• Tokyo_story_current_large

    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.


  • 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!
  • By Justanothercrow
    August 10, 2012
    04:34 AM

    No better time to upgrade, Criterion. Make it happen!
  • 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?
  • 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.
  • 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.
  • 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?