Picture Bride (1994)

PG-13  |   |  Drama, Romance  |  5 May 1995 (USA)
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The story of 16-year-old Riyo who journeys to Hawaii in 1918 to marry a man she has never met, except through photographs and letters they have exchanged. Hoping to escape a troubled past ... See full summary »



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Complete credited cast:
Yôko Sugi ...
Aunt Sode
Christianne Mays ...
Miss Pieper
The Benshi
Rest of cast listed alphabetically:
Michael Ashby ...
James Grant Benton ...
Glenn Cannon ...
Mer. Pieper
Lito Capiña ...
Peter Clark ...
Christian minister
Warren Fabro ...
Michael Hasegawa ...
Immigration officer
Kyle Kakuno ...


The story of 16-year-old Riyo who journeys to Hawaii in 1918 to marry a man she has never met, except through photographs and letters they have exchanged. Hoping to escape a troubled past and to start anew, Riyo is bitterly disappointed upon her arrival: her husband is twice her age and Hawaii is not the paradise she expected. As Riyo comes to terms with her new home, she discovers a land full of hardship, struggle--and unexpected joy. Written by <raq@netcom.com>

Plot Summary | Add Synopsis


Hawaii, 1918. She left Japan for a man she had never met, in a new world she couldn't imagine... America.


Drama | Romance

Motion Picture Rating (MPAA)

Rated PG-13 for sensuality | See all certifications »






Release Date:

5 May 1995 (USA)  »

Also Known As:

A Mulher Prometida  »

Filming Locations:

Box Office


$1,238,905 (USA)

Company Credits

Show detailed on  »

Technical Specs


Sound Mix:


Aspect Ratio:

1.85 : 1
See  »

Did You Know?


When the character played by Toshiro Mifune sees two children playing with stick swords, he calls them out by their names "Toshiro" and "Akira", a reference to himself and director Akira Kurosawa, who directed Mifune in 16 films. See more »


Kana: The first time I get off the boat, I see Kanzaki. I think, "Ooh! He's so handsome. How I get this kind handsome man? More better than picture!" All the other brides look at us, tell me "Lucky!" He act so nice, so kind. I think I'm in paradise.
Riyo: Why Kanzak-san change?
Kana: [tearfully] I don't know. But my, he get mean.
See more »

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User Reviews

Gotten better with age
26 June 2007 | by (Big Island, Hawai'i) – See all my reviews

I saw this when it premiered and just re-watched it on IFC again. This is a great telling of the many possible stories about the immigrant farmworker population that came to Hawai'i to work the sugar plantations in the early 1900's. My grandparents were part of that migration; my parents were born on a Kohala plantation (Big Island) at the time setting of the movie. I moved to the Big Island over a year ago after living in California for over 30 years. I was surprised to see that many of the former cane growing lands are still undeveloped, with wild cane still growing, years after the plantations closed. I've heard many stories from my aunts and uncles who were kids growing up on the plantation. This movie helps to image those kinds of stories and memories. This story is more of an historical document than a romantic plot-driven movie. It leaves me shaking my head to read a review like ccthemovieman's. Some people just don't get it.

I didn't recall that Youki Kudoh had the starring role, with which she did an incredible job. I recall her great performances in Jim Jarmusch's "Mystery Train" and in an Australian film, co- starring with Russell Crowe, "Heaven's Burning". Tamlyn Tomita did a great job with her pidgin English, especially for someone who didn't grow up in the Islands. I had forgotten that Toshiro Mifune had a cameo role as the moving picture show narrator. And I missed the fact that Jason Scott Lee had an uncredited, non-speaking part as one of the plantation workers during the payday scene.

I was saddened to find out that the director and co-writer, Kayo Hatta, died in an accidental drowning in 2005.

There are two other excellent foreign films that mirror this cane plantation experience: "Gaijin" about the immigrant cane workers in Brazil (many of them Japanese) in the same time period; and "Sugar Cane Alley" about the cane plantation experience in Africa. The latter is still available, but "Gaijin", sadly, doesn't appear to have been shown in quite a while. Another great film about the early Asian in America experience when immigrants were more like slaves is "A Thousand Pieces of Gold". This was set over the Chinese workers' involvement in the building of the railroad, starred Rosalind Chao, Chris Cooper, Michael Paul Chan, and Dennis Dun.

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

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