Tampopo (1985)

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A truck driver stops at a small family-run noodle shop and decides to help its fledgling business. The story is intertwined with various vignettes about the relationship of love and food.



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Complete credited cast:
Tsutomu Yamazaki ...
Nobuko Miyamoto ...
Man in White Suit
Rikiya Yasuoka ...
Kinzô Sakura ...
Yoshi Katô ...
Noodle-making master
Hideji Ôtaki ...
Rich Old Man
Fukumi Kuroda ...
Man in White Suit's mistress
Setsuko Shinoi ...
Old Man's mistress
Yoriko Dôguchi ...
Pearl diver (Oyster girl)
Masahiko Tsugawa ...
Supermarket manager
Yoshihiro Katô ...
Man in White Suit's henchman
Rest of cast listed alphabetically:
Mario Abe ...
Restaurant's boss
Sen Hara ...
Old woman in supermarket


In this humorous paean to the joys of food, the main story is about trucker Goro, who rides into town like a modern Shane to help Tampopo set up the perfect noodle soup restaurant. Woven into this main story are a number of smaller stories about the importance of food, ranging from a gangster who mixes hot sex with food, to an old woman who terrorizes a shopkeeper by compulsively squeezing his wares. Written by Reid Gagle

Plot Summary | Add Synopsis


The first Japanese noodle western!


Comedy | Western


See all certifications »

Parents Guide:





Release Date:

September 1987 (USA)  »

Also Known As:

Tanpopo  »

Company Credits

Show detailed on  »

Technical Specs


Sound Mix:


Aspect Ratio:

1.37 : 1
See  »

Did You Know?


When Goro is washing his truck he dumps a bucketful of water on it, but uses no soap. This is actually a washing ritual which is part of the Shinto religion. See more »


Student of ramen eating: [voiceover] One fine day... I went out with an old man. He's studied noodles for 40 years. He was showing me the right way to eat them.
Student of ramen eating: Master... soup first or noodles first?
Old gentleman: First, observe the whole bowl.
Student of ramen eating: Yes, sir.
Old gentleman: Appreciate its gestalt. Savor the aromas. Jewels of fat glittering on the surface. Shinachiku roots shining. Seaweed slowly sinking. Spring onions floating. Concentrate on the three pork slices. They play the key role, but stay modestly hidden. First caress the surface with the ...
See more »


Spoofs Shane (1953) See more »

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User Reviews

A classic of world cinema
15 November 2006 | by (the big screen) – See all my reviews

This remains one of the better comedies of all time due to star performances, a superb script, and many, many surprises. Above all, the pacing is some of the best seen in any comedy.

Tampopo has all the qualities of good story telling: a hero, a disciple, a quest.

And when your hero is a trucker, the disciple a woman in need of help, and the quest to cook the best noodles then you know you're in for fun.

In between all this are vignettes on how food and life mingle. It is more than simple laughs there are moments of poignancy, and genuine flights of imagination.

Many directors could do well to watch the ease with which the camera is handled here: the plot flows beautifully and the switches to the small vignettes are handled with suitable aplomb.

All in all a three course meal.

14 of 16 people found this review helpful.  Was this review helpful to you?

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