8.1/10
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50 user 44 critic

The Burmese Harp (1956)

Biruma no tategoto (original title)
Not Rated | | Drama, Music, War | 28 April 1967 (USA)
In the War's closing days, when a conscience-driven Japanese soldier fails to get his countrymen to surrender to overwhelming force, he adopts the lifestyle of a Buddhist monk.

Director:

Kon Ichikawa

Writers:

Michio Takeyama (novel), Natto Wada
Reviews
Nominated for 1 Oscar. Another 4 wins & 2 nominations. See more awards »

Photos

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Cast

Cast overview, first billed only:
Rentarô Mikuni ... Captain Inouye
Shôji Yasui ... Mizushima
Jun Hamamura ... Ito
Taketoshi Naitô Taketoshi Naitô ... Kobayashi (as Takeo Naito)
Shunji Kasuga Shunji Kasuga ... Maki
Kô Nishimura ... Baba (as Akira Nishimura)
Keishichi Nakahara Keishichi Nakahara ... Takagi
Toshiaki Itô Toshiaki Itô ... Hashimoto
Hiroshi Hijikata Hiroshi Hijikata ... Okada
Tomio Aoki ... Oyama
Norikatsu Hanamura Norikatsu Hanamura ... Nakamura
Sanpei Mine Sanpei Mine ... Abe
Takashi Koshiba Takashi Koshiba ... Shimizu
Tomoko Tonai Tomoko Tonai
Tokuhei Miyahara Tokuhei Miyahara ... Nagai
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Storyline

Mizushima is a soldier in the Japanese army in Burma in World War II. He's a good soldier and frequently plays his harp to entertain his fellow soldiers. When the war comes to an end, he is asked by the British to go into the mountains to try and convince a Japanese troop to surrender. Given only 30 minutes to convince them, Mizushima is unsuccessful - they would rather die with honor - and the British attack. Deeply affected by what has happened, he becomes a Buddhist monk, traveling the countryside burying the remains of Japanese soldiers. He is unable however to rejoin his brothers-in-arms. Written by garykmcd

Plot Summary | Add Synopsis

Genres:

Drama | Music | War

Certificate:

Not Rated | See all certifications »
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Did You Know?

Trivia

The film was originally slated to shoot in three-strip color, but director Kon Ichikawa worried that the huge camera might break down on location and he would not be able to have it fixed, so he shot in black-and-white. See more »

Goofs

The 'British' officer in charge of the funerary cremation repository speaks with a decidedly Australian, not British, accent. See more »

Quotes

Mizushima: [to his parrot] Let's return to Japan together.
See more »

Connections

Spoofed in Tampopo (1985) See more »

Soundtracks

Ryoshu
("Dreaming of Home and Mother")
Written by John Pond Ordway
See more »

User Reviews

 
a movie to carry with you
9 July 2005 | by jason-167See all my reviews

Living in Thailand at the age of 10, I saw this movie broadcast on TV. Thirty years later I still think of it. And eventually I became a dharma student. Coincidence? I think not! Such is the awesome impact of this movie. More than an important anti-war film, it can really bring out some seldom expressed feelings - not because of carefully crafted scenarios which bring moral indignation against war, confusion or cruelty, but instead showing a more natural horror of war's results. After watching the film for the third time, I still feel a deep visceral pang when Mizushima covers his face and runs past yet another mountain of rotting bodies he finds on the shores of the river.

What's really sad is that you can't get the movie on DVD!


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Frequently Asked Questions

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Details

Country:

Japan

Language:

Japanese | English | Burmese

Release Date:

28 April 1967 (USA) See more »

Also Known As:

The Burmese Harp See more »

Filming Locations:

Burma See more »

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Box Office

Cumulative Worldwide Gross:

$13,748
See more on IMDbPro »

Company Credits

Production Co:

Nikkatsu See more »
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Technical Specs

Runtime:

| (part one) | (part two)

Sound Mix:

Mono

Aspect Ratio:

1.33 : 1
See full technical specs »

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