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Snow Falling on Cedars (1999)

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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 »
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


It's 1950 on San Pedro Island in the American Pacific Northwest. Commercial fisher Carl Heine Jr.'s dead body is pulled out of the water in a fishing net by his crew, he who died of head trauma. Kazuo Miyamoto is charged with his murder. Carl and Kazuo were once friends, had known each other since childhood, but WWII has placed a strain on any sort of relationship between the ethic Japanese and Caucasian populations of the area, the Japanese population which was and is still substantial on the island. Carl had motive regarding a land dispute between the two families, land which Carl's mother eventually sold from under the Miyamotos and which Carl had just repurchased. Evidence also points to Kazuo being on the water with Carl probably sometime during his last voyage, evidence which Kazuo knew would put him in a bad light, adding on top of being Japanese, and thus decided not to disclose to the investigating sheriff at the time he was questioned. Kazuo and his wife Hatsue's fear come ... Written by Huggo

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


$35,000,000 (estimated)

Opening Weekend:

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


$14,378,353 (USA) (10 March 2000)

Company Credits

Show detailed on  »

Technical Specs


Sound Mix:

| |


Aspect Ratio:

2.35 : 1
See  »

Did You Know?


Ishmael never once pronounces the love of his life's name correctly. He always calls her "Hat-sue", when her name should be pronounced "Ha-Tsu-E". See more »


One scene shows a Coast Guard Petty Officer wearing a peacoat. His peacoat has his insignia of rank (red chevrons and white eagle) on the outside of the left sleeve. The US Navy and presumably the Coast Guard did not adopt the policy of wearing the insignia on the sleeve of the peacoat until the mid 1960s. See more »


Arthur Chambers: That's the thing with girls. They grew up and break your heart.
See more »


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


I Used to Love You (But It's All Over Now)
Written by Lew Brown, Albert von Tilzer (as Albert Von Tilzer)
Performed by Fats Waller
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?

Message Boards

Recent Posts
I LOVE this movie, but... queen_supreme-1
too many flashbacks spookvile0803
hatsue never love ismael? antiquegirl12
Hatsu Jen175
love this movie natz62
End of Movie spikedmort
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