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The Man Who Stole the Sun (1979)

Taiyô wo nusunda otoko (original title)
A high school science teacher builds an atomic bomb and uses it to extort the nation, but cannot decide what he wants. Meanwhile, a determined cop is catching up to him, as is radiation poisoning.

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(screenplay) (as Renâdo Shureidâ), (screenplay) | 1 more credit »
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8 wins & 7 nominations. See more awards »

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Cast

Credited cast:
Bunta Sugawara ...
Kenji Sawada ...
...
Zero Sawai
Kazuo Kitamura ...
Tanaka, the director of the National Police Agency
Shigeru Kôyama ...
Nakayama
Kei Satô ...
Dr. Ichikawa
Yûnosuke Itô ...
Bus Hijacker
Rest of cast listed alphabetically:
Eimei Esumi ...
Egawa
Hiroshi Gojô ...
Identikit Officer
Tatsuya Hamaguchi
Hajime Hoshi
Junichi Hosokawa
Akinobu Imamura
Yukiko Inoue
Yûdai Ishiyama ...
Detective Ishikawa
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Storyline

A misfit high-school science teacher decides to build his own atomic bomb. He steals isotopes from a nuclear reactor and manages to create two warheads, but at the same time is present at a botched school-bus hijacking and is publicly coronated as a hero. Nevertheless, he uses the bombs to extort the police, first by demanding that baseball games be shown without commercial interruptions and then by having the Rolling Stones play in Japan despite their drug bust. Soon it's a race to see what wins first: the determined cop who's after him, the bomb he's carrying, or a burgeoning case of radiation poisoning... Written by Serdar Yegulalp

Plot Summary | Add Synopsis

Genres:

Action | Crime | Thriller

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Details

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Release Date:

9 October 1980 (USA)  »

Also Known As:

The Man Who Stole the Sun  »

Company Credits

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Technical Specs

Runtime:

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Aspect Ratio:

1.96 : 1
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Did You Know?

Trivia

At one point when Kenji Sawada is fending off the nuclear plant workers, the sound effects are taken from the video game Space Invaders (1978) which was enjoying massive success in Japan at the time of the movie's release. The movie begins and ends with exactly the same sound: a ticking clock, and then an explosion. See more »

Quotes

[On their way to appease a hostage-taker.]
Yamashita: You're a teacher? What do you teach?
Makoto Kido: Science.
Yamashita: Hm. I don't think science isn't going to help us right now.
See more »

Connections

Referenced in Evangerion shin gekijôban: Ha (2009) See more »

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User Reviews

The Man Who Stole the Sun (1979)
5 December 2015 | by See all my reviews

This is the second and the final film directed by Kazuhiko Hasegawa (excluding a super-obscure pinku film), whose mother was subjected to the Hiroshima radiation while she was pregnant with him. As chance would have it, The Man Who Stole the Sun is a film that deals with nuclear paranoia, its title mirroring the scary idea that practically anyone could make an atomic bomb if determined enough. Some of the footage from the film was cut at government request because the bomb-making instructions were too detailed. The film was co-written by Leonard Schrader (brother of Taxi Driver writer Paul Schrader), who lived in Japan at the time.

The two main characters are polar opposites in terms of their significance in pop-culture. The protagonist is played by Kenji Sawada (aka Julie Sawada), a pop-star and a plain symbol of the new generation, while his rival is played by Bunta Sugiwara, who became famous playing hard-boiled gangsters (one character in this film remarks; "He looks more like a gangster than a cop to me"). Their cat and mouse game makes way for an unpredictable plot, partially set during the actual Communist Party May Day march, where the scenes were mostly shot without permission, and assistant director Kiyoshi Kurosawa (later a famous director of his own) got arrested for throwing fake money off of a building and almost inciting a riot.

Despite its preposterous length, the movie keeps your attention throughout with the help of many tonal shifts. Without pardon it goes from a hostage crisis thriller to a cutesy school drama, action comedy, nuclear thriller, quirky romance with a radio host, experimental lunacy, car chase and finally an epic standoff as a part of an outrageously ballsy and over- the-top finale which makes everything worthwhile in the end. Amazingly strange. I also dig the 70s feel to it, from the soundtrack to the color scheme where everything is seen through pink lens.


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