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Ikiru (1952)

Not Rated | | Drama | 25 March 1956 (USA)
A bureaucrat tries to find a meaning in his life after he discovers he has terminal cancer.

Director:

Akira Kurosawa
Reviews

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Top Rated Movies #126 | Nominated for 1 BAFTA Film Award. Another 5 wins & 1 nomination. See more awards »

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Cast

Cast overview, first billed only:
Takashi Shimura ... Kanji Watanabe
Shin'ichi Himori ... Kimura
Haruo Tanaka Haruo Tanaka ... Sakai
Minoru Chiaki ... Noguchi
Miki Odagiri ... Toyo Odagiri, employee
Bokuzen Hidari ... Ohara
Minosuke Yamada Minosuke Yamada ... Subordinate Clerk Saito
Kamatari Fujiwara ... Sub-Section Chief Ono
Makoto Kobori Makoto Kobori ... Kiichi Watanabe, Kanji's Brother
Nobuo Kaneko ... Mitsuo Watanabe, Kanji's son
Nobuo Nakamura ... Deputy Mayor
Atsushi Watanabe Atsushi Watanabe ... Patient
Isao Kimura Isao Kimura ... Intern
Masao Shimizu Masao Shimizu ... Doctor
Yûnosuke Itô Yûnosuke Itô ... Novelist
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Storyline

Kanji Watanabe is a civil servant. He has worked in the same department for 30 years. His life is pretty boring and monotonous, though he once used to have passion and drive. Then one day he discovers that he has stomach cancer and has less than a year to live. After the initial depression he sets about living for the first time in over 20 years. Then he realises that his limited time left is not just for living life to the full but to leave something meaningful behind... Written by grantss

Plot Summary | Add Synopsis

Taglines:

Frivolous human beings who only contemplate the meaning of life when suddenly faced with death. See more »

Genres:

Drama

Certificate:

Not Rated | See all certifications »

Parents Guide:

View content advisory »
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Details

Country:

Japan

Language:

Japanese

Release Date:

25 March 1956 (USA) See more »

Also Known As:

Ikiru See more »

Filming Locations:

Japan

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Box Office

Opening Weekend USA:

$7,590, 5 January 2003, Limited Release

Gross USA:

$60,239, 31 December 2003
See more on IMDbPro »

Company Credits

Production Co:

Toho Company See more »
Show more on IMDbPro »

Technical Specs

Runtime:

| (cut)

Sound Mix:

Mono

Aspect Ratio:

1.37 : 1
See full technical specs »
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Did You Know?

Trivia

This film is part of the Criterion Collection, spine #221. See more »

Goofs

In the last scene with Toyo (in the restaurant with the birthday party going on), the position of the bell on the mechanical bunny changes, even though neither actor has touched the bunny. See more »

Quotes

Novelist: Come on. Let's go reclaim the life you've wasted. Tonight it will be my pleasure to act as your Mephistopheles, but a beneficent one who won't ask for your soul.
See more »


Soundtracks

Bibbidi-Bobbidi-Boo
(uncredited)
Written by Al Hoffman, Mack David, and Jerry Livingston
Performed by Dinah Shore
Heard in the background immediately after Watanabe and Kimura leave the striptease show
See more »

Frequently Asked Questions

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User Reviews

 
"Only when he learned he would die did he start to live!"
11 January 2003 | by OttoVonBSee all my reviews

Ikiru ("to live")is a Kurosawa film devoid of samurai or Toshiro Mifune. It is an oddity in his canon, neither an adaptation, nor an epic, or even a detective story. Instead, it is the simple and touching story of the last months of the life of a man, Watanabbe, public official, who decides to give a meaning to his life by transcending the obtuse and stiff mind of government bureaucracy to get a small public children's park built. As a parable for the soulless workings of modern bureaucracy, the goal is set pretty high, and Kurosawa goes even further, giving this story a lot of character, frequent humor, life and, most of all, heart. And going beyond the strengths of the direction and script, is the central performance by Takashi Shimura (later Kambei in Seven Samurai). Shimura gives his character such a transparently good heart and such great pain that every second of Watanabe's plight and struggle tugs at your heart, not in an overwhelmingly sentimental manner, but in one than feels honest and pure. If even many hardened souls will be drawn to tears, it is not for pity, but, admirably, because of envy for Watanabe's beautiful human dignity in the end, and for a film to have such power is beyond pure accomplishment, as the need to see this and, more importantly, feel it, goes beyond pure necessity...


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