27 user 52 critic

Mishima: A Life in Four Chapters (1985)

A fictionalized account in four chapters of the life of celebrated Japanese writer Yukio Mishima.



Watch Now

From $2.99 (SD) on Amazon Video

1 win & 1 nomination. See more awards »



Learn more

People who liked this also liked... 

Patriotism (1966)
Drama | Short
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.6/10 X  

A Noh dramatization of the suicides of Lt. Shinji Takeyama and his wife Reiko. After participating in a failed 1936 coup and being ordered to execute his friends, he bids his wife an intimate farewell and commits harakiri.

Directors: Masaki Dômoto, Yukio Mishima
Stars: Yukio Mishima, Yoshiko Tsuruoka
Blue Collar (1978)
Crime | Drama
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.6/10 X  

Three workers, Zeke (Richard Pryor), Jerry (Harvey Keitel) and Smokey (Yaphet Kotto), are working at a car plant and drinking their beers together. One night when they steal away from their... See full summary »

Director: Paul Schrader
Stars: Richard Pryor, Harvey Keitel, Yaphet Kotto
Crime | Drama
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.9/10 X  

Chronological exploits of Iwao Enokizu, a murderous thief on the lam.

Director: Shôhei Imamura
Stars: Ken Ogata, Rentarô Mikuni, Chôchô Miyako
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 8.1/10 X  

A weak-willed Italian man becomes a fascist flunky who goes abroad to arrange the assassination of his old teacher, now a political dissident.

Director: Bernardo Bertolucci
Stars: Jean-Louis Trintignant, Stefania Sandrelli, Gastone Moschin
Drama | Comedy | Crime
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.6/10 X  

A young hoodlum decides to work for a criminal organization that is tearing itself apart.

Director: Shôhei Imamura
Stars: Hiroyuki Nagato, Jitsuko Yoshimura, Masao Mishima
Forever Mine (1999)
Crime | Drama | Romance
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 5.3/10 X  

An affair between a cabana boy and the young wife of a sinister politician triggers a 16-year vendetta between the two men.

Director: Paul Schrader
Stars: Joseph Fiennes, Ray Liotta, Gretchen Mol
Touch (1997)
Comedy | Drama | Romance
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 5.7/10 X  

When Juvenal, a presumed miracle worker, appears on the scene Bill Hill attempts to exploit him but his plans go astray with the untimely intervention of August Murray and the developing ... See full summary »

Director: Paul Schrader
Stars: Bridget Fonda, Christopher Walken, Skeet Ulrich
The Mirror (1975)
Biography | Drama
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 8.2/10 X  

A dying man in his forties remembers his past. His childhood, his mother, the war, personal moments and things that tell of the recent history of all the Russian nation.

Director: Andrei Tarkovsky
Stars: Margarita Terekhova, Filipp Yankovskiy, Ignat Daniltsev
Comedy | Crime | Drama
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.7/10 X  

A Korean man is sentenced to death by hanging, but he survives the execution. For the following two hours, his executioners try to work out how to handle the situation in this black farce.

Director: Nagisa Ôshima
Stars: Kei Satô, Fumio Watanabe, Hôsei Komatsu
Documentary | Sport
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 8/10 X  

Ichikawa's cameras follow the 1964 Summer Olympics from opening to closing ceremonies. Sometimes he focuses on spectators, as athletes pass in a blur; sometimes he isolates a competitor; ... See full summary »

Director: Kon Ichikawa
Stars: Abebe Bikila, Jack Douglas, Hirohito
Certificate: GP Drama
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.8/10 X  

An engineer from Tokyo arrives on a drought-ridden tropical island to drill a well to power a nearby sugar mill. He meets the inbred Futori family, hated by the locals for breaking religious customs.

Director: Shôhei Imamura
Stars: Rentarô Mikuni, Chôichirô Kawarasaki, Kazuo Kitamura
Light Sleeper (1992)
Crime | Drama
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 6.8/10 X  

A drug dealer with upscale clientele is having moral problems going about his daily deliveries. A reformed addict, he has never gotten over the wife that left him, and the couple that use ... See full summary »

Director: Paul Schrader
Stars: Willem Dafoe, Susan Sarandon, Dana Delany


Cast overview, first billed only:
Ken Ogata ...
Masayuki Shionoya ...
Morita (segment "November 25, 1970")
Hiroshi Mikami ...
Cadet #1 (segment "November 25, 1970")
Junya Fukuda ...
Cadet #2 (segment "November 25, 1970")
Shigeto Tachihara ...
Cadet #3 (segment "November 25, 1970")
Junkichi Orimoto ...
General Mashita (segment "November 25, 1970")
Naoko Ôtani ...
Mother (segment "Flashbacks")
Gô Rijû ...
Mishima, age 18-19 (segment "Flashbacks")
Masato Aizawa ...
Mishima - age 9-14 (segment "Flashbacks")
Yuki Nagahara ...
Mishima, age 5 (segment "Flashbacks")
Kyûzô Kobayashi ...
Literary Friend (segment "Flashbacks")
Yuuki Kitazume ...
Dancing Friend (segment "Flashbacks")
Haruko Katô ...
Grandmother (segment "Flashbacks")
Yasosuke Bando ...
Mizoguchi (segment "The Temple of the Golden Pavilion")
Hisako Manda ...
Mariko (segment "The Temple of the Golden Pavilion")


A fictionalized account in four segments of the life of Japan's celebrated twentieth-century author Yukio Mishima. Three of the segments parallel events in Mishima's life with his novels (The Temple of the Golden Pavilion (Kinkaku-ji), Kyoko's House, and Runaway Horses), while the fourth depicts 25 November 1970, "The Last Day"... Written by Nick Lopez <ntlopez@fas.harvard.edu>

Plot Summary | Add Synopsis


On November 25, 1970, Japan's greatest author Yukio Mishima commited an act that shocked the literary world...


Biography | Drama


R | See all certifications »

Parents Guide:







Release Date:

20 September 1985 (USA)  »

Also Known As:

Mishima  »

Filming Locations:

Box Office


$5,000,000 (estimated)


$450,000 (USA)

Company Credits

Show detailed on  »

Technical Specs


Sound Mix:

Aspect Ratio:

1.85 : 1
See  »

Did You Know?


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


In the road scene, when Mishima and his crew are going to the Ministery of Defence, many models of cars can be seen which existed when the movie was filmed, but did not exist in the year the events happened (1970). See more »


Yukio Mishima (Narrator): I wanted to explode, light the sky for an instant and disappear.
See more »

Crazy Credits

Yukio Mishima is acknowledged to have been a real person, but his acts have been fictionalized by writers. Other persons and events in this film are fictitious. Any similarity to actual persons and events is unintentional. See more »


Referenced in Auto Focus (2002) See more »

Frequently Asked Questions

This FAQ is empty. Add the first question.

User Reviews

Highly stylized, rewarding film for thoughtful viewers.
12 January 2007 | by (Atlanta, Georgia) – See all my reviews

It has taken several viewings for me to fully appreciate this film. Initially, I was struck by the stylized sets, but found the rest slow going and dull. I thought that such a sensational subject needed the Ken Russell treatment to take it way over the top. I now find the enforced restraint (placed on the production by Mishima's widow) to be an asset. Some of the more lurid aspects of Mishima's life are reiterated and dramatized by corresponding themes from his novels. I think it helps to be familiar with the novels - that's what finally made the difference for me. Still feel the film overall could be a little tighter and warmer, but it's genuinely unique, and deserves serious attention. Love the fact that the Japanese characters speak Japanese - not English. The Philip Glass score is mesmerizing.

8 of 9 people found this review helpful.  Was this review helpful to you?

Message Boards

Recent Posts
The Film's Score zen_janitor
New Criterion DVD! graydons9
Differences Between Roy Scheider's Narration and Schrader's Narration thekarelianisthmus
John Lennon's Imagine in a Wal-Mart Cinefilodough
Language ZombieTongue
Criterion through Netflix? banana_on_a_skateboard
Discuss Mishima: A Life in Four Chapters (1985) on the IMDb message boards »

Contribute to This Page

Create a character page for: