Odetta Mcevoy

Written by Odetta Mcevoy

Modified & Updated: 01 Jun 2024

Sherman Smith

Reviewed by Sherman Smith

Source: mubi.com

Ugetsu is a timeless masterpiece that has captivated audiences for generations. Released in 1953, this Japanese film directed by Kenji Mizoguchi tells a haunting and poignant tale set in feudal Japan. The film weaves together themes of love, loss, and the spiritual realm, creating a mesmerizing experience for viewers.

Ugetsu is renowned for its exceptional storytelling, breathtaking cinematography, and powerful performances. It has garnered critical acclaim and has been hailed as one of the greatest films in cinema history. Its unique blend of fantasy and realism, coupled with its thought-provoking narrative, establishes Ugetsu as a must-see movie for any film enthusiast.

In this article, we will delve into 36 fascinating facts about Ugetsu, shedding light on its production, impact, and the enduring legacy it has left on the world of cinema.

Key Takeaways:

  • “Ugetsu” is a haunting Japanese film set in feudal Japan, blending love, war, and supernatural elements. Its stunning visuals and emotional depth continue to inspire filmmakers worldwide.
  • This classic movie explores the complexities of human nature, the consequences of greed, and the fleeting nature of happiness. Its enigmatic ending leaves room for interpretation and reflection.
Table of Contents

Ugetsu is a Japanese movie

Ugetsu is a classic Japanese film directed by Kenji Mizoguchi.

It was released in 1953

The movie Ugetsu was released in 1953, becoming one of the most celebrated films of the era.

The film is based on two short stories

Ugetsu is based on two ghost stories written by Ueda Akinari: “The House in the Thicket” and “The Lust of the White Serpent.

It is set in feudal Japan

The story takes place in 16th century Japan, during a time of political unrest and conflict.

The movie explores themes of love and war

Ugetsu delves into the impact of war on personal relationships and the consequences of pursuing one’s desires.

The film won the Silver Lion award

Ugetsu received the Silver Lion award at the 1953 Venice Film Festival, bringing international recognition to Japanese cinema.

Ugetsu is considered a masterpiece of Japanese cinema

The movie is widely regarded as one of the greatest Japanese films ever made, known for its stunning visual imagery and captivating storytelling.

It was restored and re-released in 2018

In 2018, Ugetsu underwent a restoration process to preserve its original quality, allowing new audiences to experience its timeless allure.

The film is a blend of historical drama and supernatural elements

Ugetsu combines elements of historical drama and the supernatural, creating a unique and spellbinding cinematic experience.

The movie showcases the talents of renowned Japanese actors

Ugetsu features performances by esteemed actors such as Masayuki Mori, Machiko Ky?, Kinuyo Tanaka, and Eitaro Ozawa.

Ugetsu is known for its cinematography

The movie is praised for its exquisite cinematography, with beautifully composed shots and atmospheric lighting.

The film’s score enhances the storytelling

The haunting musical score of Ugetsu adds an extra layer of emotion and atmosphere to the narrative.

It received critical acclaim upon release

Ugetsu was met with widespread critical acclaim, earning praise for its exceptional storytelling and visual craftsmanship.

The movie has influenced numerous filmmakers

Ugetsu has had a significant impact on filmmakers around the world, inspiring them with its artistic vision and narrative depth.

The film’s title translates to “Tales of Moonlight and Rain”

The Japanese title “Ugetsu Monogatari” translates to “Tales of Moonlight and Rain,” reflecting the film’s mystical themes.

Ugetsu explores the blurred lines between reality and fantasy

The movie delves into the concept of the supernatural, blurring the boundaries between the real world and the world of spirits.

The movie’s narrative is driven by the characters’ ambitions

In Ugetsu, the characters’ desires and ambitions propel the storyline forward, leading them on unpredictable paths.

It is a tale of sacrifice and redemption

Ugetsu delves into themes of sacrifice and redemption, exploring the characters’ journey towards finding peace and forgiveness.

The movie highlights the repercussions of greed

Ugetsu portrays the devastating consequences of greed and the dangers of succumbing to one’s desires.

Ugetsu is considered a classic of the jidaigeki genre

The film falls under the jidaigeki genre, which refers to period dramas set in feudal Japan.

Ugetsu was a box office success in Japan

The movie performed well at the Japanese box office, attracting a large audience and gaining commercial success.

It received an Academy Award nomination

Ugetsu was nominated for Best Costume Design at the 1954 Academy Awards, further highlighting its artistic achievements.

The film balances romance and tragedy

Ugetsu explores the delicate balance between romance and tragedy, weaving together moments of love and heartbreak.

The movie’s cinematography captures the essence of Japan’s natural landscapes

Ugetsu showcases the beauty of Japan’s natural landscapes, with stunning shots of mountains, lakes, and forests.

It portrays the harsh realities of war

The film depicts the brutalities of war and the impact it has on communities and individuals.

Ugetsu blends elements of Japanese folklore

The movie incorporates elements of Japanese folklore and mythology, adding depth and richness to the storytelling.

It explores the complexities of human nature

Ugetsu delves into the complexities of human nature, showcasing the characters’ flaws, desires, and inner conflicts.

The film’s pacing adds to its haunting atmosphere

Ugetsu is known for its deliberate pacing, which enhances the eerie and mysterious atmosphere of the story.

It is a tale of love, loss, and illusion

The movie revolves around themes of love, loss, and the illusions one creates to find solace in difficult times.

Ugetsu has been praised for its emotional depth

The movie has been lauded for its emotional depth, captivates viewers and evokes a range of feelings.

The film’s haunting images linger in the viewer’s mind

Ugetsu’s striking visual imagery leaves a lasting impression, with haunting images that stay with the viewer long after watching.

It is considered a quintessential Japanese ghost story

Ugetsu embodies the spirit of Japanese ghost stories, with its atmospheric setting and supernatural elements.

The movie has been analyzed for its feminist themes

Ugetsu has been studied for its portrayal of women’s roles in society and its commentary on gender dynamics.

It is a meditation on the fleeting nature of happiness

Ugetsu explores the transitory nature of happiness and the illusions people create to find fleeting moments of joy.

The movie’s ending leaves room for interpretation

Ugetsu concludes with an enigmatic ending, allowing viewers to question the nature of reality and the characters’ fates.

Ugetsu continues to inspire generations of filmmakers

The movie’s enduring legacy is evident in the works of contemporary filmmakers who draw inspiration from its artistic achievements.


Ugetsu is a masterpiece of Japanese cinema that continues to captivate audiences around the world. Its timeless themes, beautiful visuals, and powerful storytelling make it a must-watch for film enthusiasts. From its historical backdrop to the talented cast and crew, Ugetsu is a film that continues to prove its significance in the world of cinema. Whether you are a fan of Japanese cinema or simply appreciate thought-provoking and visually stunning films, Ugetsu is a movie that should not be missed.


1. What is the plot of Ugetsu?
Ugetsu follows the story of two couples, Genjuro and Miyagi, and Tobei and Ohama, during the civil wars in 16th-century Japan. The film explores their individual desires and ambitions, and how their lives are affected by the war and encounters with the supernatural.2. Who directed Ugetsu?
Ugetsu was directed by Kenji Mizoguchi, a renowned Japanese filmmaker known for his masterful storytelling and exploration of social issues.3. When was Ugetsu released?
Ugetsu was released in Japan in 1953, where it garnered critical acclaim. It later gained international recognition and has since become a beloved classic.4. Is Ugetsu based on a book?
Yes, Ugetsu is based on two short stories from Akinari Ueda’s collection of supernatural tales called “Ugetsu Monogatari.”5. What are the main themes of Ugetsu?
Ugetsu explores themes of love, dreams, ambition, the afterlife, and the consequences of war. It also delves into the concept of the ephemeral nature of happiness and the price one pays for their desires.6. Did Ugetsu win any awards?
Yes, Ugetsu won the Silver Lion award for Best Director at the 1953 Venice Film Festival, solidifying its place as a groundbreaking film in Japanese cinema.7. How did Ugetsu influence future filmmakers?
Ugetsu is highly regarded for its innovative storytelling techniques and atmospheric cinematography. It has inspired many filmmakers, both in Japan and internationally, and continues to be studied and analyzed in film schools around the world.8. Is Ugetsu available to watch outside of Japan?
Yes, Ugetsu is widely available on various streaming platforms and can be enjoyed by a global audience.

If you're captivated by the haunting beauty of Ugetsu, why not explore more cinematic gems? Delve into the enchanting world of Chinese ghost stories or discover the timeless charm of Jane Austen's classic film adaptation, Pride & Prejudice. For those who crave more supernatural films, The Curse of the Cat People offers a fascinating blend of horror and psychological drama.

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