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

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.… More

Directed By:
Rated: Unrated
Running Time:
DVD Release Date: October 6, 1998
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Critic Score: 97% Rotten Tomatoes™ Critic Reviews

Consensus: An achingly sad anti-war film, Grave of the Fireflies is one of Studio Ghibli's most profoundly beautiful, haunting works.

J. R. Jones
Chicago Reader

Writer-director Isao Takahata, a frequent collaborator of Miyazaki's at Studio Ghibli, adapted a partly autobiographical novel by Akiyuki Nosaka, and his handling of the tragic story is masterfully understated.

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Christopher Runyon
Movie Mezzanine

Isao Takahata's masterpiece is one of the most profound anti-war statements ever brought to cinema

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Philip French
Observer (UK)

The stylised images suit the simplicity and gravity of a grim story of love, sacrifice and survival in the face of adult indifference and cruelty.

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Roger Ebert
Chicago Sun-Times

An emotional experience so powerful that it forces a rethinking of animation.

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David Nusair
Reel Film Reviews

...a well-made and heartfelt drama that's just not as engrossing as it should be.

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Charlotte O'Sullivan
London Evening Standard

We're so used to seeing the human spirit triumph. Here, we're allowed to understand how it might fail.

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Larushka Ivan-Zadeh
Metro (UK)

Once seen, this is seared in your heart, deep as your worst relationship break-up.

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Brian Gibson
Vue Weekly (Edmonton, Alberta)

Such odd hopefulness, flitting around a child, mixed with the overwhelmingly sad, pervades Isao Takahata's film. And all around Seita and Setsuko, nature, in the face of human destruction and tragedy, persists in its beauty.

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Steve Rose

There are magical moments of natural beauty and childish delight, too - which only make the tragedy even more harrowing.

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Flixster Audience Score: 95% Flixster User Reviews
Kevin M. Williams
This work follows a brother and sister trying to survive in Japan near the end of WW2. It walks a very careful line as it begs sympathy for Japan (through the… More
danny d
without question one of the saddest films i have ever seen. its films like this that have contributed so much to my near pacifism. the world is so dark, and… More
Carlos Magalh„es
A devastating animation that never holds back in its haunting depiction of the horrors of war and the people whose lives are destroyed by it, and the result… More
paul oh
Saying that its sad is such a broad term; a better way to describe the movie is emotional and overbearing at times.The story takes large dark turns that it… More
Christopher Heim
One of the saddest films of all time and one of the greatest anti-war films ever created (even if it wasn't director Isao Takahata's exact intentions… More
Jeremy Smith
Saddest film I have ever seen, and that's saying a lot. Winner of my Saddest Tearjerker Film.