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Grave of the Fireflies (1988)
"Hotaru no haka" (original title)

8.5
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Ratings: 8.5/10 from 97,993 users  
Reviews: 462 user | 136 critic

A tragic film covering a young boy and his little sister's struggle to survive in Japan during World War II.

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Title: Grave of the Fireflies (1988)

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Cast

Complete credited cast:
Tsutomu Tatsumi ...
Seita (voice)
Ayano Shiraishi ...
Setsuko (voice)
Yoshiko Shinohara ...
Mother (voice)
Akemi Yamaguchi ...
Aunt (voice)
Rest of cast listed alphabetically:
Shannon Conley ...
Additional Voices (voice)
...
Additional Voices (voice)
Dan Green ...
Additional Voices (voice)
Amy Jones ...
Aunt (voice)
George Leaver ...
Additional Voices (voice)
...
Setsuko (voice) (as Rhoda Chrosite)
...
Seita (voice)
...
Additional Voices (voice)
Veronica Taylor ...
Mother (voice)
Edit

Storyline

Setsuko and Seita are brother and sister living in wartime Japan. After their mother is killed in an air raid they find a temporary home with relatives. Having quarreled with their aunt they leave the city and make their home in an abandoned shelter. While their soldier father's destiny is unknown, the two must depend on each other to somehow keep a roof over their heads and food in their stomachs. When everything is in short supply, they gradually succumb to hunger and their only entertainment is the light of the fireflies. Written by Corrected by Liron

Plot Summary | Plot Synopsis

Plot Keywords:

japan | shelter | food | boy | hunger | See All (247) »

Genres:

Animation | Drama | War

Certificate:

Unrated | See all certifications »

Parents Guide:

 »
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Details

Country:

Language:

Release Date:

16 April 1988 (Japan)  »

Also Known As:

Grave of the Fireflies  »

Company Credits

Show detailed on  »

Technical Specs

Runtime:

Sound Mix:

| (as Dolby Stereo) (theatrical print)

Color:

(Technicolor)

Aspect Ratio:

1.85 : 1
See  »
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Did You Know?

Trivia

This is the only Ghibili theatrical feature film to not be part of the Disney-Tokuma deal. See more »

Quotes

[first lines]
Seita: September 21, 1945... that was the night I died.
See more »

Connections

Referenced in Spirited Away (2001) See more »

Soundtracks

Home Sweet Home
Performed by Amelita Galli-Curci
Courtesy of RCA Victor Red Seal, a division of BMG Classics
See more »

Frequently Asked Questions

See more (Spoiler Alert!) »

User Reviews

 
A magnificent piece of work and one of the most heartbreaking tales ever told
7 January 2005 | by (Beverley Hills, England) – See all my reviews

Animation is often seen as a childish medium, and for good reason as kid's films often are animated. However, every now and then an animated film comes along that extends it's boundaries and manages to deliver a very adult story, and Grave of the Fireflies is one of those films. Through it's well observed and very real characters, Grave of the Fireflies portrays a story of loss, heartbreak and the effect of war on civilians in a manner that is more effective and more firmly based in reality than many live action films about the same subject are. We follow Seita and Setsuko, a brother and sister that have lost their parents in the war and are now forced to fend for themselves in the war torn country. How the two go about doing that and the boy's development from a child to a (somewhat) responsible adult due to the change in the surroundings makes up the spine of the movie.

I'm not a big fan of animation, but there are some films that are so great that a person's personal preferences are irrelevant, and this is one of those films. The animation is beautiful and certain scenes, including the air raids and anything with the fireflies are amazing works of art. The way the music blends with the images on screen is haunting and beautiful, and helps add to the tragedy of the story. Because we are able to care for the characters, the tragedy is increased ten fold and the story on the whole is a sad one, but few movies have ever matched up to this film's ending in terms of pure despair. The conclusion is absolutely gut wrenching to an extent that few movies have ever matched, let alone animated pictures. The fact that it's so plain and blatant, with no attempt to console the audience takes the tragedy to a whole new level and I don't doubt that many audience members will be holding back tears upon the film's conclusion.

This film is a must see.


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