Merry Christmas Mr Lawrence

Merry Christmas Mr Lawrence

Nagisa Oshima (1982)

bbfc_rating|ages_15_and_over Certificate


Our Score
Nagisa Oshima, the most controversial director of the Japanese New Wave, made his English-language debut with this affecting story set in a PoW camp during the Second World War. Tom Conti stars as a bilingual prisoner who is forced to act as intermediary between commandant Ryuichi Sakamoto and his sadistic number two Takeshi "Beat" Kitano, and the blustering British CO Jack Thompson. Treading carefully in matters of duty and culpability, Oshima creates credible and complex characters, who are played with distinction by his international cast. If you can excuse the sight of the then 35-year-old David Bowie in a school uniform, this will prove most rewarding.


In a Japanese PoW camp during World War Two, complex relationship develop between captors and prisoners. A rebellious soldier finds himself at loggerheads with the commandant, while a bilingual captive ends up acting as intermediary between the two sides. Drama, starring David Bowie, Tom Conti, Ryuichi Sakomoto, Takeshi Kitano, Jack Thompson, Johnny Okura and Alistair Browning.

Cast & Crew

Major Jack "Straffer" Celliers David Bowie
Colonel John Lawrence Tom Conti
Captain Yonoi Ryuichi Sakamoto
Sergeant Gengo Hara Takeshi Kitano
Group Captain Hicksley Jack Thompson
Kanemoto Johnny Okura
De Jong Alistair Browning
Celliers's brother James Malcolm
Celliers, aged 12 Chris Broun
Director Nagisa Oshima
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Other Information

Language: EnglishColourGuidance: Contains violence and swearing. Available on: video, DVD and Blu-ray