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

Unrated  |   |  Animation, Drama, War  |  16 April 1988 (Japan)
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Ratings: 8.5/10 from 122,863 users  
Reviews: 492 user | 151 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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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)
Doctors / Old Man (voice)
Dan Green ...
Additional Voices (voice)
Amy Jones ...
Aunt (voice)
George Leaver ...
Additional Voices (voice)
Setsuko (voice) (as Rhoda Chrosite)
J. Robert Spencer ...
Seita (voice)
Additional Voices (voice)
Veronica Taylor ...
Mother (voice)


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 | wartime | shelter | food | boy | See All (253) »


Animation | Drama | War


Unrated | See all certifications »

Parents Guide:






Release Date:

16 April 1988 (Japan)  »

Also Known As:

Grave of the Fireflies  »

Company Credits

Show detailed on  »

Technical Specs


Sound Mix:

| (as Dolby Stereo) (theatrical print)



Aspect Ratio:

1.85 : 1
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Did You Know?


This film was initially distributed with My Neighbor Totoro (1988) because it was the only way that Miyazaki could have been able to make "Totoro." The reason being that the original film pitch for that film was rejected, so they pitched a double feature with "Grave of the Fireflies," and the project was eventually backed financially by the original writer of the book on which "Grave" is based. It often was overlooked as a film because whenever "Totoro" was screened first, people were left happy and did not wish to be saddened by "Grave" afterward. See more »


Right at the beginning, someone places what looks like a rice ball loosely wrapped in some tree bark as a protective cover next to the boy known as Seita. The scene cuts to Seita's face and soon after he collapses, the wrapped rice ball is nowhere to be seen. See more »


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


References Oliver! (1968) See more »


Home Sweet Home
Performed by Amelita Galli-Curci
Courtesy of RCA Victor Red Seal, a division of BMG Classics
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Frequently Asked Questions

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User Reviews

A Beautiful Unforgettable Masterpiece that shows the true cost of war.
16 June 2010 | by (United States) – See all my reviews

I decided to watch Grave of the Fireflies yesterday. My friends told me it was extremely moving and sad. I hesitated at first, but then I said "Oh well, I'll give it a try." At the end of the film, I was crying my eyes out. This was the best animated film, I've ever seen.This is a moving depiction of the fates of cast-off children who become casualties of war.

This movie isn't your regular Animated Film. Pixar and Disney put films out there with happy endings. I'm not saying there bad films at all. They are also great pieces of work. But Grave of the Fireflies tells you the truth. This movie isn't trying to entertain you. It wants to inform you about how war is really like. There were many moments in the movie, that just brought me to tears.

I am kind of upset, that this movie didn't get many awards as it should. In that regards, it is VERY underrated and it is kind of thrown apart. When it should really be respected and praise it. If this movie was made in our time period right now. I would be 100% sure this would of Won an Oscar for Best Animated Film. This is Studio Ghilbi's best movie they have ever released.

I truly advice you to bring a handkerchief, cause chances are that you will cry.

An Emotional Epic Animated Film, that I recommend everyone to watch.

Quite Simply 10/10

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Message Boards

Recent Posts
Not much sympathy from me as a Korean-American. dhydro_lics88
Seita was not stupid nor selfish jenn4394
To me this movie is aweful merelientje
How many minutes did you cry? veeshman
Did anyone else feel this way days after watching it? thebedtimestory
Should I watch the English dubbed one billchat12
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