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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.

Director:

Kon Ichikawa

Writers:

Shohei Ooka (novel), Natto Wada
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6 wins. See more awards »

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Cast

Cast overview, first billed only:
Eiji Funakoshi ... Tamura
Osamu Takizawa Osamu Takizawa ... Yasuda
Mickey Curtis Mickey Curtis ... Nagamatsu
Hikaru Hoshi Hikaru Hoshi ... Soldier
Mantarô Ushio 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 Jun Hamamura
Asao Sano Asao Sano ... Soldier
Shin Date Shin Date
Kôichi Itô Kôichi Itô
Kisao Tobita Kisao Tobita
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Storyline

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

Taglines:

Acclaimed by Many as the Greatest War Film Ever Made

Genres:

Drama | War

Certificate:

Not Rated | See all certifications »

Parents Guide:

View content advisory »
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Details

Country:

Japan

Language:

Japanese

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

Show more on IMDbPro »

Technical Specs

Runtime:

Sound Mix:

Mono

Aspect Ratio:

2.35 : 1
See full technical specs »
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Did You Know?

Trivia

In order to achieve maximum authenticity, actors were fed very little, and were not permitted to tend to matters of simple hygiene such as brushing their teeth and cutting their nails. As a precaution against serious deterioration of the actors' health, a number of nurses were always on call on the set. Eiji Funakoshi was never specifically told not to eat. He willingly starved himself to help get him into character. The rest of the cast and crew were unaware of this until he collapsed on-set. Production was shut down for two weeks. See more »

Quotes

Dying Buddhist soldier: [to Tamura as he opens his eyes] What? You still here? Poor guy, when I'm dead, you can eat this.
[He outstretches his arm]
Dying Buddhist soldier: [Disgusted by the thought, Tamura leaves] Come back! You can eat me!
See more »

Connections

Remade as Nobi (2014) See more »

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User Reviews

 
Sympathy for the Devils
29 January 2000 | by mrreindeerSee all my reviews

Every American who thinks he or she understands World War Two should see this movie. Few Hollywood films about the war have defied the stereotype of Japanese soldiers as emotionless brutes obeying orders without thinking. We like to think that every Japanese man was ready and able to fight to the death, right up to the day we bombed Nagasaki. "Fires on the Plain" shows a different reality: troops pathetically undersupplied, demoralized and starved to the point of cannibalism. They euphemistically refer to human flesh as "monkey meat." The movie and novel on which it was based also put to death the myth that Japanese soldiers all preferred death to surrender: They had good reason to believe that their enemies were in no mood to take prisoners. To me it raises a question most Americans would rather avoid: If the Japanese military was so beaten down at this point in the war, why was it necessary to nuke Hiroshima?


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