Snow Falling on Cedars (1999)

PG-13  |   |  Drama, Mystery, Romance  |  7 January 2000 (USA)
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Ratings: 6.8/10 from 12,179 users   Metascore: 44/100
Reviews: 194 user | 95 critic | 31 from

A U.S. Japanese fisherman may have killed his neighbor Carl at sea. In the 1950s, race figures into the trial. So does reporter Ishmael.



(novel), (screenplay) (as Ron Bass) , 1 more credit »
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Nominated for 1 Oscar. Another 5 wins & 9 nominations. See more awards »



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Cast overview, first billed only:
Hatsue Miyamoto (as Youki Kudoh)
Anne Suzuki ...
Nels Gudmundsson (as Max Von Sydow)
Alvin Hooks
Judge Fielding
Sheriff Art Moran
Susan Marie Heine
Carl Heine Jr.
Etta Heine
Carl Heine Sr. (as Daniel Von Bargen)
Hisao Imada
Fujiko Imada


Carl, a fisherman in the waters off Washington state, has been found dead, drowned in his own nets, but with a serious head wound. Was he murdered? Post-war anti-Japanese sentiments are still running high, and a murder suspect is found in the local Japanese-American community in the form of Kabuo, another fisherman, who had a grudge against Carl's family. Ishmael, the small town's newspaperman, may have the information that would acquit Kabuo, but can he ever put his jilted love for Hatsue (Kazuo's wife) aside? Written by Martin Lewison <>

Plot Summary | Plot Synopsis


First loves last. Forever. See more »

Motion Picture Rating (MPAA)

Rated PG-13 for disturbing images, sensuality and brief strong language | See all certifications »

Parents Guide:



Official Sites:



| |

Release Date:

7 January 2000 (USA)  »

Also Known As:

Mientras nieva sobre los cedros  »

Filming Locations:


Box Office


$36,000,000 (estimated)

Opening Weekend:

$32,135 (USA) (24 December 1999)


£30,243 (UK) (12 May 2000)

Company Credits

Show detailed on  »

Technical Specs


Sound Mix:

| |


Aspect Ratio:

2.35 : 1
See  »

Did You Know?


Many of the "Harbor" and "Ocean" related signage remains in the filming location of Greenwood. This causes some confusion to tourists as Greenwood is 275 miles inland. See more »


While Ishmael Chambers is checking the coast guard records, a pen disappears from his mouth between shots. See more »


Young Hatsue Imada: [snuggling] Do you think this is wrong?
Young Ishmael Chambers: Your friends would. Your dad would kill me.
Young Hatsue Imada: My mom is the problem.
Fujiko Imada: [remembering her mother's voice] Stay away from white boys. Marry one of your own kind, whose heart is strong and gentle.
See more »


Featured in The 72nd Annual Academy Awards (2000) See more »


Moon over Burma
Written by Friedrich Hollaender (as Frederick Hollander), Frank Loesser
Performed by Dorothy Lamour
Courtesy of the RCA Records Label of BMG Entertainment
See more »

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User Reviews

It's "Stand By Me" and "To Kill A Mockingbird" blended into one.
25 June 2001 | by (Sauk City, Wisconsin) – See all my reviews

A tightly wound and dynamic thriller that centers around a local news reporter (Ethan Hawke) who runs into an old childhood flame part friend (Youri Kudoh) during a murder trial in a small Washington town during the early 1950s. Director Scott Hicks, who made a name for himself and actor Geoffrey Rush in "Shine", takes an interesting approach in putting plenty of flashbacks that go back to the late 1930s and it works wonderfully. The film's best (and the saddest) flashback scene is witnessing every Japanese person being hauled off in (trucks or trains) to special camps. The courtroom scenes are excellent and watching the devoted prosecutor (James Rebhorn) and an aging, but determined defense attorney (Max von Sydow, who should have snatched a nod for Best Supporting Actor) make their cases is almost perfect. The film is backed by Robert Richardson's terrific cinematography and composer James Newton Howard's gentle and moving score. It's "Stand By Me" meets "To Kill A Mockingbird".

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

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too many flashbacks spookvile0803
I LOVE this movie, but... queen_supreme-1
hatsue never love ismael? antiquegirl12
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