Grave of the Fireflies

Grave of the Fireflies

4.8 32
Director: Isao Takahata

Cast: Isao Takahata, Tsutomu Tatsumi, Ayano Shiraishi


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Grave of the Fireflies opens on an evening in 1945, after Japan's surrender at the end of World War II; and in a train station, the young Seita dies alone. The rest of the movie tells us, in flashback, how things have come to this. Seita and Setsuko are two young Japanese children growing up in the waning days of World War II. Much to Seita's pride, their…  See more details below


Grave of the Fireflies opens on an evening in 1945, after Japan's surrender at the end of World War II; and in a train station, the young Seita dies alone. The rest of the movie tells us, in flashback, how things have come to this. Seita and Setsuko are two young Japanese children growing up in the waning days of World War II. Much to Seita's pride, their father is in the Japanese navy, and they live fairly content lives in Kobe despite rationing and the other privations of war. When their mother dies from burns suffered during an American fire-bombing raid, a distant aunt takes them in -- and conflict eventually forces the children to try to survive on their own. At first, Seita and his little sister enjoy their idyllic lives in the country, but harsh reality eventually settles in as Seita begins to understand the difficulties of taking care of a young child when both food and compassion are scarce. ~ Emru Townsend

Editorial Reviews

Barnes & Noble
In his list entitled "Great Movies: The First 100," film critic Roger Ebert saw fit to name only two anime titles. The first was Hayao Miyazaki's family-friendly fantasy film My Neighbor Totoro. The second was Grave of the Fireflies, an altogether more serious and perhaps ultimately more meaningful affair. This 1988 film, based on a partially autobiographical novel by Akiyuki Nosaka, follows the heartbreaking story of a prideful teenage boy and his four-year-old sister during World War II, when massive firebombing of the Japanese mainland was a regular occurrence. After both their parents die, the now-homeless pair struggle for basic amenities such as food and shelter during Japan's bleakest era. Quiet, intense, and never emotionally manipulative, Fireflies is a great film for reasons both artistic and otherwise, not the least of which is director Isao Takahata's ability to graft genuine human drama onto a grim chapter of history that is often overshadowed by the atomic bombings of Hiroshima and Nagasaki. The two-DVD Collector's Series Edition of Grave of the Fireflies features a wealth of extras, including original storyboards, a number of essays, and interviews with director Takahata, novelist Nosaka, and Ebert himself. Volk Lindsay
All Movie Guide
With very little in the way of action or combat scenes, Grave of the Fireflies is easily one of the most harrowing and riveting war movies ever made. Based on Akiyuki Nosaka's semi-autobiographical novel of the same name, Grave of the Fireflies is an examination of the horrors that war can inflict, even far away from the battles between soldiers. At the same time, it's a heartfelt look at a bond between a brother and sister that can't be broken, even by death. Like Keiji Nakazawa's autobiographical Barefoot Gen, Grave of the Fireflies is remarkable in that it clearly and sympathetically presents the victims of American actions on Japanese civilians, yet never veers into finger-pointing or national shame. Rather, the movie is an indictment of selfish civilian behavior during wartime, and an admonishment against the wars that create these conditions in the first place. It's interesting to note that in Japan, the movie was originally double-billed with Hayao Miyazaki's postwar fable My Neighbor Totoro.

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Product Details

Release Date:
Original Release:
Central Park Media
Region Code:
[Wide Screen]
[Dolby Digital Stereo]

Special Features

Anamorphic widescreen format; Alternate angle storyboards; Previews; English & Japanese with English subtitles

Related Subjects

Cast & Crew

Performance Credits
Tsutomu Tatsumi Seita
Ayano Shiraishi Setsuko

Technical Credits
Isao Takahata Director,Screenwriter
Joey Goubeaud Executive Producer
Toru Hara Producer
Nobuo Koyama Cinematographer
John Ledford Executive Producer
Michio Mamiya Score Composer
Akiyuki Nosaka Original Story
John O'Donnell Executive Producer
Ryouichi Sato Executive Producer
Takeshi Seyama Editor
Stephanie Shalofsky Producer
Eiichi Takahashi Executive Producer
Yasuo Uragami Sound/Sound Designer
Nizo Yamamoto Art Director

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Scene Index

Side #1 --
1. Opening [8:00]
2. Town in Flames [8:00]
3. Mama's Hurt [6:56]
4. Welcome Home [6:56]
5. War Effort [6:59]
6. White Rice [6:59]
7. So Selfish [8:22]
8. Fireflies [8:22]
9. Uh-oh [8:37]
10. Air Raid [8:37]
11. Rice Balls [7:43]
12. The Funeral [7:43]


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Grave of the Fireflies 4.8 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 32 reviews.
PakiII More than 1 year ago
This movie is excellent. It's not "brutal," it's touching and honest. The viewer who purchased it for his seven-year-old daughter and then gave the movie only one star because it was more than she could handle should receive one star as a parent. Did he not read the overview before purchasing it for her? Just because he was careless as a parent doesn't mean the movie only deserves one star. It is the most poignant movie I have ever seen, despite the fact that it's animated. It reminds the viewer of what truly matters in life. It inspires empathy and depth. Great for any person twelve and over.
Noah Love More than 1 year ago
So honest and real, only the Japanese have the courage to make an animation as mature as this one. But it is easily one of the greatest animation films that I have ever seen in my life and quite possibly one of the greatest films ever. Two people struggling to survive, struggling to stay alive, fighting a losing battle. And they are children. Heart wrenching, this film shows the affects of war on people in an extremely raw and beautiful film. And once again, IT IS AN ANIMATION! You will never underestimate what animation can do after seeing this and even other Studio Ghibli works such as Spirited Away. I was completely entranced and moved and just so into the realistic characters and raw emotion of this movie. A movie that moved and touched me so much, made me cry so hard that I will never forget this masterpiece. I cannot find one flaw with Grave of the Fireflies. Watch it and you will not be disappointed. But don't think that kids can watch it because it is a "cartoon." Seriously, this is a very mature, extremely emotional and sometimes hard to watch film. 13-14+ for ages who should watch it in my honest opinion..
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
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Guest More than 1 year ago
This is the saddest and most moving movie I have ever seen on any medium. The moment I see the title, my eyes just water recalling the trials and tribulations of Seita and Setsuko. For any person who thinks that war is a ''glorious'' thing, they should watch this film. This film was produced by Studio Ghibli, the same studio that produced such classics as Kiki's Delivery Service and My Neighbor Totoro as well as the Recent Princess Momonoke. For those you familiar with these titles, you know that this film is NOT one to be missed. For those of you new to Japanese Animation (ANIME, in short) all of the above titles are family friendly (for the most part) and are all great works to enjoy. This movie though should be reserved to teenagers and up due to subject matter. SPOILERS (hopefully minor - perhaps major) This anime focuses on two children who are orphaned in Japan after a US air raid. The stoic, 14 year old Seita bears the responsibility of taking care of his 4 year old sister, Setsuko. The story begins in a flshback as we see the dead/dying Seita in a railway station recalling his sister when she was alive. The story then proceeds as a long flashback to the events a few weeks/months prior. I do have some technical gripes with the DVD itself. The transfer seems to have come from a older film, and thus the picture does suffer slightly. Also, the English voice acting for English dialogue was only passable; I was expecting better ''dubbing'' for a dvd but was sadly mistaken. Also, the sound in the Japanese version seems to be slightly muted versus the English version. But these are all minor faults in a work that is so emotionally wrenching. The animation here is superb. Using muted colors for this work, Isao Takahata creates an ambiance so real and emotionally true that we often forget that the characters are animated and not real. Watch Setsuko's actions during the movie, and you will see what I mean. DO NOT pass up this dvd because it is a ''cartoon''. Nothing could be further from the truth. Let this movie stand as a testament to war and its wrongness.
Guest More than 1 year ago
If you don't know anything about anime, it doesn't matter. This story stands on its own. Bring some tissues.
Guest More than 1 year ago
I don't watch movies a lot. I've seen my share of Anime and moving dramas, and none have touched me more than this. The special bond between 14-year old Seita and his 4-year old sister Setsuko is very touching. This is the story of two young children trying to survive while their country is at war. This movie is recommended to everyone.
Guest More than 1 year ago
I high recommend this soon to be classic, it is a powerful story of a brother and sister surviving during WWII, great animation and strong characters give tis its own life. Something to be watched time and again.
Guest More than 1 year ago
This anime proves why animation is not only for kiddy stuffs. This show is very sad and tragic, telling the story of two children trying to survive in the Allied-bombed Japan during WW2. The drawing is top-notch, even by today's standard. A classic.
Guest More than 1 year ago
very wel done very emotional, with all the family member who have died the last scene is the one that touched me most. dramatic at some point but very realistic with the evil aunt and the stealing food and selling material for the lil gurl's life, just very EMOTIONAL and WELL DONE!!!
Guest More than 1 year ago
I never liked animé. I don't know if I ever will completely like animé. Two movies changed my view of it: Grave of the Fireflies, and Spirited Away. Grave being one of the most tagic and sad movies I have seen....ever. It is a great war movie, and I don't usually like those either. It fits tragedy, love, and perseverance during two children's trial. It's a good movie, I do reccomend it. ---Joe
Guest More than 1 year ago
Grave of the Fireflies is a beautifully rendered, honest and tragic account of the true victims of war. I've never seen a movie so touching and so realistic. Takahata is a superb animator with unmatched vision and understanding for his audience and for the characters. Completely moving, and I highly recommend it for anyone who is skeptical in regards to the genre of Japanese anime. This film will convert even the most critical of movie buffs. A story of true survival and unconditional love.
Guest More than 1 year ago
For those of us who enjoy anime on a regular basis, we tend to lean toward the rather entertaining things. Like Inuyasha, or Ranma 1/2, the things that keep you laughing. But this, Grave of the Fireflies, convinced me that this is what anime is truely all about. Stories like this one, are supposed to pull at your heart strings. Just because it's animated, makes it no less the tearjerker.
Guest More than 1 year ago
I have seen many aname films, but this one has got to be the best and most emotional one of all. I considered myself and very masculine type of guy. Never would I thought that a aname can bring me to tears. Grave of the Fireflies have made me appreciate my life more now than ever.
Guest More than 1 year ago
Truly a remarkable anime movie. Grave of the Fireflies is so moving and so realistic as you see both brother and sister struggle to survive from day to day during WWII. With the loss of both parents there is no one to turn to as distant relatives mistreat both children. Focing Seita to fend for his younger sister Setsuko and find ways to keep both alive and good health. By the end of the War, not only does he lose his sister, but finally Seita gives up hope for living and eventually dies alone. A perpective view of the war from the eyes of the Japanese people....
Guest More than 1 year ago
Grave of the Fireflies is a great anime. I saw this one in Japanese many years ago, and could not resist to give thumbs up for the story. It has a deep and complex meaning and touch everyone's heart. It is a one to have type of thing
Guest More than 1 year ago
Cannot even begin to describe all the emotions that I felt throughout this movie. It touches simple human emotions in its purest form. Especially for those who have siblings, you can relate to the main character without effort. This is definitely a MUST SEE MOVIE.
Guest More than 1 year ago
The best in show in the catogary past films is going to 'Grave Of The Fireflies'.The movie just blew away I like to cry and so I love that movie!With its witting of cleverness to try and survive on his own. Seita and his sister just move on and it shows you how hard it was during war and why we should stop war.I loved it
Guest More than 1 year ago
Here is an example of why you should closely monitor what your kids watch, and be especially careful of movies that are marketed to children, because they might not be at all suitable. Although this movie won first prize for best animation in a children's film festival in Chicago, it is not suitable for young children to watch. Yes, it had technically wonderful animation, and a good musical score. But the topic was beyond anything I'd let my kids watch. It's about two Japanese children in 1945 near the end of WW-II. Their dad is away in the Japanese navy. Their town is being strafed by Allied planes. Their mom dies after a firestorm. They are on their own. Relatives initially take them in, then throw them out after taking their rations because they don't want to share food with them. They are starving. No one gives them food or help. The boy is badly beaten. They get sick. The boy finds that the entire navy has been sunk, meaning that their dad is dead. The girl dies of hunger and malnutrition in a damp cave. The boy later starves to death in a railway station, and his body is carted away with dozens of other kids by the janitors. This is not entertainment for children.
Guest More than 1 year ago
The grave of the fireflies is based on the novel by akiyuki nosaka, this movie shows the experiences of 2 young kids as they struggle to survive in world war 2 japan, this movie is the most humane in feeling, i enjoyed the direction of the movie as well as how everything that happens is really 'simple' but it is shown in such a way that its magnificent, completely enjoyable by older audiences and kids 12 plus, younger kids might not understand the nature of the film.
Guest More than 1 year ago
Before watching 'Grave of the Fireflies' I was told that the movie was very sad, but I effectively dismissed those comments as irrelevant as if they were coming only from those who cry easily. Once I began watching, though, I realized that 'Fireflies' was heartbreaking like no other. I was deeply shocked by how tightly the opening scene in the train station gripped me. More than a year after seeing the film, I can still feel my initial reaction to the mournful premise. Grave of the Fireflies suits anime aficionados and newbies alike. The characters educe empathy and the animation is extraordinary. If you have not seen it yet, then be prepared to watch a film that will surely move you.
Guest More than 1 year ago
I used to live in Japan when I was little, and around 95 or so, I saw this. My mom and dad were going to the party, and I never saw the end, but I've been dying to know what movie it was since. And I'll say this--the movie will be forever imprinted in my mind. Especially for a child, it's emotional, when you see the fire, when you see what happened to their mother, and how the boy ended up.
Guest More than 1 year ago
I'd say it's been 11 or more years since I watched this at my Japanese gradmother's house. I was probably nine or 10 years old. I still remember most of this movie and the way it made me feel it's a haunting sort of feeling. My little sister watched it as well and she was probably only six and she still remembers this movie, and I'm telling you, that girl can't remember yesterday. Yes, it's not really a childrens' story, but it's something children should know about in history. Not everyone has been as fortunate as they are today. This is truth, and unfortunate things can happen to the most innocent of souls.
Guest More than 1 year ago
I see and read lots of reviews here in the States and feel very sad about how this movie has been viewed and wrongly understood.. oh, not only this movie but other Miyazaki movies as well. Perhaps that is owed to the fact that many Americans do not know anthing about Japanese history. I am Japanese, born and raised in Japan. For those who watch this movie should consider this movie made NOT to entertain the animation fans!!! - believe me, but its true purpose is to give and teach the CHILDREN IN JAPAN how not to repeat the terrible war once our ancesters started in the First World War... remembering how many people had to die for the terrible and grave course of fate the Japanese history once underwent. My uncle died in Hiroshima when the atomic bomb fell from the sky. I know so many women and children were killed during the war, just like those kids in the movie.. thousands !! Unfortunately, today in Japan, the new and young generations of population have no recollection on those wars and lives lost in the past. Sad ! Simply because they were born in the peaceful time. Mr. Miyazaki said in Japan when this movie was made that the story should tell our kids "in Japan" a single but the most powerful message that "we shall NEVER go to the war". So now in Japan, we have the Amendament Clause 9 in our constitutions that we Japanese never possess nuclear weapons, will to the war and any supportive deads which cater or trigger the war that will end up repeating our past mistake all over again. This movie is showing our country's dark-side hisotry, but we the young people who don't know wars will definately get that message. I don't want to be any part of any war after watching this movie. More Americans and kids should watch this film hopefully America stops wars and there will be no more wars.