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Grave of the Fireflies ( Hotaru no haka ) (1988) Movie Information

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Grave of the Fireflies ( Hotaru no haka ) (1988)
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Anime, War





Theater Date:



Isao Takahata


Rhoda Chrosite
J. Robert Spencer
Veronica Taylor
Amy Jones
Tsutomu Tatsumi
Ayano Shiraishi





Plot Outline:

During WWII, a brother and his young sister are forced to survive on their own after their mother is killed in an air raid and they shun their other relatives.

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Quick Movie Reviews

Camper 07/02/2013 (0 of 0 found this helpful)

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So I remember watching this movie for the first time when I was nine....My dad just saw that it was animated and we all like Japanese films so he didn't take the time to read the back cover. It was pretty intense for a nine year old, the mother dies within the first half hour- you see her body covered in bandages and flies are circling around her, and the scenes toward the end are extremely depressing. It's not the sort of things that you would normally find in an animated film, but it all works very well.

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mitchellyoung 08/02/2011 (0 of 0 found this helpful)

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This may be my favorite Miyazaki film. It is a magical and visual film that, at the same time, is telling a very real and heartbreaking story of poverty during wartime. It's rare to find such insight and adult themes treated with such wisdom, especially in an animated film.

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GJ81 03/28/2009 (0 of 0 found this helpful)

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I'd read up on this film prior to watching it and with everyone saying its the saddest film you'll ever see, my sceptism rose and thought to myself, I've probably seen sadder. Not so. By the end i was in utter shock at what i'd just seen. It is absolutelty heartbreaking. There are several moments throughout that are just beautifully done, and by the end it has you completely.

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aknudse2 09/20/2008 (0 of 0 found this helpful)

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Grave of the Fireflies is a poignant tale of two orphans suffering during war and how hard times can harden hearts. At times, my tears flowed freely, and, even during lighter moments, the shadow of death did not stray far. The film reminded me of "Life is Beautiful" with the child protagonists' determination to draw upon the joy of existence even amidst helpless suffering. Don't be deterred by the "anime" genre. This is an extraordinarily moving film.

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Full Movie Reviews

  Daniel Corleone
Daniel Corleone
Movie God

09/08/2012 (0 of 0 found this helpful)

Grave of the Fireflies (Hotaru no haka)

Admittedly, this critic is not a huge fan of anime's so browsing for the best on this site is very helpful (just to avoid the bad ones). Truly a film that is even better than most drama/war films, it's impossible to not get emotional after viewing this. It's bountiful symbolisms and subjects represented is worth viewing. More about that throught this review. Victims of World War II 14-year-old Seita and his young 4-year-old sister Setsuko stay with their aunt. The pair experience the unfortunae events that befall them. Things worsen as the days go by for Setsuko and Seita when they leave their relative. They utilize fireflies for light when they transfer.

Gorgeous cinematography for its genre with a very dark yet realistic flick. Symbolisms of the fireflies onscreen was fantasti...

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Movie Star

05/31/2009 (0 of 0 found this helpful)

Heartbreaking. An absolute masterpiece.

Truly one of Studio Ghibli's greatest crowning achievements, GRAVE OF THE FIREFLIES is a brilliant masterpiece fully deserving of a place in any of the best movies ever made. Directed by Isao Takahata, the film follows two Japanese children struggling to survive in the aftermath of World War II. Having lost their home and mother, they at first stay with a bitter, self-serving relative, but ultimately decide to run away to a cave. Both try by all means to live off of vegetables or whatever food they can afford to trade and/or steal, to no avail. Normally one would think of this subject as more appropriate for live-action, but GRAVE OF THE FIREFLIES proves that it can be told through the art of animation as well. This is no mindless showcase of gorgeous visuals--although the artistic merits...

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Recent Movie Talk Forum Posts


grave of the fireflies is really a good movie. it is just not any ani movie.
10:42 pm CT

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Grave of the Fireflies is a great movie. I'm glad Spirited Away shows up in the conversation also since it should have been nominated for a best picture Oscar, not just best aniumated, in 2003. Hopefully people will catch on though.
5:50 pm CT

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  Chris Kavan
Chris Kavan
There is a small but very vocal group of people who won't shut up about how cool anime is.. to the point of embarrassment.  These uber-fans give anime a bad name and, unfortunately, are the ones most people associate the genre with.

Anime, is simply animation that comes from Japan. It's not homogenized.  Studio Ghibli, the company behind Grave of the Fireflies, creates amazing films, mostly helmed by Hayao Miyazaki - perhaps you recall Spirited Away won best animated feature film in 2003 - watch any Ghibli feature and you won't find it annoying in the least.

Yes, there are plenty of annoying dorks out there who will talk ceaslessly about how awesome some stupid show is - but if that's what you base all anime on, then you are missing out on some great animation and filmaking.

9:09 am CT

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Aspiring Actress
Why is it considered Anime then?  And what is the definition of Anime. I think most people don't like it because it is annoying as crap....and big dorks talk about it all the time.
10:25 pm CT

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  Chris Kavan
Chris Kavan
Okay, I'm tired of seeing so many people who have Anime as their least favorite genre on here.

For everyone who thinks that Anime is A) a bunch of people screaming and fighting for no reason B) adorable kiddie fare or C) sick, twisted pornography - I implore you - nay - I DEMAND you watch Grave of the Fireflies.

This is completely human and achingly sad. Heck, this, for me, ranks near Schindler's List as one of the hardest movies to watch.  You will forget this is animated by the times it's over and if you don't feel anything then you're truly a heartless.

So, for anyone who assumes that all anime is Pokemon or Sailor Moon or Dragonball Z or Naruto - just give this a shot.  I guarantee it will change your entire outlook.

9:45 pm CT

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