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Average Rating: 4/5

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Following up on his critically acclaimed, blood-splattered epic Ran, master director Akira Kurosawa looks inward with this collection of eight brightly colored dreams. The first section centers on a young boy (Mitsunori Izaki), who witnesses a forest wedding procession of fox spirits in spite of his mother's (Mitsuko Baisho) warning. The second section concerns the same lad who converses with peach-tree spirits after the trees have been cruelly cut down. This is followed by a party of mountain climbers struggling to make it back to base camp in the midst of a terrible blizzard. The fourth dream deals with a man (Akira Terao) -- a Kurosawa stand-in complete with the director's trademark floppy white hat -- who encounters ghosts of Japan's militaristic past in a forlorn tunnel. In the following dream, the same man ventures into a Van Gogh painting called The Crows and meets the artist himself (Martin Scorsese). The sixth and seventh dreams venture into nightmare territory -- one deals with a nuclear meltdown that threatens Japan while the other concerns post-nuclear mutants. In the final dream, Kurosawa meets a 103-year-old man (played by Ozu regular Chishu Ryu) in a utopian rural village. ~ Jonathan Crow, Rovi

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Martin Scorsese
as Vincent Van Gogh
Mitsuko Baisho
as Mother of `I'
Mieko Harada
as The Snow Fairy
Mitsunori Isaki
as 'I' as a boy
Chishu Ryu
as Old Man
Toshihiko Nakano
as `I' as a Young Child
Mie Suzuki
as `I's' Sister
Yoshitaka Zushi
as Pvt. Noguchi
Toshie Negishi
as Child-carrying Mother
Hisashi Igawa
as Power Station Worker
Chosuke Ikariya
as The Demon
Masayuki Yui
as Member of climbing team #1
Shu Nakajima
as Member of climbing team #2
Sakae Kimura
as Member of climbing team #3
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News & Interviews for Dreams

Critic Reviews for Dreams

All Critics (24) | Top Critics (7)

  • There's greatness in the film's first hour.

    Mar 4, 2013 | Full Review…
  • In the uneven career of Akira Kurosawa, two limiting factors were sentimentality and preachiness, and both come to the fore in this 1990 collection of eight dreams.

    Feb 9, 2007 | Full Review…
  • Only during a final procession does the old Kurosawa magic get a brief look-in, but by then the hackneyed moralising and dramatic languor have ensured that, despite the well-meaning message, it's hard to care.

    Jun 24, 2006 | Full Review…

    Geoff Andrew

    Time Out
    Top Critic
  • It's something altogether new for Kurosawa, a collection of short, sometimes fragmentary films that are less like dreams than fairy tales of past, present and future. The magical and mysterious are mixed with the practical, funny and polemical.

    May 20, 2003 | Rating: 3.5/5
  • Dreams will knock your eyes out without ignoring the mind and heart.

    May 12, 2001
  • It's dreamy only in one respect: It's a snooze.

    Jan 1, 2000 | Full Review…

Audience Reviews for Dreams


One of Akira Kurosawa's final films, this is a collection of eight short films, presented as dreams that were presumably dreamed by Kurosawa himself. All of them have something to do with life, death, human nature, and things like that, and have various themes such as environmentalism. While most are dreams, some are more like nightmares. None of them however, are lacking in wonderful imagery and gorgeous cinematography. You could watch this with the sond off and it might be just as effective, but would lose the nice music. Overall, I think this is a rather impressive film and the visuals blow me away. Storywise, I'm not quite as impressed because some of the segments aren't as good as the others, and the stories, while not bad, didn't really seem as strong as the visuals and costumes. I enjoyed watching this, and it gives the viewer a lot to think about, but it starts to drag and the pacing might be too slow for many. I don't feel I can be too hard on this though, as Kurosawa was 80 when he made it, and not in the best of shape. However, it might be the weakest film of his that I've seen so far. Even then though, it's still far better and more creatvie than most dreck that comes out these days, so take this as a small recommendation. Also, Martin Scorsese putting in an appearance as Vincent Van Gogh (complete with a decent makeup job) is a curious joy in its own right.

Chris Weber
Chris Weber

Super Reviewer


it's a visual feast and ephemeral as dreams. i felt it fell off a bit in the second half

Stella Dallas
Stella Dallas

Super Reviewer

Still on the fence about which Kurosawa-era I enjoy more, his black and white world or the films in color that are some of the most impressive. Made of 8 short tales, each one presumably dreamt by Kurosawa, they are arranged in chronological order from childhood to old age. Themes range from childhood fears, sorrow of war, and accepting one's own mortality. Highlights include Village of the Watermills and Scorsese's portrayal of Van Gogh. Photobucket

El Hombre Invisible
El Hombre Invisible

Super Reviewer

pretty fulfilling movie. this is actually a series of 8 short films that average around 15 minutes each. they are short films about the actual dreams of kurosawa. george lucas and martin scorcese helped make this film and a variety of actors starred in the various short films. ultimately 4 of these films were fantastic, 2 were just ok, and 2 werent very good, but overall it is worth a watch for any die hard kurosawa fan so that we can get inside of his head a little. blizzard and watermill village were the most profound of these. if you arent into kurosawa, you might not like this film much at all.

danny d
danny d

Super Reviewer

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