Best Movies by Farr
Ikiru Poster
Released Runtime Category
1952 143 Drama, Foreign Language, The Criterion Collection
Director Language
Akira Kurosawa Japanese
Miki Odagiri, Takashi Shimura


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What's it About

As a 30-year veteran in a humdrum government office, civil servant Kanji Watanabe (Shimura) has lived a dull life of rigid routine. After learning he has one year to live, Kanji embarks on an odyssey to find meaning in his life, first in the shallow comforts of debauched nightlife, and then in the company of his estranged son's family. But it isn't until he meets bubbly, vivacious office girl Toyo (Odagiri) that he's inspired to leave an honest, meaningful legacy.

Why we love it

Though best known for his samurai epics, Kurosawa in 1951 crafted this profoundly moving tale about finding purpose and dignity in the forbidding face of death. In one of the richest performances of his career, veteran actor Shimura ("Seven Samurai") plays a man struggling with the idea of how to live after decades of entombment in a heavily routinized existence. Odagiri is marvelous, too, as the bright, attractive young girl who leads him to rediscover the community-minded idealism of his youth. "Ikiru" may be Japanese in provenance, but its appeal is universal.

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Il Divo

BEST MOVIES BY FARR is your personal guide to great movies to rent, stream, or buy; to watch at home or on-the-go. Led by film advocate John Farr, the Best Movies by Farr team works as a "quality filter" for the discerning moviegoer. Every day, we bring you the best of the best, the fantastic familiar films and hidden gems, to answer that age-old question: "What should we watch tonight?"