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Ikiru
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Ikiru

1952
Drama
2h 23m
Your probable score
Avg Percentile 80.33% from 2526 total ratings

Ratings & Reviews

(2526)
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Rated 04 Mar 2007
2
21st
Ikiru is elegantly filmed and with a few beautiful passages, but in the argument that Kurosawa was a didactic and maudlin moralist, this film does the director no favors. I feel it is overrated.
Rated 09 Jan 2009
94
97th
Beautiful and touching (also wryly humorous) film from Kurosawa at his most intimate. The amazing performance by Takashi Shimura powers this film. His measured delivery leaves the viewer hanging on every word and studying his face looking for hope. Kurosawa portions out his story too and mixes in some serenely beautiful scenes leading towards the conclusion.
Rated 22 Nov 2009
10
97th
A film that failed to resonate with me when I watched the first 40 minutes a couple of days ago, but I'm happy I gave it another go. Shimura is flawless as the helpless and in the end helpful Watanabe, a man who's completely worn down but decides to give his life some meaning when faced with misfortune. This film feels like a warm blanket, you just wanna wrap yourself in it. Heartbreaking and heartwarming, this is one of Kurosawa's best. Hope you give it a chance, or a 2nd one like I have.
Rated 03 Aug 2007
97
99th
Possibly Kurosawa's best, which is saying a lot. The narration seems a little silly at first, but it works well in connecting the different parts of the film. Shimura's acting is perfect as he conveys pretty much every emotion you can think of throughout the film. The title translates to "to live" and it really sums up the movie well. It's about what it means to live, how we go about our daily lives and what the whole point of it all is.
Rated 14 Aug 2007
98
99th
Though not belonging to Kurosawa's collection of better known samurai epics, Ikiru should not be missed. Nobody quite embodies conflict like Shimura's character is able to, and the binaries present in this film are particularly fascinating (the contrasts in atmospheres, characters, and even film structure). Despite some complaints that exist regarding the pacing at the end of the film (which I can forgive, since it allows the viewer to reminisce with the bureaucrats), it's a perfect film.
Rated 04 Feb 2007
95
94th
Kurosawa's most emotionally complex and satisfying film for sure. Shimura gives the best performance of his career and Kurosawa delivers some of his most beautiful visual work. My one big problem with Ikiru that still isn't a very big problem is that having the final part of the movie be told by the bureaucrats talking to each other at the wake wasn't the best narrative choice.
Rated 30 May 2017
95
96th
Takashi Shimura's face displays emotions you were not even aware of.
Rated 12 Jan 2008
89
83rd
Though Ikiru isn't the emotional powerhouse I would have thought, it's so well acted and directed that it's hard not to love the movie. Kurosawa is masterful in the mood he sets and the direction of his actors, yet at the same time the story in and of itself seems less than completely effective, but it's hard to really pinpoint the problem. Overall, Ikiru is easy to recommend. It's a great effort, and clearly Kurosawa's most inward and human film, making it one of his best by any standard.
Rated 26 Aug 2009
94
95th
One of Kurosawa's best. Kanji Watanabe is an absolutely fantastic character, and Takashi Shimura's portrayal is one of the best performances I have seen. Ikiru is a rollercoaster ride, it throws you many different emotion ranging from a cancer stricken Watanabe, to binge drinking party animal. I felt emotionally overwhelmed at times, and made me really think twice about my own life. A Powerful film.
Rated 26 Jun 2017
60
62nd
What it shows about the state of Japanese culture and society so soon after the end of the war is interesting to observe, and some of the themes with which it is concerned had perhaps not been addressed cinematically prior to this. Nevertheless, although the film is certainly not without subtleties, these tend to be drowned out by the unsubtleties, so to speak.
Rated 09 Feb 2007
4
70th
Very emotionally satisfying. This is not a depressing film; it's the uplifting tale of a man finding purpose through the knowledge of his own mortality. Though it's quite somber upon the discovery of his impeding death, he gradually finds happiness, and it's a warm, touching experience. The narrative structure of the closing sequence wasn't an inspired choice, but it doesn't detract much from the quality of the tale.
Rated 09 Jul 2008
9
96th
'...the real heart of the movie, in the way one man's effort to do the right thing can inspire, or confuse, or anger, or frustrate, those who see it only from the outside, through the lens of their own unexamined lives. We who have followed Watanabe on his last journey are now brought forcibly back to the land of the living, to cynicism and gossip.' I couldn't have said it better myself, Mr. Ebert.
Rated 18 May 2010
9
93rd
Both incredibly depressing and uplifting at the same time. Shumura's performance is incredible, the fact that he never blinks is amazing. A lot of memorable moments, I especially enjoyed the scene with the Yakuza mob boss. Could be my favorite Kurosawa film.
Rated 19 May 2010
85
97th
One of the few films that has actually made me cry in years. This film has such a rollercoaster ride of emotions.
Rated 14 Aug 2007
90
99th
Simply amazing film from a true master of the art Akira Kurosawa.In the list of best directors ever he's not far from the top if not there.A must see for film fans.
Rated 30 Aug 2008
98
93rd
An emotional rollercoaster powerhouse classic from Kurowasa!
Rated 12 Dec 2009
100
99th
Masterful film from Kurosawa with an inspired performance from Shimura. Kurosawa's visual sensibilities continue to mature after this film, but he never made a more emotionally gripping film than Ikiru. It's exquisitely structured in its narrative, the sound design adds markedly to the film, and its themes resonate deeply from the minor (government ineptness) to the major (life and death).
Rated 10 May 2014
5
42nd
Ikiru feels like a strange mix of Russian Literature and Frank Capra, and for whatever reason it didn't quite work for me.
Rated 27 Mar 2010
90
92nd
The first two acts pretty much serve as a blueprint for modern cinematic tragedy. By blueprint, I mean they've been ripped off with reckless abandon. I can't count how many times "he only learned to live when he found out he was dying" has been used. It's good here, though. But the final third, which is set at the protagonist's wake, completely makes this film something different, special and unexpectedly political. I LOVED how brutally honest the ending was. Guy died, no one changes. The End.
Rated 18 Feb 2018
90
93rd
Life is short and city hall sucks. But semi-joking aside, this masterpiece is a bitter-sweet film that reminds us of our mortality, moves us to want to spend our lives more meaningfully, but recognizes that we, too, will likely forget our pledges when we go back to the work of life. I did find it a bit long, and Watanabe's hang-dog expressions a bit over-used, but I'm sure it's my enculturated attention span. This is a beautiful movie in every sense.
Rated 14 Aug 2007
96
98th
How a movie made in 1952 Japan translates so well to 2000 America is beyond me. GENIUS!
Rated 14 Aug 2007
91
95th
It's a shame that this film is so strongly associated with just one scene. There are so many great scenes to behold. The film also seems to be rarely remembered for its cinematography, which is quite phenomenal. I don't care for the unnecessary narration, but it's easy to forgive. But one thing that does bug me is Shimura's performance. "Overacting" is a different animal when it comes to Japanese cinema, but Shimura really overplays it. Nonetheless, I do think it's some masterful filmmaking.
Rated 09 Nov 2011
75
67th
edebiyatta bolca islenen bilmem kacinci dereceden memurlarin kibiri, ahmakliklari, bos islerle ugrasmalari taslamasiyla baslayan film, sonrasinda olecegini ogrenen bu zombilerden birinin hayatina anlam katma cabasiyla yeniden dogusunu dramatik bir yapiyla sunuyor. finaline uzun bir yoldan vardiginda, yonetmen bu donusumun bireysel yonunu cizerek toplumsal kismi icin herkese olum tarihini vermek mi lazima getiryor mevzuyu. japonlara tavsiyem tutsulenmis ve salamura yiyecekleri azaltmalari
Rated 26 May 2008
97
98th
Beautiful in every way.
Rated 10 May 2011
70
57th
"Ikiru" has aged poorly. It's been ripped off so many times that it seems tired today. It also suffers from trying too hard to get across its admittedly noble message, unjustifiably slow pacing and a genuinely odd final quarter. However, there are admirable elements in abundance: Shimura's impressive performance, Kurosawa's sharp camerawork, seminal observations on bureaucracy and death and the sheer emotional power of watching Watanabe sing on that swing. Worth your time, for that scene alone.
Rated 22 Sep 2010
92
93rd
One of the saddest movies I've ever seen. Incredibly well-directed, though. Kurosawa is incredible at having scene transitions that flow and conveying the characters' thoughts and emotions through implications. The quick cuts, narration, and shot composition are clear influences on directors like Jeunet and Cuarón. The two times Shimura is shown singing are just incredibly, hauntingly sad. The early flashbacks are tragic as well. So the film's a downer, but still extremely well done.
Rated 06 Sep 2008
4
55th
The compositions are simple, and powerful, and perfect - this also applies to the character of Shimura. I'm just not terribly impressed with the rest of it.
Rated 14 Jun 2020
71
39th
Initially, this Kurosawa effort makes a serious play for GOAT - Shimura's heartbreaking lead performance, matched with existential meditations on a life lived/unlived, provide extensive food for thought. The second half (via an awkward clunky flashback) doesn't work at all, with a table of unknown extras debating in heavily expositional terms what this man's life was. Shimura could have projected everything with a single glance; in a movie at least 30 minutes too long, this is a major problem.
Rated 08 Aug 2012
61
17th
An incredible and important thought is told through a disappointedly boring story (it's like a Japanese movie version of Parks and Recreation, but not funny). The characters are flat and there's far too much explanation and exposition given, but the main issue I have with the film is Takashi Shimura's eyes.
Rated 30 Nov 2009
85
80th
A movie built around a great performance by the lead. This movie is slow paced but in a great way... you watch the main character pull himself out of a mindless way of life to do something good and meaningful with himself. It has some really iconic shots. While the tale of Kanji is uplifting, I think that the rest of the movie is kind of depressing in a way.
Rated 09 Jan 2007
100
98th
what old man.. wha... why you frontin.. sheeit...
Rated 01 Jul 2012
96
99th
A powerful humanistic tale of one man's struggle to end his life with meaning. Only two greats such as Akira Kurosawa and Takashi Shimura could make a movie this simple this powerful and not make it seem false or phoney. Uplifting and heart-wrenching at the same time.
Rated 15 Feb 2011
83
67th
This is more about the characterization of Watanabe than the plot. Kurasawa masterfully transfers the dying man's emotions to the observer, and so doing gives us a chance to experience a wide range of feelings only the doomed can feel.
Rated 27 Feb 2007
92
98th
Probably the most satisying of all Kurosawa's films.
Rated 15 Jan 2010
95
98th
One of those films that makes you look at life differently and rearranges your priorities a bit. I've always considered this to be a much more superior "alternative" to It's a Wonderful Life. Kurosawa was able to portray meaning and spiritual profoundness in mundane deeds. It's admirable he was able to achieve this transcendent feeling in his film without resorting to magical or religious hocus pocus like Hollywood would have at the time.
Rated 16 Oct 2011
80
90th
Absolutely beautiful and necessary. But I must say it has not a very good beginning, even understanding why it was that way, I was quite dissapointed the first hour (I will surely enjoy that part more when reviewing). And, by the way... aren't we all movie lovers people who get drunk of joy watching a movie, think we will never be the same and it has changed our lifes... and then... Nice poke Kurosawa.
Rated 11 Apr 2014
93
98th
What's striking about this masterpiece is that even though the whole film is understated to its core and engraved with a deep-set melancholy, it still amounts into something which is profoundly powerful and moving. "Ikiru" remains, even today and across cultures, essentially relatable and relevant to so many of us. Kurosuwa's photography is wonderful too, and in conjunction with Shimura's nuanced but engulfing performance means there are scenes here that will remain with you for a long time.
Rated 20 May 2009
80
86th
Shimura is a masterful actor and you truly share his horror. Unfortunately, even though it made sense in order to put the story in a perspective reflecting on society, the last act doesn't complete what would have otherwise been a knock-out tearjerker.
Rated 14 Aug 2007
96
99th
No wonder Dostoyevsky is AK's favorite author: a searing portrait of postwar Japanese bureaucracy, and the ultimate meditation on imminent death.
Rated 30 Dec 2008
93
87th
I don't think that the last part was really a good choise by Kurosawa. It's way too long and kind of boring, but still an amazing movie.
Rated 25 May 2007
100
99th
Absolutely magnificent film that is one of my favorites. One of the few motion pictures that will make you look at life in a different way afterwards. Inspiring.
Rated 15 Nov 2008
85
97th
Beautiful storytelling depicting the redtape of bureaucrats and the value of life once death is around the corner. Wished they still made movies like this.
Rated 08 Jun 2016
85
85th
The socratic element of the final third is reminiscent of 12 Angry Men, but the moralising within the dialogue feels much more contrived. The flashbacks to Watanabe's final weeks do compensate for this, and Takashi Shimura's performance is perfect, but I think Kurosawa works better when his social commentary is conveyed through dynamic choreography & drama (see High & Low). Ikiru's best scenes are focused on Watanabe's silent musings, desperation and pained expressions; when you escape into him.
Rated 11 Mar 2023
85
74th
A true social critique and good view of our current condition as a whole. Successfully, Kurosawa makes a statement on Japan's problematic political discourse, and the struggles with morbidity post-war. Tender moments with Shimura's character help balance the daunting truths about a hopeless and aimless life.
Rated 31 Aug 2009
8
85th
Taking a trip into sad town.
Rated 17 Apr 2007
92
93rd
# 73
Rated 04 Oct 2012
80
90th
I found it to be a nice, lovely and touching film. Takashi Shimura gives a great performance, and the whole thing is captured gorgeously by Kurosawa's direction. I didn't like the final hour or so as much as the rest, I have to say. The ending was beautiful though.
Rated 27 Apr 2011
85
84th
I hadn't cried to a movie in a while, and this flick was certainly full of those emotionally jarring moments that'd do it to me. It's a brutal critique of modernity in a nation that almost feels scarred by it. It's a theme that is quite transparent in the bulk of Kurosawa's work; his heroes constantly combat impending social progression (which is always depicted as rather soulless) for fear that they might lose an important part of humanity along the way.
Rated 10 Aug 2010
94
84th
Kurosawa's keen eye for humanity, along with Shimura's brilliant performance, is what elevates Ikiru far beyond cheap sentimentality to some higher emotional plain.
Rated 02 Apr 2020
84
85th
83.6
Rated 18 Jun 2023
78
88th
A beautifully crafted film. Every shot and camera movement felt perfectly framed, deliberate, and purposeful. Kurosawa makes incredible use of obstructing objects between the camera and the actors to create rich, three-dimensional images. The craft of the film would mean nothing without a compelling narrative or characters but I found Watanabe's story genuinely inspiring, without even a hint of sentimentality or cheesiness
Rated 02 Nov 2020
75
76th
Too theatrical for my taste, and the epilogue (1/3 of the runtime!) ties things up much too neatly, but there's a couple of strong scenes before - especially during the first night of rioting.
Rated 14 Feb 2023
8
71st
A series of highly memorable and well-executed scenes form a tapestry of a life in rapid decline. The epilogue takes a curious direction, even if it ends up impeding the film's momentum a bit.
Rated 02 Nov 2010
91
96th
The only problem is the awkward transition to the bureaucrats telling stories halfway through, but other than that it's excellent. Very human and strongly directed and acted, it's not necessarily a depressing film - though you may cry - but an uplifting one.
Rated 26 Aug 2022
99
99th
The apex of humanist film making. One of the greatest films ever created. I appreciated this masterpiece more and more -- on different levels -- as I aged...and matured. I still tear up at the end every time I re-watch it, even though I know what's coming. Kurosawa was a genius.
Rated 12 Apr 2024
100
87th
Rated 14 May 2021
60
6th
I think you have to be over 50 to truly understand this movie
Rated 01 Mar 2008
96
93rd
# 77
Rated 06 Jun 2020
94
98th
Rated 22 Oct 2019
28
20th
Gêmeos
Rated 15 Dec 2011
90
94th
Visually it's aged and the acting is a bit too japanese for me, but the story is every bit as great now as it was then.
Rated 13 Apr 2024
100
90th
Rated 07 Jul 2007
10
93rd
A little masterpiece.
Rated 13 Dec 2020
93
97th
Kurosawa's magnum opus, his grand treatise on the nature of humanity & society, of all life itself. Simultaneously ponderingly philosophical and furiously political, sentimentally elegiac and cynically satirical, both heartbreaking and inspiring. Every frame is a painting dripping in subtle visual subtext and Kurosawa has a mastery of non-chronological storytelling decades ahead of his contemporaries. This is a masterpiece of film-making, pure and simple.
Rated 11 Apr 2024
60
65th
Rated 24 Sep 2016
86
92nd
From a western perspective it's easy to undervalue the profoundly indifferent cynicism & pessimism that underline this well crafted drama. Seemingly sentimental & overacted piece of obvious social critique reveals radical nuance & subtle ambiguity in context of "Japanese culture." The 1st part plays out like a dream of an individual rediscovering himself & life. The 2nd part is more formal & overtly satirical utilising the Rashomon method brilliantly. Possibly too long and does lack naturalism.
Rated 12 Oct 2010
75
85th
What is it in our heads that makes it so hard to live the way we want to? And how do we banish it? This movie doesn't provide an answer really, but it makes you think. Marvelous camera work and a taut script, despite the longer than normal running time for a movie like this. Shimura is sullen squared, someone could've told him to pull it back, but Kurosawa seems to be going for exaggerated silent film type physical expressiveness. It works some times better than others.
Rated 07 Nov 2011
95
99th
A celebration of life!
Rated 25 Apr 2014
93
98th
A beautiful, funny, poignant, and ultimately uplifting film. Shimura is mesmerising in his portrayal of the regretful Wanatabe desperately seeking meaning to his life and a legacy to leave behind. Kurosawa captures perfectly the vulnerability and emotional distress that must come with the news that one is terminally ill. City council bureaucracy provides much of the humour and there are many hilarious scenes.
Rated 07 Jan 2014
100
98th
Life
Rated 30 Oct 2022
86
80th
Some utterly incredible stuff here, especially the humanist leanings and satirical portrayal of bureaucracy. However it seems a bit saggier than the other Kurosawas I’ve seen, with a strange structure that I don’t think necessarily does it any favours. But the greatest scenes are all-time classics for sure.
Rated 24 Oct 2012
5
98th
Very special, with an unforgettable performance by Shimura.
Rated 28 Mar 2023
80
80th
Novelist: "How tragic that man can never realize how beautiful life is until he is face to face with death."
Rated 31 Mar 2017
75
58th
Well crafted dive into the final stages of existence & that question everyone faces at the end of the day, are there any regrets, or have you deluded yourself into thinking you lived a fulfilled life? Watanabe realizes he needs to make up for lost time & that pseudo-vampiring youth from a colleague is a reasonable thing to do. Superficial pleasures attempted & found lacking, he pushes a redeeming project through a public system that's just as congested as his colon, for 'all the babies of Japan'
Rated 08 Feb 2011
92
88th
Amazing how a film like this was made in post-war Japan of all places.
Rated 19 Dec 2008
96
92nd
81
Rated 16 Apr 2021
82
85th
???????
Rated 25 Aug 2013
98
99th
the message is powerful and shimura is fantastic. favorite scene: the bureaucrat descending behind the pile of paperwork.
Rated 05 Apr 2011
91
95th
Touching and uplifting with some amazing cinematography from Kurosawa.
Rated 26 Oct 2019
88
60th
I don't know what I've been doing with my life all these years.
Rated 22 Mar 2007
90
86th
An old man decides he wants his life to have some meaning. I can't decide whether this or _Seven Samurai_ is my favorite Kurosawa
Rated 11 Apr 2014
95
95th
Astonishing. A clear influence to the grand majority of the films (and television) I love, Ikiru takes on complicated questions and refuses any easy answers or trite morals.
Rated 17 Jun 2022
2
31st
too much plain melodrama for kurosawa.
Rated 21 Jun 2008
100
77th
A profound rumination on the purpose of life.
Rated 10 Apr 2024
89
87th
Rated 14 Aug 2007
100
99th
Pretty much the best film ever made and the only one to significantly change my life in a real, tangible way.
Rated 04 Apr 2016
68
55th
Given the universal acclaim, and my love of Kurosawa and Hashimoto, I'm shocked this didn't totally resonate with me. Something about the Watanabe character felt inauthenticate to me. I plan to bookmark this to revisit (sooner, rather than later), because I don't trust my judgment on this yet.
Rated 06 Mar 2009
87
89th
actually the last third part was the best - we see the effect that shimura's last months had on the ones around him and we get a real sense of what his final decision was worth.
Rated 15 Mar 2019
92
88th
91.50
Rated 06 Nov 2022
84
84th
Shimura's performance is heartbreaking. The incisive commentary on bureaucratic red tape and the failings of local government have proven unfortunately timeless.
Rated 03 Apr 2012
95
94th
Could have been trimmed by about half an hour, but I'll think of my life differently as long as I remember this.
Rated 28 Jul 2010
85
87th
It's amazing that a movie made over 50 years ago can still be so poignant today. Not only does is resonate on a personal level, but it's critiques on the government system are dead on. It can be a little slow at times, and the last act doesn't live up to the rest of the film. Ultimately, you will be in for a very rewarding movie experience if you take the time to watch this powerful film.
Rated 13 Oct 2010
50
48th
I wish I had cancer, so I could do something so important as continually pester my coworkers until they stick a swingset in some drainage ditch. There's a lot to like here -- Watanabe's sheer desperation in his search for meaning, its utter lack of sentimentality, how absolutely nobody takes a lesson from the whole experience -- but its ultimate revelation that life as a cog in the bureaucratic machinery isn't especially fulfilling doesn't really strike me as particularly interesting.
Rated 16 Aug 2008
100
95th
Kurosawa's masterpiece.
Rated 12 Oct 2019
75
78th
Great! Didn't expect to like this very much given its length, but I was entertained. Kurosawa's mastery of the camera shines in this film, with every shot leaving you wondering what's coming next, who's moving next or when someone will 'break' and spill the beans in front of the camera. Takashi did great as an actor, but I didn't like his character the slightest bit. I was waiting the whole time for him to 'break' and when it happened it didn't feel fulfilling. Maybe it's supposed to be that way
Rated 01 Apr 2024
52
13th
Rated 29 Nov 2011
87
95th
It was a little weird seeing one of the stars from Seven Samurai in a movie like this, but it was pretty much amazing. Highly emotional, but also with some dark humor mixed in, particularly about the bureaucratic world.
Rated 06 Aug 2021
80
70th
8?Brett /I like the song, especially when he's swinging and singing. /So life is short, let's fall in love, girl, be more passionate and crazy, just experience and enjoy life!!! (T ^ T) I'm so sad...
Rated 09 Apr 2012
71
50th
kanser, mide kanseri, memur, halkla iliskiler, bürokrasi, japonya, degisim, genc kiz yasli adam, cenaze, park (30 yillik halkla iliskiler müdürü mide kanseri oldugunu ögrenir ve ogluna aciklamak ister fakat oglu kendisini dinlemez bile. bir barda tanistigi adamdan hayatin zevklerini tatmayi ögrenir. ise gitmez bu arada is yerinden bir genc kizla karsilasir. ona karsi yakinlik hisseder. nihayetinde uzun süredir ortalarda dolanan bir dilekceyi isleme sokar ve park yapar. AGIR
Rated 26 Dec 2010
95
95th
A change of pace from Kurosawa's epic samurai tales, but should not be overlooked! A man searching for his meaning upon a reminder of his mortality, has never been so humanely and intimately depicted. Watanabe at his core is just like any of us, in need of redemption.

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