A bureaucrat tries to find a meaning in his life after he discovers he has terminal cancer.

Director:

Akira Kurosawa
Reviews
Top Rated Movies #103 | 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 ... 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 ... Doctor
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 | Plot Synopsis

Taglines:

A big story of a little man which will grip your soul... See more »

Genres:

Drama

Certificate:

Not Rated | See all certifications »

Parents Guide:

View content advisory »
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Did You Know?

Trivia

This film has a 100% rating on Rotten Tomatoes. 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

Doctor: What would you do if you only had six months left to live?
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Connections

Referenced in American Beauty (1999) See more »

Soundtracks

J'ai Deux Amours
Music by Vincent Scotto
Lyrics by Georges Koger and Henri Varna
Performed by Josephine Baker
When entering in the bar with the long-faced man
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User Reviews

 
The most moving and human film I have ever seen.
21 October 2002 | by will_butlerSee all my reviews

I can safely say that I have seen no finer film than Kurosawa's true masterpiece, Ikiru. The story of a dying petty bureaucrat in 1950's Japan, Ikiru is as uncompromisingly honest and beautiful a film as has ever been made on the subject of life. Kurosawa elevates a story that could have been simple melodrama to the level of masterwork with a genuine love of his characters, and with an incredible technical direction. The film's structure accentuates and deepens its many, many lessons on life, and the performances, including a heartbreakingly earnest turn by Shimura are all flawless.

In short, Ikiru is easily one of the greatest works committed to film, and no discerning film aficionado should avoid experiencing it. Had Kurosawa directed only this film, it would still be enough to include him in the pantheon of the greatest storytellers who ever lived. Fortunately for us, it is simply the pinnacle of a staggeringly amazing career. It is the absolute definition of a 10/10 film.


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Frequently Asked Questions

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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:

$2,149, 29 December 2002

Gross USA:

$60,239

Cumulative Worldwide Gross:

$96,302
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Company Credits

Production Co:

Toho Company See more »
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Technical Specs

Runtime:

| (cut)

Sound Mix:

Mono

Aspect Ratio:

1.37 : 1
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