Ugetsu (Ugetsu monogatari) (1954)



Critic Consensus: With its thought-provoking themes, rich atmosphere, and brilliant direction, Kenji Mizoguchi's Ugetsu monogatari is a towering classic of world cinema.

Movie Info

Presented in a manner as eerie as it is heartbreaking, this film is a gorgeous supernatural fable about the folly of men with dreams larger than their abilities and their women who suffer as a result. Genjuro (Masuyaki Mori) is a potter who longs for wealth and luxury, while Tobei (Sakae Ozawa), a farmer, dreams of the glories of the samurai to the point of ignoring his wife. Though a war rages around them, they venture to town to sell their wares. Genjuro becomes bewitched by a beautiful though vengeful ghost (Machiko Kyo), while his wife is murdered by a soldier; Tobei becomes a noted warrior, while his wife descends into prostitution after being raped while searching for her husband. ~ Jonathan Crow, Rovi
Art House & International , Drama , Mystery & Suspense , Science Fiction & Fantasy
Directed By:
Written By:
In Theaters:
Edward Harrison

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Machiko Kyo
as Lady Wakasa
Masayuki Mori
as Genjuro Pottery Maker
Kinuyo Tanaka
as Miyagi Genjuro's Wife
Ikio Sawamura
as Genichi
Sakae Ozawa
as Tobei Genjuro's Brotherin-Law
Mitsuko Mito
as Ohama Tobei's Wife
Kikue Mori
as Ukon
Ryosuke Kagawa
as Village master
Sugisaku Aoyama
as Old Priest
Shozo Nanbu
as Shinto Priest
Kichijiro Ueda
as Shop Owner
Mitsusaburô Ramon
as Captain of Tamba Soldiers
Kichijiro Tsuchida
as Silk Merchant
Show More Cast

Critic Reviews for Ugetsu (Ugetsu monogatari)

All Critics (22) | Top Critics (6)

Tale of two men in seething 16th-century Japan has a color and panorama which makes this absorbing film fare.

Full Review… | September 16, 2008
Top Critic

A marvelously wise and moving classic, but also one full of sights that might make you cry, like Genjuro, 'I never imagined such pleasures existed!'

Full Review… | November 16, 2006
Chicago Tribune
Top Critic

A ravishingly composed, evocatively beautiful film.

Full Review… | February 8, 2006
Time Out
Top Critic

One of the greatest of all films.

Full Review… | August 12, 2004
Chicago Sun-Times
Top Critic

Kenji Mizoguchi, who directed, has a fantastic flexibility in using his actors and his camera, as witness his range in this film.

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

Densely plotted but as emotionally subtle as its name, Ugetsu is one of the great experiences of cinema.

Full Review… | December 31, 1999
Chicago Reader
Top Critic

Audience Reviews for Ugetsu (Ugetsu monogatari)

Beautiful morality tale. When dreaming with a better life becomes greater, blinding us, foreshadowing everything we have, and this seemingly improved life gained reveals itself as a mirage, a pile of nothingness, that's the only time people feel the urge to get back home. There are men so poor that the only thing they have is money.

Pierluigi Puccini
Pierluigi Puccini

Super Reviewer


From the Criterion Collection, Spine No. 309. Hailed by critics as one of the greatest films ever made, Kenji Mizoguchi's Ugetsu is an undisputed masterpiece of Japanese cinema. Set in the 16th Century, A family man farmer and craftsman Genjurô travels to Nagahama to sell his wares and makes a small fortune. His neighbor Tobei that is a fool man dreams on becoming a samurai, but he can not afford to buy the necessary outfit. So starts the story of 2 different men and the rise and fall. It takes a different person to watch and enjoy not only films from the Criterion Collection, but also it takes a little bit to watch and understand a fifties movie from Japan. But once you get into these movies your hooked. Please try one and enjoy. 4 1/2 stars.

Bruce Bruce
Bruce Bruce

Super Reviewer


i hadnt seen this film in a few years, and it was even better the second time. one of the best film presentations of what happens when a man puts ambition over the love and needs of his own family. mizoguchi is a master with the camera and the musical score heightened the ghost elements of the story perfectly. a phenomenal film.

danny d
danny d

Super Reviewer

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