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Merry Christmas Mr Lawrence

  • 1982
  • Nagisa Oshima
  • 118 mins

Summary

Second World War drama set in a Japanese PoW camp, starring David Bowie, Tom Conti and Ryuichi Sakamoto. Java, 1942: a young Japanese camp commandant tries to impose strict discipline on his captives. At the same time he holds a grudging respect for the prisoners' liaison officer, Colonel Lawrence, who can speak Japanese. But the arrival of a new British prisoner, Major Jack Celliers, initiates a stern test of will for both sides.

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Review

A star rating of 4 out of 5.

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.

How to watch

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Credits

Cast

rolename
Major Jack "Straffer" CelliersDavid Bowie
Colonel John LawrenceTom Conti
Captain YonoiRyuichi Sakamoto
Sergeant Gengo HaraTakeshi Kitano
Group Captain HicksleyJack Thompson
KanemotoJohnny Okura
De JongAlistair Browning
Celliers's brotherJames Malcolm
Celliers, aged 12Chris Broun

Crew

rolename
DirectorNagisa Oshima

Details

Languages
English
Guidance
Contains violence and swearing.
Available on
video, DVD and Blu-ray
Formats
Colour
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