Koyaanisqatsi (1982)

Unrated  |   |  Documentary, Music  |  24 August 1983 (France)
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Ratings: 8.3/10 from 24,709 users  
Reviews: 185 user | 86 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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5 wins & 1 nomination. See more awards »



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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


Until now, you've never really seen the world you live in. 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

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Technical Specs


Sound Mix:


Aspect Ratio:

1.85 : 1
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Did You Know?


While October 4th, 1982, may have been its New York City premiere, at Radio City Music Hall, its actual world premiere was held at the Santa Fe Film Festival (USA) on 27th April, 1982. 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 Cheers: I Kid You Not (1989) See more »

Frequently Asked Questions

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User Reviews

One of the most brilliant movies ever made!
5 November 2003 | by (Lyngby, Denmark) – See all my reviews

This is a stunningly beautiful movie. The music by Phillip Glass is just a work of pure genius. I can watch this movie again and again. The final sequence of the Hobi legend's judgment where the container falls from the sky is just unbelievable. How was it filmed? It's so amazing. If you have not seen this film watch it - again and again! This must be the only movie which in a powerful way, far better than, say, "Apocalypse Now", sums up why our current "civilization" might be heading for destruction. Moreover, "Koyaanisquatsi" "defamiliarizes" the world and humanity allowing the viewer to benefit from a "verfremdung" viewpoint. In other words, we learn so much about our own life and life in general by watching it from this entirely new viewpoint of "Koyannisqautsi", where fast motion is used extensively. What is mankind about? Why are we moving so fast? Towards what goal? What is nature? What is the driving force of nature? What is the pulse of the earth? What is our relation with ourselves, nature and other people and animals? Moreover, I think this movie is better than the sequel "Powaquatsi". Anyway, I cannot emphasize enough how brilliant "Koyaanisqatsi" is. Watch it! Watch it! Watch it!

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