7.3/10
13,736
75 user 78 critic

Merry Christmas Mr. Lawrence (1983)

Trailer
3:17 | Trailer
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:

Merry Christmas Mr. Lawrence 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

First English language movie directed by Nagisa Ôshima. 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 »


Soundtracks

The Lord's My Shepherd
(uncredited)
Tune "Crimond", written by 'Jessie Seymour Irvine'
Sung by the prisoners
See more »

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User Reviews

Apocolypse Now plus subtlety
23 July 2003 | by vivconSee all my reviews

I have to applaud and second the reviewer who gives this film 10/10 and who thinks the current 6.9 average must be a result of many people not watching to the end. I think it's the result of many viewers not appreciating the art, subtlety, and deeply UNnationalistic message. In a country rife with jingoism, the message that no one is "right" when waging war (and especially commiting atrocity)will not be especially popular. After living three years in Japan, I can understand how American (and indeed Western)independence and confidence can be perceived as(and even sometimes are)arrogance and ethonocentricity.

The movie looks at what it means to be human and afraid. It examines how shame and cowardice haunt most men of noble heart. It reveals our commonalities to be undeniably more powerful and real than our transitory differences. It shows how truly stupid man must be to perpetuate the horrors of warfare and to mar his soul by using power to hurt others.

It's a 10/10 in my book, but realistically speaking, if most people agreed, well, there wouldn't be any grist for this mill.


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