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A Soldier's Prayer

Now Playing 3h 10m Drama List
Reviews 97% Audience Score 500+ Ratings
Illness and fatigue force a World War II Japanese soldier to surrender to the Russians. Read More Read Less
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Critics Reviews

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Matthew Connolly Slant Magazine The film possesses a restless vitality, with hard cuts juxtaposing abject brutality with pastoral tranquility and romantic longing. Rated: 4/4 Jun 17, 2021 Full Review Robert Ham PopMatters It's in the final act of this engrossing, breathtaking journey that Kobayashi makes his deepest impact. Rated: 8/10 Jul 20, 2021 Full Review Read all reviews

Audience Reviews

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Dani G Good closure to the trilogy. Lots of angst, suffering, tragedy.... Not all can be happy endings Rated 3.5 out of 5 stars 08/28/23 Full Review Audience Member An emotionally devastating conclusion to Masaki Kobayashi's majestic Human Condition Trilogy. Rated 4.5 out of 5 stars 02/02/23 Full Review Audience Member At the end of the second film, Kaji's battalion has been decimated by Soviet tanks and he and a tiny handful of other soldiers remain alive but unwilling to rejoin the army. Kaji leads them toward South Manchuria (where he hopes his wife Michiko is still alive and waiting) and along the way they pick up a ragtag band of other refugees. They wander aimlessly through the forest and some die of starvation. Kaji is like a man possessed and his original humanism is overwhelmed by a desire to survive and to re-join Michiko, leading him to strike first when Soviet soldiers and hostile Chinese peasants get in their way. Ultimately, they are captured and, ironically, Kaji ends up in a POW labor camp not all that different from the one he managed in the first film of the trilogy. Despite their socialist orientation, the Soviets use similar inhumane tactics, further dispiriting Kaji. Regaining his humanist impulse, he tries to stand up for his rights and those of his fellow prisoners. However, when this fails, he takes justice into his own hands and then attempts to flee to Michiko through the harsh Manchurian winter. It doesn't end well. So, as the trilogy closes (9 hours later), I find myself reeling from its bitter look at humankind. Even those of us most noble and sincerely interested in the welfare of others can be beaten down by war, by man's inhumanity to man, by the callousness of those in power to those beneath them or different from them. Failure to live up to ideals, even when few others try, can lead to discouragement, self-loathing, alienation, and death. Kaji's trials provide Kobayashi with a microcosm that stands in for larger existential issues that face us all. The human condition may be one in which it proves difficult to avoid self-defeating compromises and accompanying angst. But we've got to try. Rated 4 out of 5 stars 02/04/23 Full Review Audience Member "There is nothing more pitiful than the women of a defeated nation!" So is the tragic destiny of PFC Kaji in the final chapter of Kobayashi's Human Condition trilogy. Overwhelming and desperate. Rated 5 out of 5 stars 01/24/23 Full Review Audience Member Beautiful MOVIE!!!!!!!!! Rated 5 out of 5 stars 02/27/23 Full Review Audience Member This is a fascinating movie and i think that i am still feeling effect of the movie on my personality. I never imagined that even a movie can effect someone so much,and also there is feeling that what should be an excellent human condition ( as shown by Kaji and his wife) and what is prevailing human condition as we see around us. I have deep regards for all the crew of the movie who provided us a worth seeing and personality effecting movie. I dedicate all I have learned to the director of movie Masaki Kobayashi. I recommend all serious movie viewers to kindly must see this movie and try to learn from it. Rated 5 out of 5 stars 02/02/23 Full Review Read all reviews
A Soldier's Prayer

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Cast & Crew

Movie Info

Synopsis Illness and fatigue force a World War II Japanese soldier to surrender to the Russians.
Masaki Kobayashi
Masaki Kobayashi, Shigeru Wakatsuki
Jumpei Gomikawa, Koichi Inagaki, Masaki Kobayashi, ZenzĂ´ Matsuyama
Image Entertainment Inc., Miramax Films
Production Co
Original Language
Release Date (Theaters)
Aug 5, 1970, Wide
3h 10m
Sound Mix