1952 • 143 minutes
63 reviews
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About this movie

One of the greatest achievements by Akira Kurosawa, Ikiru shows the director at his most compassionate—affirming life through an explora­tion of death. Takashi Shimura beautifully portrays Kanji Watanabe, an aging bureaucrat with stomach cancer who is impelled to find meaning in his final days. Presented in a radically conceived two­part structure and shot with a perceptive, humanistic clarity of vision, Ikiru is a multifaceted look at what it means to be alive.

Ratings and reviews

63 reviews
Robert Ramos
September 3, 2017
Gonna be honest here and say the film had a tough time keeping my attention. Didn't see the point of the film until the last 1/3. That is when the film REALLY grab me. Please stay with it until the end as it makes the first 2/3 of the film truly worth the struggle. Beautiful imagery that will stay with you for a long time.
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The Cinephiles
December 22, 2016
Ikiru offers a western style that Kurosawa is so revered for. His simple nature in storytelling and yet depth in meaning transcend the typical movie experience, as he tackles the story of man faced with imminent death and the pursuit of living.
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January 21, 2021
Truly a must see. Ikiru almost literally shakes its audience while showing the protagonist shaken out of his alienated, indifferent, meaningless existence and discovering something like the meaning of life. In many ways Watanabe's story is a complement, or perhaps a corrective, to George Bailey's in "It's a Wonderful Life." Both Kurosawa and Capra invoked universal themes in their works, but for my money Kurosawa presented something truly timeless. By the time we meet him, Watanabe has sacrificed and suffered, becoming, unlike Bailey, neither great nor likeable for it. Instead, he has chosen a readily rewarded, cowardly, quietude, and is destined to be foresaken and forgotten. There can be no question of a miraculous, divine, intervention; Watanabe's fate is virtually sealed by choices too numerous, small-scale, and uninteresting to be reversed. Startled by a grizly death sentence, little but his irreducible powers of self-reflection "save" him--and, through him, others--from the crushing machinations of everyday life. Whereas Bailey is welcomed in from the cold, Watanabe's redemption can but prove to be cold comfort. A beautiful, vibrant movie, told with compassion and occasionally striking humor. Nearly flawless.
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