Pather Panchali (1955)



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

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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
Art House & International , Drama
Directed By:
In Theaters:
Sony Pictures Classics

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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
Harimoran Nag
as Doctor
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News & Interviews for Pather Panchali

Critic Reviews for Pather Panchali

All Critics (39) | Top Critics (9)

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

Full Review… | May 3, 2015
New Yorker
Top Critic

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.

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

Satyajit Ray's beautiful first feature.

Full Review… | October 24, 2007
Chicago Reader
Top Critic

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

Full Review… | October 24, 2007
Top Critic

A masterpiece, inarguably.

Full Review… | June 23, 2006
Time Out
Top Critic

There are lovely little threads in the strange fabric. It's a film that takes patience to be enjoyed.

Full Review… | May 20, 2003
New York Times
Top Critic

Audience Reviews for Pather Panchali


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

India's greatest film is staggering in its depth of character but ultimately lacking in hope. This is of course not necessarily a bad thing.

John Ballantine
John Ballantine

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

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