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Fires on the Plain (1959)

Nobi (original title)
Not Rated | | Drama, War | 3 November 1959 (Japan)
In the closing days of WWII remnants of the Japanese army in Leyte are abandoned by their command and face certain starvation.


Kon Ichikawa


Shohei Ooka (novel), Natto Wada
7 wins & 1 nomination. See more awards »




Cast overview, first billed only:
Eiji Funakoshi ... Tamura
Osamu Takizawa ... Yasuda
Mickey Curtis Mickey Curtis ... Nagamatsu
Hikaru Hoshi Hikaru Hoshi ... Soldier
Mantarô Ushio ... Sergeant
Masaya Tsukida Masaya Tsukida ... Soldier
Yasushi Sugita Yasushi Sugita ... Soldier
Yoshihiro Hamaguchi Yoshihiro Hamaguchi ... Officer
Tatsuya Ishiguro
Yoshio Inaba Yoshio Inaba
Jun Hamamura
Asao Sano Asao Sano ... Soldier
Shin Date Shin Date
Kôichi Itô Kôichi Itô
Kisao Tobita Kisao Tobita


It is the Philipines, 1945. The Japanese Imperial Army has been reduced to a ragtag mob hiding in the jungles. Among them is Pvt. Tamura. The situation goes from bad to worse and in the face of the brutal conditions facing the men, some go insane and resort to murder and cannibalism. In the midst of this, Pvt. Tamura tries to survive without giving up his principles. Written by Eugene Ly <euge.ly@utoronto.ca>

Plot Summary | Add Synopsis


Acclaimed by Many as the Greatest War Film Ever Made


Drama | War


Not Rated | See all certifications »

Parents Guide:

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Did You Know?


Official submission of Japan for the 'Best Foreign Language Film' category of the 32nd Academy Awards in 1960. See more »


Tamura: [to soldier who suddenly has stopped moving] Hey, are you dead?
See more »


Remade as Fires on the Plain (2014) See more »

User Reviews

A good description of a good movie
22 April 2003 | by zorbathegeekSee all my reviews

This is probably one of the best examples of that film genre known as the anti-war movie. It is a story about a group a Japanese soldiers in the last days of the second world war,weakened,demoralized,and starving. The situation deteriorates even further when one of them resorts to cannibalism in an attempt to ward off hunger. As they shuffle their way through the jungle one notices their shabby appearance with their feet sticking out of their boots and a sense of resignation or futility about them. It has even an element of the absurd about it in one of the scenes when one of the soldiers pleads to a comrade to eat him. This portrayal of them appeals to one's sense of pity or sympathy regardless of what cause or nation they're fighting for. For their situation could be anyone's unfortunate fate if circumstances were unfavorable. If there is one thing this film can show or get across is that our sense of humanity or what makes us feel civilized, is but a thin veneer or facade that in the right or wrong situation can vanish. The stark truth as depicted in this movie is that we are only always a few steps away from returning to the jungle if given the chance. This reminds me of another movie"Lord Of The Flies" which was about a group of English schoolboys stranded on an island after a plane crash. After awhile they descend or regress into a bunch of jungle savages or barbarians losing whatever decorum or civilization they possessed.

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Release Date:

3 November 1959 (Japan) See more »

Also Known As:

Fires on the Plain See more »

Filming Locations:

Gotemba, Shizuoka, Japan See more »

Company Credits

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Technical Specs


Sound Mix:

Mono (Westrex Recording System)

Aspect Ratio:

2.35 : 1
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