Hakuchi (The Idiot) (1963)



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Movie Info

A former soldier is branded an idiot because of his epileptic seizures caused by wartime experiences. He shows unbridled compassion for people after he moves in with friends of his family as he tries to help a young man ruined by the war and a woman hounded by a wealthy but cruel suitor. All the characters are victims of the war and its devastating emotional aftershocks. Taken from Feodor Dostoyevsky's classic novel, the screenplay was written by the film's director, Akira Kurosawa.


Masayuki Mori
as Kinji Kameda
Setsuko Hara
as Taeko Nasu
Toshiro Mifune
as Denkichi Akama
Yoshiko Kuga
as Ayako Uno
Mitsuyo Akashi
as Akama's Mother
Minoru Chiaki
as Mutsuo Kayama
Chieko Higashiyama
as Satoki Ono, the Mother
Kokuten Kodo
as Jyunpei
Eiko Miyoshi
as Kayama's Mother
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Critic Reviews for Hakuchi (The Idiot)

All Critics (9)

Difficult but rewarding drama with outstanding events and location photography of Hokkaido.

Dec 3, 2016 | Full Review…

Motivation switches on a dime, and the story takes the long way around to get anywhere it's going.

Aug 16, 2011 | Rating: 60/100 | Full Review…

Hobbled mostly by the original material, a Dostoevsky novel, as well as an 80 minute cut imposed by the studio bosses, it is still worth seeing, especially for Kurosawa fans--this means everybody obviously.

Jun 11, 2010 | Full Review…

Kurosawa's passion comes through in his creative solution to the challenge of long dialogue scenes... and in the gentle beauty of the snow-covered location footage...

Mar 25, 2010 | Full Review…

There's a dreamlike quality to the story and the actors take on a trance-like state that fits the up-and-down emotional states of the volatile characters.

Jun 12, 2006 | Rating: B | Full Review…

Audience Reviews for Hakuchi (The Idiot)


Full Review Coming Soon!

Chris Browning
Chris Browning

Super Reviewer

A terrific masterpiece by Kurosawa.

Lucas Martins
Lucas Martins

Super Reviewer


even though this is one of kurosawa's more criticized films, i really liked it quite a bit. the acting and incoherence of the plot are the things most often criticized, and while i agree the love story lost its focus a few times, i actually found the acting to be very engaging. as with most kurosawa films, the script was the strongest point, with diologue that was complete and poetic at times. i do feel that they could have cut another 20 minutes off the film, but this final product is an already much trimmed down version, from the original 4 1/2 hour film kurosawa intended to this 2hr and 46 minute final product. overall, another beautiful film by the master of directors.

danny d
danny d

Super Reviewer


Akira Kurosawa's spin on Dostoyevsky sees a man traumatised by his war time experiences resulting in a new appreciation for life. His openness and honesty acts as a reflection of the hypocrisy and selfishness of those around him, some deriding him as an idiot and others hating him for exposing the faults in themselves. These qualities inspire romantic feelings in two women however and the resulting love triangles lead to tragedy. Kurosawa's eye for beautiful cinematography is in evidence as always, particularly during the scenes by candlelight during Toshiro Mifune's descent into madness. There is also some great social commentary; the female characters for me were the most interesting and characterful, playing off Kameda's naivety really well. Unfortunately the idea of Masayaki Mori's stiff, awkward and wide-eyed idealist inspiring such devotion in two beautiful and worldly women didn't really ring true for me, and as a whole it too often reminded me of period romantic melodrama, not exactly my favourite of genres. This combined with it's near 3 hour length left me struggling to stay awake. Some great moments, but I felt the story didn't flow very well so it left me a little cold.

xGary Xx
xGary Xx

Super Reviewer

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