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Circus Boys (1989)
"Nijisseiki shônen dokuhon" (original title)

 -  Drama  -  23 November 1989 (Japan)
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Ratings: 7.4/10 from 49 users  
Reviews: 4 user | 1 critic

Two brothers, Jinta and Wataru, are raised in a travelling circus. After an accident, Jinta decides to leave the circus and travels the countryside working as a con-man. After a run-in with... See full summary »



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Cast overview, first billed only:
Hiroshi Mikami ...
Moe Kamura ...
Plaything / Omocha
Shu Ken ...
Wataru (as Xia Jian)
Michiru Akiyoshi ...
Yuki Asayama ...
Sanshi Katsura ...
Samejima (as Bunshi Katsura)
Haruko Wanibuchi ...
Shirô Sano ...
Yukio Yamato ...
Maki Ishikawa ...
Akira Ôizumi ...
Ring Master
Akaji Maro ...
Tattoo Master
Chuck ...
Masashi Okuda ...


Two brothers, Jinta and Wataru, are raised in a travelling circus. After an accident, Jinta decides to leave the circus and travels the countryside working as a con-man. After a run-in with a local gang of yakuza, he is invited to join their ranks, where he makes the mistake of falling for a boss's mistress. Wataru stays with the circus and works hard to regain its former glory. Written by Todd K. Bowman <>

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Release Date:

23 November 1989 (Japan)  »

Also Known As:

Circus Boys  »

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Technical Specs


Sound Mix:

Aspect Ratio:

1.85 : 1
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User Reviews

The circus as metaphor
13 December 2002 | by (United Kingdom) – See all my reviews

Just as the road has become a potent metaphor in cinema for journeys through life, the circus occupies a similar position in representing the security of togetherness. There are not so many examples of the circus movie but when the big top is pitched it is usually a protection from a hostile world outside for those within. In Kazan's "Man on a Tightrope" for instance there is the solidarity in fleeing from a repressive regime. The characters in possibly the greatest circus film of all, Bergman's "Sawdust and Tinsel", may not always act kindly towards one another, but they are often protected by the camaraderie of those they share the tent with. An interesting circus curio from Japan is "Circus Boys" which tells the story of two brothers brought up in the ring who reach a point in their early adulthood where their developmental paths diverge. The younger has retained the emotional protection that the circus provides and stays on to help rebuild it after an appalling accident with a geriatric elephant all but wrecks the show. The older brother, even before this event, has had to get away and in developing his skills as a dishonest showman, falls in with a group of gangsters. After several misadventures he rediscovers the bright lights of the circus tent which presumably beckon him back to stability. Although it all sounds a shade simplistic, this interesting little film is saved from being a little too pat by monochrome visuals that are beautifully composed from first shot to last. Possibly the most memorable character in the film is the elephant, a mass of animated rubber from which eyes stare grotesquely. The demise of this creature is both pathetic and noble.

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