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Merry Christmas Mr. Lawrence (1983)

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During WWII, a British colonel tries to bridge the cultural divides between a British POW and the Japanese camp commander in order to avoid bloodshed.

Director:

Nagisa Ôshima

Writers:

Laurens van der Post (novel), Nagisa Ôshima (screenplay) | 1 more credit »
Reviews
Won 1 BAFTA Film Award. Another 8 wins & 7 nominations. See more awards »

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Cast

Cast overview, first billed only:
David Bowie ... Celliers
Tom Conti ... Lawrence
Ryuichi Sakamoto ... Yonoi (as Ryûichi Sakamoto)
Takeshi Kitano ... Hara (as Takeshi)
Jack Thompson ... Hicksley
Johnny Ohkura Johnny Ohkura ... Kanemoto
Alistair Browning ... De Jong
James Malcolm James Malcolm ... Celliers' Brother
Chris Broun Chris Broun ... Celliers 12 Years
Yûya Uchida Yûya Uchida ... Commandant of Military Prison
Ryûnosuke Kaneda ... President of the Court
Takashi Naitô Takashi Naitô ... Lieutenant Iwata
Tamio Ishikura Tamio Ishikura ... Prosecutor
Rokkô Toura Rokkô Toura ... Interpreter
Kan Mikami Kan Mikami ... Lieutenant Ito
Edit

Storyline

In 1942 British soldier Jack Celliers comes to a Japanese prison camp. The camp is run by Yonoi, who has a firm belief in discipline, honor and glory. In his view, the allied prisoners are cowards when they chose to surrender instead of committing suicide. One of the prisoners, interpreter John Lawrence, tries to explain the Japanese way of thinking, but is considered a traitor. Written by Mattias Thuresson

Plot Summary | Add Synopsis

Taglines:

Java, 1942 - A clash of cultures, a test of the human spirit.

Genres:

Drama | War

Certificate:

R | See all certifications »

Parents Guide:

View content advisory »
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Details

Country:

UK | New Zealand | Japan

Language:

English | Japanese

Release Date:

2 September 1983 (USA) See more »

Also Known As:

Furyo See more »

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Box Office

Opening Weekend USA:

$99,221, 28 August 1983

Gross USA:

$2,306,560

Cumulative Worldwide Gross:

$2,306,560
See more on IMDbPro »

Company Credits

Show more on IMDbPro »

Technical Specs

Runtime:

Sound Mix:

Dolby

Color:

Color (Eastmancolor)

Aspect Ratio:

1.85 : 1
See full technical specs »
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Did You Know?

Trivia

Acting debut of Tiriamate Ruatapu See more »

Goofs

In the final scene in the prison cell, the cross belt of Lt Col Lawrence's Sam Browne is fitted back to front. See more »

Quotes

[first lines]
Sgt. Gengo Hara: [in Japanese] Wake up, Lawrence.
Colonel Lawrence: [in Japanese] What is it? Why so early, Sergeant Hara?
Sgt. Gengo Hara: [in Japanese] Hurry up!
Group Capt. Hicksley: What does he want?
Colonel Lawrence: [in English] I'll find out?
Sgt. Gengo Hara: [in Japanese] What?
Group Capt. Hicksley: You don't have to take orders from this man, you know, Lawrence.
Colonel Lawrence: Well, I'm the liaison officer, so I'm liaising.
Sgt. Gengo Hara: [in Japanese] What did he say?
[...]
See more »

Connections

Referenced in World Championship Snooker: 2015: Day 14, Part 3 (2015) See more »

Soundtracks

Rock of Ages
(uncredited)
Lyrics by Augustus Montague Toplady and music by Thomas Hastings
Sung by the prisoners
See more »

Frequently Asked Questions

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User Reviews

 
The Difference of Western and Japanese Cultures
12 January 2016 | by claudio_carvalhoSee all my reviews

In 1942, in Java, the British Major Jack 'Strafer' Celliers (David Bowie) arrives in the Japanese POW camp and is submitted to a Japanese court to examine his surrender. He explains that the Japanese soldiers would murder the local villagers and he decided to surrender to avoid the massacre. The camp commander Captain Yonoi (Ryûichi Sakamoto) feels a sort of fascination for Jack and sends him to the infirmary to be treated. The liaison of the prisoners with Yonoi and Sergeant Gengo Hara (Takeshi Kitano), Colonel John Lawrence (Tom Conti), has lived in Japan for many years and can understand both cultures and their leader is Captain Hicksley (Jack Thompson). When the rebel Jack leaves the infirmary, he challenges Yonoi, who is a man that follows the principles of honor and discipline. Yonoi believes that Jack is possessed by demons and their confrontation will lead the British to a tragic end.

Yesterday my homage to David Bowie was watching again maybe for the fourth or fifth time one of his best films. "Merry Christmas Mr. Lawrence" is certainly one of the best anti-war films ever made. The beginning with the music of Ryuichi Sakamoto indicates how classy it is. This film has not lost the impact along the years and it is impressive how the difference of Western and Japanese cultures is depicted through the British Jack 'Strafer' Celliers and the Japanese Yonoi. In between there is John Lawrence, a man who can understand both sides based on his life experience. Psychology explains that in areas involving control, such as dominance, people tend to pair up with their opposites. Therefore the sick discussion about homosexuality of Yonoi and Jack is ridiculous. My vote is eight.

Title (Brazil): "Furyo, Em Nome da Honra" ("Furyo, In Name of the Honor")


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