• Every ten years since 1952, the world-renowned film magazine Sight & Sound has polled a wide international selection of film critics and directors about what they consider to be the ten greatest works of cinema ever made and compiled the results. The top fifty movies in the 2012 critics’ list, unveiled August 1, include twenty-five Criterion titles. In this series, we highlight those classic films.

    Not only was Yasujiro Ozu’s Tokyo Story ranked the third greatest film ever made in the critics’ poll (right below Vertigo and Citizen Kane), it came in first place in the directors’ poll. It’s clear: filmmakers continue to be influenced by Ozu, whose astonishing insights into the human condition are reflected in all his works. Tokyo Story, though, has long been held in particular esteem. Its every elegantly composed shot contains some poignant truth. Following an aging couple from the country as they visit their grown children in the city, only to be disillusioned by their offspring’s neglectful treatment of them, it’s a perfect distillation of Ozu’s pet theme of generational divide. Among its many filmmaking champions was the late Lindsay Anderson (If….), who in this 1993 interview (part of the documentary Talking with Ozu, available on our release of Tokyo Story) reminisces about first encountering Ozu in the fifties, thanks to a screening of Tokyo Story, and discusses the profound effect it had on him and on film itself.

    Above, Anderson mentions Ozu’s films’ displaying “an honesty that is constant.” This applies to moments both tragic and comic—Ozu is as beloved for his wryly observed humor as his wistfulness, and they are equally poignant. Here’s a scene that strikes a lovely balance between the two, when the father, Shukichi (Ozu regular Chishu Ryu), returns to his daughter’s hairdressing salon after a night of drinking with old friends.

13 comments

  • By Reeniop5
    August 10, 2012
    12:57 AM

    Any word when the Tokyo Story will be released in Blu Ray? Would love to own and watch it!
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    • By JS
      December 12, 2012
      05:47 PM

      It already is! BFI have released it.
  • By Justanothercrow
    August 10, 2012
    04:34 AM

    No better time to upgrade, Criterion. Make it happen!
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  • By theotanaka
    August 13, 2012
    05:42 PM

    Couldn't agree more! Tokyo Story deserves the Criterion Blu-ray treatment. Or should we expect Early Summer to be released first?
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  • By Batzomon
    August 14, 2012
    07:57 PM

    I just watched this film when the new list came out, and Ozu's self-comparison to a tofu-maker could not be more apt. Tokyo Story is simply told yet speaks to so much to the precious times we share and the memories left behind. And to think, Ozu makes it all seem like it's just another autumn afternoon, so relaxed his style is. Love his late work, gonna enjoy his pre-war films.
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  • By Michael Brakemeyer
    August 15, 2012
    02:01 AM

    Cannot think of a more deserving film taking the number one spot. It has such a universal appeal.
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  • By matu
    August 23, 2012
    11:58 PM

    ブルーレイ版について。 音声の改善が著しい。 場面1 急患のために東京見物が中止になり、腹を立てる子どもたち。部屋に集まる大人たちの後ろでしゃべる子供の声が明確に聞こえる。「お父さん往診があるんだってサ」 場面2 昔馴染みの知人と「おでん屋」で飲むシーン。まず路地の風景。野良犬が数匹走り、奥の通りをサラリーマン風の男二名が行き過ぎる、その会話。「3次会だって……」。このセリフで時間の経過が、たっぷり深夜に及んでいることが分かる。 場面3 紀子と義母がアパートを立ち去るシーン。ドアの鍵をしめる「カチッ」という音がはっきり聞こえる。 以上は以前のDVDでは聞けなかった音声である。 画質については、高解像度のため細部がよく再現されているものの、いわゆる”雨が降っている”箇所がかなり見られるのは残念。
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    • By Gord
      September 25, 2012
      08:38 PM

      I'll answer in English because I have no idea how to write Katakana (?) on this keyboard. I'll have to take your word on the sound quality - I confess I've never paid much attention to sound on DVDs as long as I could make out the dialogue - unless it was playful sound design on say a Kurasawa (nature sounds) or Bunuel (weird ephemera pregnant with hard-to-decipher meaning). When Blu-ray came out I then found myself enjoying everything including the music. I thought the picture quality was quite good Criterion, but I'm sure a Blu-ray update is on the way and it should be a marked improvement (the BFI Blu- looks pretty good). The film of course is his 2nd best, after Late Spring & Make Way for Tomorrow is my preferred version of this story. : )
  • By ER4SERHEAD
    August 24, 2012
    11:50 AM

    no kurosawa, no chaplin, 2 coppola's films O.O.....tokyo story a masterpiece but personally i prefer citizen kane for the number one off all time
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    • By Batzomon
      September 25, 2012
      07:40 PM

      Do you mean in the 50 greatest? Because there's Rashomon and Seven Samurai for Kurosawa and City Lights for Chaplin.
  • By brian
    April 09, 2013
    03:57 PM

    Speaking of which, when in the world are we going to get City Lights? Have I missed something?
    Reply
  • By Barry Moore
    July 22, 2013
    07:11 PM

    Ozu is probably my single favorite filmmaker, but I actually find 'Tokyo Story' to be relatively overrated in the surviving body of his work. 'I Was Born, But...', 'Passing Fancy', 'Late Spring', 'Early Summer', and 'The Flavor of Green Tea over Rice' all strike me as more substantive achievements. 'Tokyo Story' lacks a certain degree of subtlety that is so paramount in this most subtle of film artists.
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  • By oduyasu
    November 01, 2013
    01:21 AM

    The solutions of the riddles of Yasujiro Ozu "Tokyo Story" http://ameblo.jp/oduyasuji/
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