The Eel (1997)
"Unagi" (original title)

Not Rated  |   |  Drama  |  21 August 1998 (USA)
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Ratings: 7.4/10 from 4,246 users  
Reviews: 23 user | 40 critic

A businessman kills his adulterous wife and is sent to prison. After the release, he opens a barbershop and meets new people, talking almost to no one except an eel he befriended while in prison.


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Cast overview, first billed only:
Takuro Yamashita
Keiko Hattori
Mitsuko Baishô ...
Misako Nakajima
Akira Emoto ...
Tamotsu Takasaki
Fujio Tokita ...
Jiro Nakajima
Shô Aikawa ...
Yuji Nozawa
Ken Kobayashi ...
Masaki Saito
Sabu Kawahara ...
Seitaro Misato
Etsuko Ichihara ...
Fumie Hattori
Tomorowo Taguchi ...
Eiji Dojima
Chiho Terada ...
Emiko Yamashita
Shinshô Nakamaru
Sei Hiraizumi
Seiji Kurasaki
Toshirô Ishidô


White-collar worker Yamashita finds out that his wife has a lover visiting her when he's away, suddenly returns home and kills her. After eight years in prison, he returns to live in a small village, opens a barber shop (he was trained as a barber in prison) and talks almost to no-one except for the eel he "befriended" in prison. One day he finds the unconscious body of Keiko, who attempted suicide and reminds him of his wife. She starts to work at his shop, but he doesn't let her become close to him. Written by Anonymous

Plot Summary | Add Synopsis




Not Rated | See all certifications »




Release Date:

21 August 1998 (USA)  »

Also Known As:

The Eel  »

Box Office

Opening Weekend:

DEM 12,386 (Germany) (6 February 1998)


$413,793 (USA) (28 May 1999)

Company Credits

Show detailed on  »

Technical Specs


Sound Mix:


Aspect Ratio:

1.85 : 1
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Did You Know?


French visa # 92472 See more »


Jiro Nakajima: Is it bad to have such rumors about a guy on parole?
See more »


Featured in Especial Cannes: 50 Anos de Festival (1997) See more »

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User Reviews

redemption,the chaotic path
15 August 1999 | by (england) – See all my reviews

I actually enjoyed the film a lot. Maybe it's not one of the most articulated films, but there was liveliness in it,and i think that's the reason the eel got cannes. The lives of misunderstood,isolated finds the peace with themselves in a remote country side, reminded me of Mediterriano a bit. The man's murder, suicidal heroine and her mad mother, a guy who is obsessed with UFO, which seems unexplainable and their lives are narrated in a messiest possible way. I think this film is not for analysis or for coming to conclusion, the director wants to show a utopia where misfits can be forgiven and find a harmony with the world, where a human communicates with an eel. And where people can have a chance to get redemption,,,

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