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Machiko Kyo, Masayuki Mori, Kinuyo Tanaka, Eitarô Ozawa, Ikio Sawamura ... see more see more... , Sakae Ozawa , Mitsuko Mito , Kikue Mori , Ryosuke Kagawa , Sugisaku Aoyama , Shozo Nanbu , Kichijiro Ueda , Mitsusaburô Ramon , Kichijiro Tsuchida , Eigoro Onoe , Saburo Date , Saka Ozawa

Presented in a manner as eerie as it is heartbreaking, this film is a gorgeous supernatural fable about the folly of men with dreams larger than their abilities and their women who suffer as a result.... read more read more... Genjuro (Masuyaki Mori) is a potter who longs for wealth and luxury, while Tobei (Sakae Ozawa), a farmer, dreams of the glories of the samurai to the point of ignoring his wife. Though a war rages around them, they venture to town to sell their wares. Genjuro becomes bewitched by a beautiful though vengeful ghost (Machiko Kyo), while his wife is murdered by a soldier; Tobei becomes a noted warrior, while his wife descends into prostitution after being raped while searching for her husband. ~ Jonathan Crow, Rovi

Flixster Users

93% liked it

6,471 ratings


100% liked it

21 critics

Unrated, 1 hr. 36 min.

Directed by: Kenji Mizoguchi

Release Date: September 7, 1954

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DVD Release Date: November 8, 2005

Stats: 439 reviews

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Flixster Reviews (439)

  • October 28, 2011
    Beautiful morality tale. When dreaming with a better life becomes greater, blinding us, foreshadowing everything we have, and this seemingly improved life gained reveals itself as a mirage, a pile of nothingness, that's the only time people feel the urge to get back home. There a... read morere men so poor that the only thing they have is money.
  • September 29, 2011
    From the Criterion Collection, Spine No. 309. Hailed by critics as one of the greatest films ever made, Kenji Mizoguchi's Ugetsu is an undisputed masterpiece of Japanese cinema. Set in the 16th Century, A family man farmer and craftsman Genjurô travels to Nagahama to sell his wa... read moreres and makes a small fortune. His neighbor Tobei that is a fool man dreams on becoming a samurai, but he can not afford to buy the necessary outfit. So starts the story of 2 different men and the rise and fall. It takes a different person to watch and enjoy not only films from the Criterion Collection, but also it takes a little bit to watch and understand a fifties movie from Japan. But once you get into these movies your hooked. Please try one and enjoy. 4 1/2 stars.
  • January 23, 2010
    i hadnt seen this film in a few years, and it was even better the second time. one of the best film presentations of what happens when a man puts ambition over the love and needs of his own family. mizoguchi is a master with the camera and the musical score heightened the ghost... read more elements of the story perfectly. a phenomenal film.
  • December 28, 2009
    Mizoguchi's masterful rendering of ambition and greed. I loved the supernatural elements of the story. Every bit as good as (if not better than) Sansho the Bailiff.
  • August 3, 2009
    This beautifully done film is a sobering tale about the consequences of chasing selfish desires, in the guise of a ghost story. Two men are at the centerpiece -- one who follows a mysterious woman back to her palace and forgets his family in the joy he has found with her, the oth... read moreer so desires to be a samurai that he too forsakes his wife and home. Both adventures come to sad ends, but with each man learning a valuable lesson. Gorgeous black and white photography makes this a feast for the eyes as well as the mind.
  • September 7, 2008
    What can I possibly say that will give this movie the credit it deserves?

    Wealth and happiness mean nothing if it can't be shared with the ones you love. And in the end you might end up sacrificing more than you wish to.
    It's one of the oldest lessons in the world I guess, and... read more Ugetsu Monogatari tells it in a tragic and enchanting way. The soundtrack gives the movie an intensity that sucks you in.
    If you liked Kobayashi's Kwaidan, you're gonna love this one as well.

  • December 24, 2007
    a gorgeous film about hope and regret and the danger of dreams. i loved the supernatural elements and the final scene is extraordinarily touching.
  • June 3, 2007
    A deep, haunting folktale movie. Crisply filmed and beautifully arranged, Ugetsu is an awesome looking movie despite its 55-year age. Some of the panoramas, filled with tall swaying grass and empty blue expanses, are astonishing.

    Ugetsu's acting is pretty typical of the origin ... read moreand period - that is, over-the-top. Sometimes it behooves the movie, but the majority of the performances stick out like a sore thumb. It's not particularly bad except for the tale of the man who wants to become a samurai, which is aggravating and distracting from the much better main plot. The central ghost story of Ugetsu offers better performances, richer characterizations and an overall stronger experience.

    Ugetsu's a very Japanese movie. The movie revolves around various aspects of the culture, such as the wartime economy, superstition, and family honor. And that's to say nothing of the soundtrack, which is absolutely awesome. I love Japanese instruments, and they work perfectly with the artistry and mood of the film here. Certainly a strong point of the movie.

    Arguably, this is slow, but it's a pretty short movie and well worth the time you spend on it.
  • fb1142797643
    March 24, 2011
    Spellbinding film...the best I've seen in months. Exquisite cinematography, lighting and locations, plus an eerie story with universal themes that Westerners easily can understand. Resisting the wicked allure of money and glory? Learning to appreciate one's spouse? Equally valid ... read morein 21st-century America and 16th-century Japan. And the Japanese do ghost stories so well, besides. "Ugetsu" deserves its "masterpiece" reputation.
  • January 23, 2009
    This film is so strange and engrossing. It sort of works like a live action fairy. The film seems to not do too much but with great sets, and a hell of a way to shoot them, and just an eerie mood throughout, it really grabs you.

Critic Reviews

Variety Staff
September 16, 2008
Variety Staff, Variety

Tale of two men in seething 16th-century Japan has a color and panorama which makes this absorbing film fare. Full Review

Michael Wilmington
November 16, 2006
Michael Wilmington, Chicago Tribune

A marvelously wise and moving classic, but also one full of sights that might make you cry, like Genjuro, 'I never imagined such pleasures existed!' Full Review

February 9, 2006
Time Out

A ravishingly composed, evocatively beautiful film. Full Review

Roger Ebert
August 12, 2004
Roger Ebert, Chicago Sun-Times

One of the greatest of all films. Full Review

Bosley Crowther
May 20, 2003
Bosley Crowther, New York Times

Kenji Mizoguchi, who directed, has a fantastic flexibility in using his actors and his camera, as witness his range in this film. Full Review

Dave Kehr
January 1, 2000
Dave Kehr, Chicago Reader

Densely plotted but as emotionally subtle as its name, Ugetsu is one of the great experiences of cinema. Full Review

David Parkinson
November 18, 2013
David Parkinson, Radio Times

In exploring the transience of happiness and the injustice of patriarchal society, Mizoguchi makes lyrical use of gliding long takes that reinforce his material and mystical themes. It's a work of she... Full Review

November 18, 2013
Total Film

Mizoguchi's graceful, meditative camera style lends quiet intensity to the drama. Full Review

Emanuel Levy
July 17, 2011
Emanuel Levy, EmanuelLevy.Com

One of the masterpieces of Japanese and world cinema. Full Review

Cole Smithey
July 16, 2008
Cole Smithey,

A masterpiece of Japanese cinema.

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