21 user 33 critic

Pisutoru opera (2001)

Not Rated | | Crime, Action, Drama | 27 October 2001 (Japan)
The No. 3 assassin of Japan is given the chance to usurp No. 1 and take their place.



(as Kazunori Itoh),

On Disc

at Amazon

1 win. See more awards »
Learn more

People who liked this also liked... 

Action | Crime | Mystery
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.6/10 X  

A violent thug plays opposing yakuza bosses against each other.

Director: Seijun Suzuki
Stars: Jô Shishido, Misako Watanabe, Tamio Kawaji
Comedy | Fantasy | Musical
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 6.8/10 X  

Amechiyo (The banished prince) falls in love with Tanukihime (a princess of raccoon dog disguised to human). This is an Operetta which includes comedy, singing and dancing, and a love story.

Director: Seijun Suzuki
Stars: Ziyi Zhang, Joe Odagiri, Hiroko Yakushimaru
Horror | Mystery
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.2/10 X  

A surreal period film following an university professor and his eerie nomad friend as they go through loose romantic triangles and face death in peculiar ways.

Director: Seijun Suzuki
Stars: Yoshio Harada, Naoko Ôtani, Kisako Makishi
Yumeji (1991)
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.2/10 X  

Painter and poet Yumeji Takehisa (1884-1934) gets involved with a beautiful widow, becoming a rival of her dead husband's ghost and the jealous lover who murdered him.

Director: Seijun Suzuki
Stars: Kenji Sawada, Tomoko Mariya, Masumi Miyazaki
Action | Crime | Drama
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.4/10 X  

After a badly done assignment, a hitman finds himself in conflict with his organisation, and one mysterious and dangerous fellow-hitman in particular.

Director: Seijun Suzuki
Stars: Jô Shishido, Mariko Ogawa, Annu Mari
Tokyo Drifter (1966)
Action | Crime | Drama
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.3/10 X  

After his gang disbands, a yakuza enforcer looks forward to life outside of organized crime but soon must become a drifter after his old rivals attempt to assassinate him.

Director: Seijun Suzuki
Stars: Tetsuya Watari, Chieko Matsubara, Tamio Kawaji
Fantasy | Romance | Thriller
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.2/10 X  

A 1920s playwright meets a beautiful woman who may be the ghost of his patron's deceased wife.

Director: Seijun Suzuki
Stars: Yûsaku Matsuda, Michiyo Ohkusu, Mariko Kaga
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.6/10 X  

An injured thief on the run finds sanctuary within a brothel of united, ruthless women.

Director: Seijun Suzuki
Stars: Jô Shishido, Kôji Wada, Yumiko Nogawa
Kenka erejî (1966)
Action | Comedy | Drama
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.3/10 X  

In Okayama in the mid-1930s, Kiroku attends high school and boards with a Catholic family whose daughter, Michiko, captures his heart. He must, however, hide his ardor and other aspects of ... See full summary »

Director: Seijun Suzuki
Stars: Hideki Takahashi, Junko Asano, Yûsuke Kawazu
Tattooed Life (1965)
Crime | Drama
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.3/10 X  

After his own gang sets him up to kill a rival mobster, a hit man is forced to flee with his younger brother.

Director: Seijun Suzuki
Stars: Hideki Takahashi, Masako Izumi, Akira Yamauchi
Drama | War
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.4/10 X  

In WW2 Manchuria, a prostitute grows to resent an abusive adjutant and falls in love with his aide.

Director: Seijun Suzuki
Stars: Tamio Kawaji, Yumiko Nogawa, Isao Tamagawa
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 6.7/10 X  

A female golfer who has exceeded expectations to reach the top not only has to contend with being in-demand, but also with the men in her life, her neigbours, her brother and not to mention a stalker.

Director: Seijun Suzuki
Stars: Kyôko Enami, Yoshio Harada, Masumi Okada


Credited cast:
Sayoko Yamaguchi ...
Hanae Kan ...
Sayoko Uekyo
Kenji Sawada ...
Man at Tokyo Station
Haruko Katô ...
Shizuka Orikuchi
Tomio Aoki
Yôji Tanaka ...
Koroshi-ya No. 7
Rest of cast listed alphabetically:
Yoshiyuki Morishita ...
Killer no.9
Kensaku Watanabe ...
(as Sakutarô Inui)
Jan Woudstra ...
Painless Surgeon


Did you know that there is a ranking of the best assassins of Japan? In the spirit of 1967's Branded To Kill, also by director Suzuki Seijun, comes Pistol Opera. The assassin ranked third is out to kill the first and move herself up the ladder of hierarchy. What follows is drama, action, a mysterious visitor, an impolite manhandling of a man in a wheelchair, Japanese costumes, several employment offers, a couch and even a pre-teen girl. Written by aghaemi

Plot Summary | Add Synopsis


Crime | Action | Drama


Not Rated | See all certifications »

Parents Guide:





Release Date:

27 October 2001 (Japan)  »

Also Known As:

Pistol Opera  »


Box Office


$1,500,000 (estimated)
See more on IMDbPro »

Company Credits

Show more on  »

Technical Specs


Sound Mix:


Aspect Ratio:

1.85 : 1
See  »

Did You Know?


As Uekyo speaks into the camera with a Union Jack draped over her, the boom mic drops into the picture for a second or two, then moves up and out of sight. See more »


Miyuki Minazuki: I think it's okay to live my life as a pistol.
See more »


Follows Branded to Kill (1967) See more »

Frequently Asked Questions

This FAQ is empty. Add the first question.

User Reviews

like a painting that's pleasant to look at and makes frustratingly no sense at all
28 May 2009 | by See all my reviews

Seijun Suzuki has made great films, and at least some very good ones. And oddly enough some of those films were done not with a completely free hand. Suzuki had resistance (and even got fired during the editing) with Branded to Kill, his 1967 masterpiece that serves as the sort of inspiration for this *extremely* loose remake/re-telling. But maybe that served him better than here, which is a little like Lynch with Inland Empire: the floodgates are open, and it's high time to just let whatever s***'s inside fly out. Only unlike a Lynchian DV mescaline trip into brain-tubes, this is like a Kabuki fever dream cooked up by the samurai in Lowry's dream scenes in Brazil. It's an artist working without a net and, frankly, without much of a story or close to identifiable actors, either.

If Pistol Opera weren't made by a director who has a sure hand with his craft, if not in his old age a mastery, then it would be just about unwatchable. This is something sad to say as I would have loved to consider Pistol Opera a luxurious expressionist piece, something that is so assured with creating a mood that it doesn't need a firm story. But in this story, whatever there is of it, about a female No. 3 killer (in Branded it was male) who has to face off against the Hundred Eyes killer and the No. 1 killer while fending off the pleas of a little girl who just wants to be a killer too, it needs some kind of focus from time to time. After a few scenes of strange set up where No. 3 faces her "boss" of sorts who wears a mouth mask and talk in abstract dialog, the film just goes off into tangents... and then more of them...

Some of this, perhaps, was meant to be parody, a delirious send-up of both Yakuza thrillers and Kabuki theater, and its shot half on location (there is, in one of the most satisfying and crazy scenes, a chase between No. 3 and a man in a skewed wheelchair along a riverbank), half in studio. But it's not very funny, and its not really all-encompassing as a work of surrealism. I was taken in by its cinematography and sets and a perversely awesome array of colors, and make no mistake there's rarely a frame of the film that doesn't look gorgeous. But there needs to be more than just fantastical camera moves. There's a shoot-out towards the end that not only breaks the 180 degree rule (you know the one if you're familiar with basic camera direction) but gives it a middle finger with a silver bullet right between the face.

But there needs to be something else, something that Branded to Kill and Tokyo Drifter just had instinctively, which is soul, a purpose in its subversion. Too much of Pistol Opera feels like exercise without result, like in those overlong scenes with the woman talking to the camera about God knows what. I expected the unexpected, but I didn't expect to be... bewildered to disappointment.

4 of 6 people found this review helpful.  Was this review helpful to you?
Review this title | See all 21 user reviews »

Contribute to This Page

Best of 2017: Our Favorite Movie and TV Stills

Take a look at our favorite movie and TV stills from the past year. Spot any of your faves?

Browse the Best of 2017