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User Reviews

Just watch it
9 July 2001 | by See all my reviews

A welcome assault on the senses, 'Koyaanisqatsi' is not for the impatient or nervous. You have to give it time because it is slightly dull in the very beginning, as the music and landscapes are fairly ordinary. Once it gets going, its really fascinating. Some gorgeous images, none generated by a computer I might add, and a soundtrack to match the intensity makes this a unique movie experience. I saw it on the big screen when it was first released, and it was MUCH better than on my not-that-big television.

One of the things I also like about this movie is the fact that since there is no dialogue, it can be shown in any country in the world unchanged. We would all see it the exact same way. I like the idea of that very much.

91 of 106 people found this review helpful.  Was this review helpful to you?

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