Snow Falling on Cedars (1999) - Rotten Tomatoes

Snow Falling on Cedars (1999)



Critic Consensus: Though Snow Falling on Cedars is beautiful to look at, critics say the story becomes dull and tedious to sit through.

Snow Falling on Cedars Trailers & Photos

Movie Info

On a wintry Pacific Northwest island community in 1950, a quiet fisherman stands trial for murder. It looks like a straightforward case of cold-blooded homicide. But as the trial unfolds, the simple story of the man's death unravels into a deeply haunting mystery and an extraordinary tale about the persistence of hate and the power of love.more
Rating: PG-13 (for disturbing war images, sensuality and brief strong language)
Genre: Drama, Romance
Directed By:
Written By: David Guterson, Ron Bass, Ronald Bass, Scott Hicks
In Theaters:
On DVD: May 30, 2000
Universal Studios - Official Site


Ethan Hawke
as Ishmael Chambers
James Cromwell
as Judge Fielding
Max von Sydow
as Nels Gudmundsson
Rick Yune
as Kazuo Miyamoto
James Rebhorn
as Alvin Hooks
Sam Shepard
as Arthur Chambers
Richard Jenkins
as Sheriff Art Moran
Reeve Carney
as Young Ishmael Chambe...
Anne Suzuki
as Young Hatsue Imada
Jan Rudes
as Ole Jurgensen
Arija Bareikis
as Susan Marie Heine
Eric Thal
as Carl Heine Jr.
Celia Weston
as Etta Heine
Zeljko Ivanek
as Dr.Whitman
Akira Takayama
as Hisao Imada
as Fujiko Imada
Cary-Hiroyuki Tagawa
as Zenhichi Miyamoto
Zak Orth
as Deputy Abel Martinso...
Max Wright
as Horace Whaley
Caroline Kava
as Helen Chambers
Jan Rubes
as Ole Jurgensen
Sheila Moore
as Liesel Jurgensen
eljko Ivanek
as Dr. Whitman
Seiji Inouye
as Young Kazuo Miyamoto
Saemi Nakamura
as Sumiko Imada
Mika Fujii
as Yukiko Imada
Dwight McFee
as Bus Driver
Henry O
as Nagaishi
Myles Ferguson
as German Soldier
Noah Heney
as Ship's Doctor
John Destrey
as Bailiff
A. Arthur Takemoto
as Buddhist Priest
Larry Musser
as Gas Station Attendan...
Jamie Kang
as Singing Girl
Lili Marshall
as Strawberry Girl
Lisa Mena
as Strawberry Woman
Jethro Heysen-Hicks
as Parade Boy with Stic...
Peter Crook
as Fisherman
Ron Snyder
as Fisherman
Jay Brazeau
as Reporter
Tom Scholte
as Reporter
Tim Burd
as Reporter
Gareth Williams
as FBI Agent
Adam Pospisil
as Heine Child
Johnny Brynelsen
as Heine Child
Show More Cast

News & Interviews for Snow Falling on Cedars

Critic Reviews for Snow Falling on Cedars

All Critics (108) | Top Critics (28)

A disappointment.

January 1, 2000
Associated Press
Top Critic

The actors are valiant, but not bulletproof against the screenplay's almost obsessive romanticism.

Full Review… | January 1, 2000
Houston Chronicle
Top Critic

Too faithful to the many time shifts, plot points and layered meanings of David Guterson's best-selling novel, robbing the movie of dramatic tension.

January 1, 2000
Toronto Star
Top Critic

Casting Hawke as Ishmael Chambers in a mediocre movie version of Snow Falling on Cedars is pretty much the kiss of death.

Full Review… | January 1, 2000
Washington Post
Top Critic

Shot either in extreme, eye-swelling close-ups or in excessively composed, arty landscapes, I now know more about the blood vessels in these actors' noses than I care to.

Full Review… | July 5, 2011
Honolulu Star-Advertiser

Good movie for adults and older teens.

Full Review… | December 28, 2010
Common Sense Media

Audience Reviews for Snow Falling on Cedars

Beautiful performances, cinematography, editing, and score. BUT I must say watching this film again with a total paranoid cynic who doesn't think films should get wrapped up in the awesomeness of their own beauty has harshed my mellow a bit. The montages and flashback/forward editing ARE slightly self-indulgent and they take time away from the most iconic (3 second) shot of the movie - that of the Japanese internment camp prisoners walking on the docks under a blissfully ignorant American flag. If you're gonna make a statement, damn well make it right!

Alice Shen

Super Reviewer

This is the first movie I've ever seen that addressed the issue of the Japanese internment during WWII (aside from the fleeting reference in Midway) -- It shows how Childhood friendship pays off in adulthood -- I loved it!

Tom Ericksen

Super Reviewer


When an american-japanese fisherman is accused of murdering an childhood friend in the shadow of WWII, Ethan Hawke finds himself trapped in a crisis of conscience when he comes across possible evidence of his innocence. This is a beautifully crafted, very literary period drama in which the courtroom scenes are intercut with flashbacks from the lives of the various protagonists to produce a rich tapestry of motives, prejudices and conflicts of interest that affect their actions. It's beautifully shot in gorgeous snow-laden countryside, with a sensitive and pivotal performance by Youki Kudoh, while Max Von Sydow dominates the courtroom scenes in his inimitable style. It reminded me a little of a chilly English Patient. Except it's good.

xGary Xx

Super Reviewer

Snow Falling on Cedars Quotes

– Submitted by Chad E (4 years ago)

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