Criterion Channel Kanopy
Fires on the Plain

Fires on the Plain

1h 48m
Your probable score
Avg Percentile 77.28% from 343 total ratings

Ratings & Reviews

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Rated 17 Nov 2008
A lot of movies claim that war is hell, but this one really makes you believe it.
Rated 07 Jun 2008
Essentially a prestige horror flick set in the last days of World War II. If anything, Ichikawa underplays his hand; his concept here could've resulted in something much more Grand Guignol, if not completely camp, but it's no less original.
Rated 24 Jan 2007
A bleak and depressing, and intriguingly stylized, look at war and survival. Riveting and bold, peppered occasionally with twisted moments of very black humor
Rated 16 Jul 2013
I see and love a lot of horror movies, and I often revel in the grotesque and depraved. But this film will give me nightmares. Some individual scenes - the sick crawling out of a firebombed hospital; a procession of soldiers nonchalantly accepting enemy fire - frame a narrative meant to destroy the barriers between insects and humans, the dead and the living. This makes it not a traditional purgatory or hell, but something infinitely more frightening.
Rated 07 Jan 2008
No other national cinema dwells at such length on postwar defeat as Japan, but Ichikawa's masterpiece rises above the din. In this film's depiction of a ruined social order, physical and psychological deterioration, a survival-of-the-fittest existence where the emaciated slog through an amoral purgatory, reduced literally to base instinct and a craving for flesh, Fires on the Plain preconceives modern zombie fiction with an uncanny clairvoyance. War, truer than any virus, turns men to monsters.
Rated 09 Feb 2007
Fires on the Plain is painful to watch. Blood, mud, dead bodies, starvation, insanity, hopelessness, cruelty, and, of course, cannibalism, make this movie a hard pill to swallow. It may not be fun or entertaining, but it's still somehow satisfying to have seen it. Fires on the Plain is the sort of movie that feels like it has to be seen.
Rated 23 Oct 2008
Fires on the Plains is not a pleasure to watch, and not in a bad way. The punishing, riveting scenes of war are drowned out by bleak and outstanding images of the battlefield. While the photography is definetly the highlight, it's also followed up by a close second and third for a noble lead character, and intriguing premise.
Rated 08 Feb 2011
Similar in form and scope to Come and See, but better.
Rated 15 Feb 2008
With unbelievably haunting cinematography, a gripping story, and a charming lead character, Fires on the Plain stands as one of the best war dramas I've ever seen. A slow start may make it hard to get in to at first, but as you start seeing the turmoil these soldiers are put through it's hard not to be emotionally floored by some of the gruesome scenes. It's truly riveting and is, without a doubt, one of the most disturbing movies you could possibly find anywhere. A masterpiece.
Rated 10 Dec 2018
Ichikawa's relentlessly pessimistic filmmaking is elevated by some seemingly contradictory gorgeous photography.
Rated 23 Jul 2010
Horrific imagery appropriately tempered by Ichikawa's style. Very little violence is actually shown, instead the film focuses on the aftermath, dead bodies, confusion, starvation, desperation, etc. At times this feels a bit too detached but for the most part it's effective in creating a horrified but numbing effect and it gets the point across that war is hell.
Rated 20 Jan 2012
Basically a series of bleak, ugly, bloody vignettes of awful wartime brutality. Unfortunately, after about a half an hour I stopped caring. The narrative is incredibly meandery and runs out of steam very quickly, the characters are basically non-existent, and the visual style is compelling at times, but usually pretty standard. I liked it more than The Burmese Harp, but I wasn't really taken with it overall.
Rated 26 May 2019
The is a grim and stark film filled with amazing cinematography and editing. While the movie is pretty amazing and succeeds in what it was trying to do I didn't enjoy watching it as I felt like I needed a break from it about halfway through.
Rated 16 Aug 2011
Visceral to the bone.
Rated 28 Nov 2022
Very effective, horrifying depiction of the capacity for human beings to slide into inhumanity, and the difficulty of the struggle against that possibility, amounting to a ritual of suffering, that is, to a passion. Very well made, but hardly enjoyable.
Rated 28 Mar 2012
Pretty much as good as any anti-war movie that I've seen. It has a unique apocalyptic atmosphere, and it is completely dedicated to depicting war as 100% evil.
Rated 12 Nov 2022
It's hard not to compare this with Ichikawa's earlier Burmese Harp, both showing the devastation of war on a visceral level. Harp had a bit more of a storyline; Fires almost seems a series of disconnected horrific images that just keep coming. Interestingly, there's a bit of surrealism in this neo-realistic film, and some moments of very dark humor, but those still won't wash out the feelings of despair that will linger long after you've watched it.
Rated 24 Nov 2015
Wish they wouldn't have waited with establishing the majority of the characterization of the lead until halfway into the film, because without it there wasn't much to resonate the vignettes of horror of the first half with. Though, expection must be made for the rant in the very beginning.
Rated 09 Mar 2024
An entirely grisly affair
Rated 04 Nov 2019
Estreava há 60 anos no Japão. Esse vai direto para minha lista de revisões porque eu não estava mentalmente bem ao assisti-lo, você simplesmente não assiste um filme cheio de alusões a canibalismo quando se está em meio a uma crise de ansiedade paranoica de que alguém roubou o seu gato para fazer churrasco. BlurayRip no MakingOff.
Rated 14 Aug 2012
This could've been a lot better without its annoying soundtrack often pestering its images which are usually excellent in their own right. Sometimes the literary work that it is based on shines through a tad too much and the film starts to become more of a mere illustration. A bit detached but the stylized outlook on war looks great, the story may not be as heart wrenching as it wishes to be but it's still good.
Rated 15 Jun 2008
a bloody underrestimated masterpiece
Rated 06 Jan 2014
Bir bireyin savaşın orta yerinde, ordan oraya şuursuzca savruluşunu ustaca anlatıyor. Savaşın yarattığı ruhsal ve fiziksel deformasyonu birbirinden ayırmadan, bir bütün olarak bu kadar güçlü bir şekilde betimleyebilen başka bir film var mı, emin değilim. Katıksız başyapıt.
Rated 31 Jul 2011
2.dunya savasi sirasinda filipinler'de savasan japon ordusunun sonu gelmek uzeredir. bu sirada verem olan er tamura curuge ayrilinca bir cesit alice harikalar diyarini yasar. tabii savas zamani ne kadar harika olabilirse. epey cesur bir antimilitarist film.
Rated 23 Apr 2022
good movie
Rated 16 Jan 2010
Rated 27 Jan 2013
Overpraised. Still good though!
Rated 09 Oct 2007
Interesting as a series of well-shot, disturbing and bleak images, but I thought the narrative was weak and the film lags in places. It's an odd thing, after watching the film for five minutes or so I could pull all these interesting ideas out of it, but longer than that and I lose interest; whereas other, "image driven" (as opposed to "plot driven") films, such as 2001 or Stalker, have sustained my interest. I think the "war is hell" motif is no longer as provocative as it was for me.


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