Snow Falling on Cedars (1999)

PG-13  |   |  Drama, Mystery, Romance  |  7 January 2000 (USA)
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Ratings: 6.8/10 from 12,181 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


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:



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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?


Boats used in the production were provided by the Columbia River Maritime Museum in Astoria, Oregon, and can be seen in its permanent collection. See more »


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


Nels Gudmundsson: It takes a rare thing, a turning point, to free oneself from any obsession. Be it prejudice or hate, or, even love.
See more »


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


Would You
Written by Johnny Burke, Jimmy Van Heusen
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User Reviews

Love in the Cold
27 May 2000 | by (United Kingdom) – See all my reviews

Snow Falling on Cedars

Nominated for best cinematography, this film deserved to give American Beauty a better run for its money. Sadly savaged by many critics, who seemed to fail to grasp the depth of the story and the beauty with which it was told because they were too busy analyzing the parts. Snow Falling on Cedars follows a mixed race love that is complicated by the onset of war. The reactions of the two principle characters betrays not only how human love can transcend itself into something greater but how those involved can find fulfillment in themselves through its sacrifice. The exquisite symbolism (you could write a book on the different things snow could symbolize after watching this) is never overplayed - in other words, the viewer can enjoy the film as entertainment without having "deeper meanings" rammed down their throat - but they are there in abundance, from the way the scenery is developed to small details such as the main character's name ("Ishmael" - meaning "He whom God hears").

23 of 27 people found this review helpful.  Was this review helpful to you?

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