Up 597 this week

Snow Falling on Cedars (1999)

PG-13  |   |  Drama, Mystery, Romance  |  7 January 2000 (USA)
Your rating:
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 -/10 X  
Ratings: 6.8/10 from 12,139 users   Metascore: 44/100
Reviews: 193 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 »
Watch Trailer
0Check in

Watch Now

From $2.99 on Amazon Video


Celebrate IMDb's 25th Anniversary with Photos We Love

IMDb turns a 25 on October 17! To celebrate, we put together a gallery of some of our favorite movie, TV, and event photos from the last 25 years.

See the Photos We Love

User Lists

Related lists from IMDb users

a list of 29 titles
created 24 Mar 2013
a list of 22 titles
created 31 Oct 2013
a list of 22 titles
created 21 Dec 2013
a list of 39 titles
created 26 Jun 2014
a list of 44 titles
created 4 months ago

Related Items

Connect with IMDb

Share this Rating

Title: Snow Falling on Cedars (1999)

Snow Falling on Cedars (1999) on IMDb 6.8/10

Want to share IMDb's rating on your own site? Use the HTML below.

Take The Quiz!

Test your knowledge of Snow Falling on Cedars.
Nominated for 1 Oscar. Another 5 wins & 9 nominations. See more awards »



Learn more

People who liked this also liked... 

Drama | Music
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 6.7/10 X  

Howard Spence (Sam Shepard) has seen better days. Once a big Western movie star, he now drowns his disgust for his selfish and failed life with alcohol, drugs and young women. If he were to... See full summary »

Director: Wim Wenders
Stars: Sam Shepard, Jessica Lange, Tim Roth
Hamlet (2000)
Drama | Romance | Thriller
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 6/10 X  

Modern-day New York City adaptation of Shakespeare's immortal story about Hamlet's plight to avenge his father's murder.

Director: Michael Almereyda
Stars: Ethan Hawke, Kyle MacLachlan, Diane Venora
Action | Crime | Drama
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 6/10 X  

The story of the Newton gang, the most successful bank robbers in history, thanks to their good planning and minimal violence.

Director: Richard Linklater
Stars: Matthew McConaughey, Ethan Hawke, Skeet Ulrich
Drama | War
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.2/10 X  

Loosely based on the actual WWI Christmas cease fire between German and English troops. The two sides met halfway across the battlefield and sang silent night and played soccer. Each year the two countries re-enact the game in tribute.

Director: Keith Gordon
Stars: Peter Berg, Kevin Dillon, Arye Gross
Action | Comedy | Drama
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 5.2/10 X  

A satire about desperate hustling, pop philosophy and big money.

Director: David Salle
Stars: Griffin Dunne, Dennis Hopper, Jason Ferraro
Drama | Romance
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 6.8/10 X  

Modernization of Charles Dickens classic story finds the hapless Finn as a painter in New York pursuing his unrequited and haughty childhood love.

Director: Alfonso Cuarón
Stars: Ethan Hawke, Gwyneth Paltrow, Hank Azaria
Rich in Love (1992)
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 6.2/10 X  

Charleston, South Carolina. The Odoms have lived a life of the traditions of the American south in their longtime, large family beach front home. That tradition is turned upside down when ... See full summary »

Director: Bruce Beresford
Stars: Albert Finney, Jill Clayburgh, Kathryn Erbe
Reality Bites (1994)
Comedy | Drama | Romance
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 6.6/10 X  

Generation X Graduates face life after college with a filmmaker looking for work and love in Houston.

Director: Ben Stiller
Stars: Winona Ryder, Ethan Hawke, Janeane Garofalo
Crime | Drama | Romance
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 5.7/10 X  

Detective Emily Eden is a tough New York City cop forced to go undercover to solve a puzzling murder. Her search for the truth takes her into a secret world of unwritten law and unspoken ... See full summary »

Director: Sidney Lumet
Stars: Melanie Griffith, Eric Thal, John Pankow
Comedy | Drama
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 5.4/10 X  

A failed New Jersey inventor embarks on a career as a standup comic, turns to drink, and labors to keep his family together.

Director: Frank Whaley
Stars: Frank Whaley, Carla Gugino, Ethan Hawke
The Two of Us (1967)
Comedy | Drama
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.8/10 X  

Claude is a Jew. Because of the risks of an arrest (France is occupied by the Nazis), his parents send him away to an elderly couple in the country. Pepe, the husband, is a Petain supporter... See full summary »

Director: Claude Berri
Stars: Michel Simon, Roger Carel, Paul Préboist
Comedy | Crime | Mystery
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 5.4/10 X  

After being dumped by her boyfriend, Pauline lets herself be dragged along by her sister to a luxurious hotel on the Italian riviera. Instead of indulging in the pleasures of loungeing ... See full summary »

Director: Marc Fitoussi
Stars: Sandrine Kiberlain, Audrey Lamy, Claudio Santamaria


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


From the director of 'Shine' 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?


The accused's name in the novel was Kabuo Miyamoto, while in the movie it was changed to Kazuo. See more »


When the sheriff and Susan Marie talk in the kitchen, the diaper on her shoulder disappears. See more »


Ishmael Chambers: I know you'll think this is crazy, but all I want to do is hold you, and I think that if you'll let me do that just for a few seconds, I can walk away, and never speak to you again.
See more »


Featured in Spotlight on Location: Snow Falling on Cedars (2000) See more »


Laudate Dominum
Written by Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart (as W. A. Mozart)
Performed by Aled Jones and the BBC Welch Chorus
Courtesy of BBC Music
See more »

Frequently Asked Questions

This FAQ is empty. Add the first question.

User Reviews

Beautifully crafted and compelling story
4 July 2000 | by (Atlanta, GA) – See all my reviews

This is a magnificent adaptation of David Guterson's acclaimed book. Scott Hicks took on a gargantuan task in attempting to make the book into a film, not only because it was so powerful and well received, but because it was so lengthy and daedal. The result, however, was one of the best films I have seen in quite some time.

There were really three stories intricately interwoven into one. The main story was the trial of a Japanese American for the murder of a fisherman who owned the land wrongfully taken from the accused's father. The other two stories provide insight into critical events affecting the trial. The first involves the childhood love affair of local newspaperman Ishmael (Ethan Hawke) and Hatsue (Youki Kudoh), who is now the wife of the accused. He has uncovered information that can aid the defense, but his resentment for having been jilted by Hatsue stands in the way of his bringing it forth.

The second ancillary story is the persecution of Japanese Americans and Japanese immigrants during World War II. We see depictions of hatred and bigotry, as law abiding Japanese citizens are shamelessly herded into internment camps. This seething animus serves as the psychological backdrop for the trial, which occurs in the early 1950's when the memories of the war and lost loved ones is still fresh.

From a directorial and cinematography perspective, this film was nothing short of a masterpiece. It is a cinematic work of art. Between Hicks' brilliant camera perspectives and Robert Richardson's beautiful lighting and earth tone coloring, the film was resplendent in powerful and stirring images. Many were so artistically done that if made into snapshots they could easily hang in any art gallery. Each shot was meticulously thought out. Many involved complex shots through windows, silhouette backlighting, elaborate blocking, and scenes where actors, props and camera were all moving in different directions to create fabulously fluid perspective shots that slowly unfolded to revealed the scene's full content.

The editing was also fantastic. I have seen comparison's between this editing and ‘The Limey'. While there is some similarity in technique, this was far more elegant and flowing, whereas `The Limey' was jumpy and disconnected. This style of editing was absolutely necessary to adhere to the book's non linear format. Hicks needed to insert scenes that explained the feelings and motivations of the characters, and the only way to do this was with flashbacks and jump cuts. Despite the fact that such editing is disconcerting to a large majority of viewers, it was an artistic decision that was exactly right for the story, and seamlessly done. The same is true of the audio overlays with monologues of characters superimposed on one another, giving great power and emphasis to certain of the characters' lines.

The story itself, with all of its components, was engaging and well crafted. Unfortunately, there was not enough time to develop more of the characters. The scenes depicting the herding of the Japanese out of their homes for relocation were chilling. The courtroom scenes were realistic, not forsaking court procedure for dramatic effect, as is so common nowadays. The love scenes were sensitive, romantic and passionate without the need for sexual explicitness.

From an acting perspective, this was more of an ensemble production. All the actors gave wonderful performances, especially Youki Kudoh, who was torn between her love for Ishmael and her loyalty to her family and traditions. Kudoh was so emotionally involved with the part that she actually began crying during the featurette when recalling one of the scenes. Screen legend Max von Sydow was also fantastic as the aging defense attorney fighting and pleading for justice amidst the racial hatred.

This is a beautifully crafted film with a compelling story. It is a filmmaking 10/10. It has unfortunately not found a wide audience since its strongest elements are not areas of mass appeal. For the refined viewer who can appreciate filmmaking as an art, and enjoy an intriguing but deliberate story with exquisitely woven subtleties, this film is a delight. For those who prefer Hollywood's movie success formula of fast paced linear stories with lots of violence, profanity, clever one liners and raunchy sex, this film will bore them to death.

49 of 53 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
Discuss Snow Falling on Cedars (1999) on the IMDb message boards »

Contribute to This Page

Create a character page for: