7.3/10
14,075
78 user 72 critic

Merry Christmas Mr. Lawrence (1983)

Trailer
3:17 | Trailer
During WWII, a British colonel tries to bridge the cultural divides between a British POW and the Japanese camp commander in order to avoid bloodshed.

Director:

Nagisa Ôshima

Writers:

Laurens van der Post (novel), Nagisa Ôshima (screenplay) | 1 more credit »
Reviews
Won 1 BAFTA Film Award. Another 8 wins & 7 nominations. See more awards »

Videos

Photos

Learn more

More Like This 

Taboo (1999)
Drama | History | Thriller
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 6.9/10 X  

The new member of a samurai militia unit causes disruption as several of his colleagues fall in love with him, threatening to disturb the rigid code of their squad.

Director: Nagisa Ôshima
Stars: Takeshi Kitano, Ryûhei Matsuda, Shinji Takeda
Drama | Romance
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 6.6/10 X  

A passionate telling of the story of Sada Abe, a woman whose affair with her master led to an obsessive and ultimately destructive sexual relationship.

Director: Nagisa Ôshima
Stars: Tatsuya Fuji, Eiko Matsuda, Aoi Nakajima
Drama | Sci-Fi
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 6.7/10 X  

An alien must pose as a human to save his dying planet, but a woman and greed of other men create complications.

Director: Nicolas Roeg
Stars: David Bowie, Rip Torn, Candy Clark
The Ceremony (1971)
Comedy | Drama
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.3/10 X  

Upon receiving a shocking telegram from his cousin, a man recounts his early life, as a member of a broad family full of dark secrets that slowly reveal themselves through the clan ceremonies.

Director: Nagisa Ôshima
Stars: Kenzô Kawarasaki, Atsuko Kaku, Atsuo Nakamura
Comedy | Crime | Drama
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.6/10 X  

A Korean man is sentenced to death by hanging, but he survives the execution. For the following two hours, his executioners try to work out how to handle the situation in this black farce.

Director: Nagisa Ôshima
Stars: Kei Satô, Do-yun Yu, Fumio Watanabe
Drama | Horror | Romance
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7/10 X  

A married woman and her lover murder her husband and dump his body into a well. After a while, his ghost comes to haunt them while the local gossip grows stronger.

Director: Nagisa Ôshima
Stars: Tatsuya Fuji, Kazuko Yoshiyuki, Takahiro Tamura
Boy (1969)
Drama
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.5/10 X  

A young boy reluctantly aids his swindling father in a threatening scam.

Director: Nagisa Ôshima
Stars: Fumio Watanabe, Akiko Koyama, Tetsuo Abe
Naked Youth (1960)
Crime | Drama
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7/10 X  

A harsh young man seduces a freeloading young woman and eventually takes advantage of her knack for hitch-hiking to rob middle-class men.

Director: Nagisa Ôshima
Stars: Miyuki Kuwano, Yûsuke Kawazu, Yoshiko Kuga
Drama
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 6.7/10 X  

Four high school students preparing for their university entrance exam fantasize about a classmate, and meet up with thier inebriated teacher, while singing bawdy drinking songs.

Director: Nagisa Ôshima
Stars: Ichirô Araki, Kazuko Tajima, Jûzô Itami
Sonatine (1993)
Action | Comedy | Crime
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.5/10 X  

Several yakuza from Tokyo are sent to Okinawa to help end a gang war. The war then escalates and the Tokyo drifters decide to lay low at the beach.

Director: Takeshi Kitano
Stars: Takeshi Kitano, Aya Kokumai, Tetsu Watanabe
Crime | Drama
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.1/10 X  

Two young women must come to terms with the fact that a man they're deeply linked to is a murdering rapist.

Director: Nagisa Ôshima
Stars: Hideo Kanze, Hideko Kawaguchi, Saeda Kawaguchi
Comedy | Drama
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 6.3/10 X  

Story is about a Tokyo girl looking round Okinawa island for her long-lost brother and finding he is the tourist guide with whom she has had an affair.

Director: Nagisa Ôshima
Stars: Hiromi Kurita, Shôji Ishibashi, Lily
Edit

Cast

Cast overview, first billed only:
David Bowie ... Celliers
Tom Conti ... Lawrence
Ryuichi Sakamoto ... Yonoi
Takeshi Kitano ... Hara (as Takeshi)
Jack Thompson ... Hicksley
Johnny Ohkura Johnny Ohkura ... Kanemoto
Alistair Browning ... De Jong
James Malcolm James Malcolm ... Celliers' Brother
Chris Broun Chris Broun ... Celliers 12 Years
Yûya Uchida Yûya Uchida ... Commandant of Military Prison (as Yuya Uchida)
Ryûnosuke Kaneda ... President of the Court (as Ryunosuke Kaneda)
Takashi Naitô Takashi Naitô ... Lieutenant Iwata (as Takashi Naito)
Tamio Ishikura Tamio Ishikura ... Prosecutor
Rokkô Toura Rokkô Toura ... Interpreter (as Rokko Toura)
Kan Mikami Kan Mikami ... Lieutenant Ito
Edit

Storyline

In 1942 British soldier Jack Celliers comes to a Japanese prison camp. The camp is run by Yonoi, who has a firm belief in discipline, honor and glory. In his view, the allied prisoners are cowards when they chose to surrender instead of committing suicide. One of the prisoners, interpreter John Lawrence, tries to explain the Japanese way of thinking, but is considered a traitor. Written by Mattias Thuresson

Plot Summary | Add Synopsis

Taglines:

Java, 1942 - A clash of cultures, a test of the human spirit.

Genres:

Drama | War

Certificate:

R | See all certifications »

Parents Guide:

View content advisory »
Edit

Details

Country:

UK | New Zealand | Japan

Language:

English | Japanese

Release Date:

2 September 1983 (USA) See more »

Also Known As:

Merry Christmas Mr. Lawrence See more »

Edit

Box Office

Opening Weekend USA:

$99,221, 28 August 1983

Gross USA:

$2,306,560

Cumulative Worldwide Gross:

$2,306,560
See more on IMDbPro »

Company Credits

Show more on IMDbPro »

Technical Specs

Runtime:

Sound Mix:

Dolby

Color:

Color (Eastmancolor)

Aspect Ratio:

1.85 : 1
See full technical specs »
Edit

Did You Know?

Trivia

Celliers' basket of food hidden by flowers is reminiscent of stories associated with two Roman Catholic saints - Casilda of Castile and St Elizabeth of Hungary. Both saints share a story of being found taking food to the poor by a hostile father/husband and having the food miraculously transformed into roses. See more »

Goofs

In the final scene in the prison cell, the cross belt of Lt Col Lawrence's Sam Browne is fitted back to front. See more »

Quotes

[first lines]
Sgt. Gengo Hara: [in Japanese] Wake up, Lawrence.
Col. John Lawrence: [in Japanese] What is it? Why so early, Sergeant Hara?
Sgt. Gengo Hara: [in Japanese] Hurry up!
Group Capt. Hicksley: What does he want?
Col. John Lawrence: [in English] I'll find out?
Sgt. Gengo Hara: [in Japanese] What?
Group Capt. Hicksley: You don't have to take orders from this man, you know, Lawrence.
Col. John Lawrence: Well, I'm the liaison officer, so I'm liaising.
Sgt. Gengo Hara: [in Japanese] What did he say?
[...]
See more »


Soundtracks

Father Christmas
Music by Ryuichi Sakamoto
See more »

Frequently Asked Questions

This FAQ is empty. Add the first question.

User Reviews

One of the finest war films ever made.
31 October 2003 | by monkeypunchSee all my reviews

I first saw this on IFC one night and was enthralled by it. Apparently there are two versions of the film, one with english subtitles and one without. I saw the version without the subtitles. See the film like this put you in the position of the prisoners, not understanding what is being said around you, and having to rely on translators, who in a prison camp were few. The film starts off with Japanese icon Takeshi Kitano walking into a hut and waking up Col. Lawrence (played by Tom Conti). Lawrence's superior protests this and Sgt. Hara (Kitano) yells something to him in Japanese. While walking out of the hut The superior (don't recall his name but he was played by Jack Thompson) orders another soldier to follow him, Hara protests and uses the scabbard of his sword and hits him in the eye, Hara walks out and Thompson yells "B**tards!" (or something similar).

We then see Lawrence following Hara and then Ryuichi Sakamoto's beautiful, eerie music starts off the opening credits. I won't dive any deeper into the plot, as one should witness it for themselves. The film shows us how the prisoners and the guards are not all that different, they both view themselves as being right, when at one point in the film some one says no one is right in war. The film also shows us the physical and the mental abuse the prisoners had to live with day in and day out.

Besides dealing with the war it also shows how man deals with events from the past as far as ones childhood, But in this film it actually works, not like in countless others, and you do feel attached to the characters.

A lot has been said about David Bowie's performance as Major. Jack Celliers, who despite the title of the film is the lead character and does an excellent job portraying a burnt out commando with a past he is afraid to face.

Shortly after seeing the unsubbed version, I saw the subbed version. Which is good in its own right, but I feel the film doesn't have the same impact if you know what is going to happen at every corner, now about half of the film is in Japanese for those with patience it pays off. By not knowing whats going on it puts you in the position of the prisoners themselves.

The film is a beautiful, tragic look at the atrocities man commits to himself. I encourage film and WW II buffs looking for something different to give it a chance. Another unseen by many gem directed by Nagisa Oshima. ****/****


67 of 77 people found this review helpful.  Was this review helpful to you? | Report this
Review this title | See all 78 user reviews »

Contribute to This Page

Free Movies and TV Shows You Can Watch Now

On IMDb TV, you can catch Hollywood hits and popular TV series at no cost. Select any poster below to play the movie, totally free!

Browse free movies and TV series



Recently Viewed