Pather Panchali

Critics Consensus

A film that requires and rewards patience in equal measure, Pather Panchali finds director Satyajit Ray delivering a classic with his debut.



Reviews Counted: 42

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Average Rating: 4.4/5

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Movie Info

Pather Panchali (Father Panchali), Indian director Satyajit Ray's first feature film, relates the story of an impoverished Bengalese family. When the father (Karuna Bannerjee) leaves for the city to pursue a writing career, the mother (Karuna Banerji) is left with the responsibility of caring for the rest of the brood. Gradually, the film's true central character emerges: Apu (Subir Banerji), the family's son. Though excruciatingly realistic at times, Pather Panchali takes an occasional timeout to dwell on the purely cinematic. For example, when the mother receives a postcard bearing good news, Ray dissolves to a pond, where a pair of water skates scamper about. The music by Ravi Shankar at first seems to be at odds with the action; soon, however, we come to accept the music as a logical outgrowth of the events at hand. A multiple award winner, Pather Panchali was the first of Ray's celebrated "Apu Trilogy" (the other two entries were 1956's Aparajito and 1959's The World of Apu). The film was also released as The Song of the Road and The Lament of the Path. ~ Hal Erickson, Rovi

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Runki Banerji
as Durga as a child
Kanu Banerji
as Harihar the Father
Karuna Bannerjee
as Sarbojaya Ray
Umas Das Gupta
as Durga as a young girl
Chunibala Devi
as Indirtharkun the old aunt
Tulshi Chakraborty
as Prasanna Schoolmaster
Reva Devi
as Mrs. Mookerji
Rama Gangopadhaya
as Ranu Mookerji
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News & Interviews for Pather Panchali

Critic Reviews for Pather Panchali

All Critics (42) | Top Critics (11)

Beautiful, sometimes funny, and full of love, it brought a new vision of India to the screen.

May 4, 2015 | Full Review…

It is a pastoral poem dappled with the play of brilliant images and strong, dark feelings, a luminous revelation of Indian life in language that all the world can understand.

Oct 17, 2011 | Full Review…
TIME Magazine
Top Critic

Fresh as a daisy after all these years, Satyajit Ray's 1955 spellbinder comes underpinned by a tumultuous Ravi Shankar sitar and paints a ground's-eye portrait of life in an impoverished Bengali village.

Oct 24, 2007 | Rating: 5/5 | Full Review…
Top Critic

Satyajit Ray's beautiful first feature.

Oct 24, 2007 | Full Review…

Film justly won the 'most human document award' at the 1956 Cannes Film Fest, unveiling a mature film talent in director Satyajit Ray.

Oct 24, 2007 | Full Review…
Top Critic

A masterpiece, inarguably.

Jun 24, 2006 | Full Review…
Time Out
Top Critic

Audience Reviews for Pather Panchali

Nothing spectacular at all. Entirely overrated. I like old movies (and foreign films) but hardly anything happens in this one!

Peter Bond
Peter Bond

Super Reviewer


An impressive achievement considering that this was Ray's first film, and he displays an enormous confidence in the direction of this hypnotizing and realistic look into the life of a Bengali family struggling with poverty as witnessed by the eyes of an eight year-old boy.

Carlos Magalhães
Carlos Magalhães

Super Reviewer


it's hard to believe satyajit ray and his cinematographer had never worked on a film before this. they had observed renoir filming the river and with his encouragement and the inspiration of italian neorealism made this poetic masterpiece about life in a small bengal village circa 1920, a really timeless film. i love films about india and i'm looking forward to the rest of this series. there's huge natural talent at work here

Stella Dallas
Stella Dallas

Super Reviewer

[font=Century Gothic]"Pather Panchali" is the first part of Satyajit Ray's Apu trilogy. This film focuses on a poor family with a prestigious past living in rural India. The father has dreams of becoming a writer/poet/playwright, even as he accepts a job to do a landowner's accounts to support his family.(It should be noted that we rarely see him or any of the other men of the village.) However, he does have a kind heart, one that clashes with the reality of the situation.[/font] [font=Century Gothic][/font] [font=Century Gothic]"Pather Panchali" is really a simple, uiniversal story, about a struggling family. There is not a lot of plot to speak of; it is much more character driven. I thought the camerawork was very graceful. The film quietly builds up to its powerful climax. [/font]

Walter M.
Walter M.

Super Reviewer

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