Mishima: A Life in Four Chapters (1985) - Rotten Tomatoes

Mishima: A Life in Four Chapters (1985)

Mishima: A Life in Four Chapters (1985)




Critic Consensus: Paul Schrader's directorial masterpiece is a classy and imaginative portrait enriched by a stunning score and impressive cinematography.

Mishima: A Life in Four Chapters Photos

Movie Info

The fragments of an autobiography by the self-destructive Japanese writer, Yukio Mishima.

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Ken Ogata
as Yukio Mishima
Junya Fukuda
as Cadet #2
Junkichi Orimoto
as General Mashita
Minoru Hodaka
as Ichigaya Colonel
Gô Rijû
as Mishima age 18-19
Masato Aizawa
as Mishima, Age 9-14
Yuki Nagahara
as Mishima Age 5
Kyuzo Kobayashi
as Literary Friend
Yuki Kitazume
as Dancing friend
Haruko Kato
as Grandmother
Yosuke Mizuno
as "Yukoku" Producer
Alan Mark Poul
as American Reporter
Ren Ebata
as Reporter No. 1
Yasuhiro Arai
as Reporter No. 2
Fumio Mizushima
as Reporter No. 3
Yuichi Saito
as Student
Yasosuke Bando
as Mizoguchi
Naomi Oki
as 1st Girl [Temple Of The Golden Pavilion]
Miki Takakura
as 2nd Girl [Temple Of The Golden Pavilion]
Koichi Sato
as Kashiwagi [Temple Of The Golden Pavilion]
Shinji Miura
as Pavilion Acolyte
Reisen Lee
as Kiyomi
Setsuko Karasuma
as Mitsuko [Kyoko's House]
Yasuaki Kurata
as Takei [Kyoko's House]
Mitsuru Hirata
as Thug [Kyoko's House]
Eimei Ezumi
as Ichigaya Aide-de-Camp
Sachiko Akagi
as Thug's Girl Friend [Kyoko's House]
Sachiko Hidari
as Osamu's Mother [Kyoko's House]
Tsutomu Harada
as Romeo [Kyoko's House]
Mami Okamoto
as Juliet [Kyoko's House]
Toshio Hosokawa
as "Rokumeikan" Producer
Hiroshi Katsuno
as Lieutenant Hori
Hiroki Ida
as Izutsu [Runaway Horses]
Jun Negami
as Kurahara
Ryô Ikebe
as Interrogator [Runaway Horses]
Naoya Makoto
as Kendo Instructor [Runaway Horses]
Kojiro Oka
as 1st MP [Runaway Horses]
Tatsuya Hiragaki
as Actor [Runaway Horses]
Shinichi Nosaka
as Policeman [Runaway Horses]
Atsushi Takayama
as Interrogation Policeman
Roy Scheider
as Voice-over
Kazuo Kato
as Grandmother
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Critic Reviews for Mishima: A Life in Four Chapters

All Critics (20) | Top Critics (4)

Graced with a throbbing orchestral score from Philip Glass and John Bailey's luminous photography, this is appropriately monumental filmmaking.

July 10, 2009 | Rating: 5/5 | Full Review…

It's Mishima's diagrammatic structure that most perfectly suits its subject, defined by his will to harmony.

December 16, 2008 | Full Review…

It's fetishistic, lyrical, narcissistic and, at key moments, borderline berserk. In other words, the movie captures its subject to a tee.

December 10, 2008 | Rating: 4/6
Top Critic

The most unconventional biopic I've ever seen, and one of the best.

January 1, 2000 | Rating: 4/4 | Full Review…

Paul Schrader's 1985 biopic necessarily guts his controversial life - but the visual style is superb.

July 10, 2009 | Rating: 4/5

From Philip Glass's glorious score to John Bailey's rich cinematography, Schrader's movie is never less than ravishing.

July 10, 2009 | Rating: 4.5/5 | Full Review…

Audience Reviews for Mishima: A Life in Four Chapters


Mishima is difficult to characterize. It is something of a biographical essay about purity, beauty, art, idealism, action, and death. The exploration of themes and the direction of the film give a very 60s feeling to it. Mishima is interesting and I may have rated it higher except for the fact that it is also confusing and I found it difficult to tell who was Mishima versus a character from his fiction since it jumped around in time and I was totally unfamiliar with his biography. As someone who dislikes spoilers, I'd nonetheless recommend that others go ahead and read his biography before watching (and I do recommend the film).

Robert Brogan
Robert Brogan

Super Reviewer

It's a triumph for Schrader, using a unconventional narrative for exploring the life and work of such an unconventional man works wonderfully. The highly stylized retelling of Mishima's novels are a kind of avant-garde theatre and this is perfect use of a Philip Glass score.

Alec Barniskis
Alec Barniskis

Super Reviewer

Mishima's life, and all it's contradictions, is perfectly captured by Schrader in a biopic done right. The film embodies all the passions and obsessions of it's subject, with Ogata's performance and a great score this one stands apart from the rest of theconventional, and empty, bios circulating on hollywood. Movies done with such ambition, and precise touch, are even more rare these days.

Tsubaki Sanjuro
Tsubaki Sanjuro

Super Reviewer

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