There Was a Father (1942)



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Movie Info

A widowed high school teacher finds that the more he tries to do what is best for his son's future, the more they are separated.


Chishu Ryu
as Shuhei Horikawa
Shin Saburi
as Yasutaro Kurokawa
Takeshi Sakamoto
as Makoto Hirata

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Critic Reviews for There Was a Father

All Critics (9) | Top Critics (3)

Within the framework of the aching melodrama the director daringly highlights the weight of tradition and duty that crushes the individual spirit.

Jan 21, 2014 | Full Review…

A delicate, straightforward exhortation to duty and sacrifice, presented with both humor and a kind of unforced serenity.

Oct 18, 2008 | Full Review…

The issue of separation acquired a particular poignancy in wartime, it goes without saying, but Ryu's stoic underplaying offers a heartbreaking performance for the ages.

Oct 18, 2008 | Full Review…

... an indisputable masterpiece, a work of grace and simplicity that feels as timeless now as it was timely then.

Aug 11, 2010 | Full Review…

a poignant, even tragic portrait of the nature of sacrifice

Jul 16, 2010 | Rating: 3.5/4 | Full Review…

An almost unwittingly political, (unusual for Ozu) as well as artistic, triumph.

Jul 16, 2010 | Full Review…

Audience Reviews for There Was a Father

a vastly underrated ozu classic. there was a surprising political element, rare for ozu even during the wartime censorship, but that didnt overwhelm the film or detract form the powerful premise at all. as a parent, this film is gut wrenching. a father maintains a surprising level of affection from his son despite hampering their relationship as he punishes himself for a mistake made while his son was a young boy. the culture of japan at the time is portrayed with clarity that is educational for us today, and the ozu trademarks that become more evident later in his career appear in this film in spurts. ryu is his usual steady self, and the film hits home well in a short and effective running time.

danny d
danny d

Super Reviewer

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