Grave of the Fireflies
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Grave of the Fireflies (1988)

Grave of the Fireflies
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In the latter part of World War II, a boy and his sister, orphaned when their mother is killed in the firebombing of Tokyo, are left to survive on their own in what remains of civilian life in Japan. The plot follows this boy and his sister as they do their best to survive in the Japanese countryside, battling hunger, prejudice, and pride in their own quiet, personal battle.

Original Title:火垂るの墓
Release Date:April 16, 1988
Runtime:
MPAA Rating:M
Genres:Animation, Drama, Family, War
Production Company:Studio Ghibli, Shinchosha Company
Production Countries:Japan
Director:Isao Takahata, Yoshiyuki Momose
Writers:,
Casts:, , ,
Plot Keywords:japan, loss of family, loss of father, hunger, world war ii, shelter, boy, sister, food, wartime, tokyo japan, little girl, death, starving
  • The best movie you'll never want to see again
    August 26, 2001
    I had the fortune of being able to see Hotaru no Haka on the big-screen in Seattle a couple of years ago. It was truly the high-point of my film festival excursions. At the end of the movie, there was silence, absolute and total silence in the theater - and then, only an occasional sniffle until the end credits had finished rolling and the house lights came up. It would've seemed almost disrespectful to profane the silence with words.
    Seeing a movie like this really changes attitudes about war - about who really suffers, and that the honor and glory is shallow comfort when you contemplate what has been lost in the struggle.
    I've made the comment to my friends that if you ever see someone who isn't moved (usually to tears) by this movie, you've found someone without a soul. As difficult as it is to watch, turn off the phone, dim the lights, and immerse yourself in the film with ones you love - you will be a better person for it in the end.
    There are many other reviews of this movie, and most of them are probably far more comprehensive than my own - I'll conclude by saying that this movie should required viewing at some point (as should the peace museums at Hiroshima and Nagasaki) for everyone.
    When you see war and conflict in the news or read about it in the paper, think back to this movie - your perspective will probably be broadened, and your eyes opened a bit more.
    I've only watched this movie about 4 times - it usually takes a year or so to "decompress" after watching it. To see it too often would lessen the impact, and that would be the worst possible thing to do to this movie.