6.7/10
13,258
193 user 96 critic

Snow Falling on Cedars (1999)

A Japanese-American fisherman is accused of killing his neighbor at sea. In the 1950s, race figures into the trial. So does reporter Ishmael.

Director:

Scott Hicks

Writers:

David Guterson (novel), Ronald Bass (screenplay) (as Ron Bass) | 1 more credit »
Nominated for 1 Oscar. Another 5 wins & 9 nominations. See more awards »

Photos

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Cast

Cast overview, first billed only:
Ethan Hawke ... Ishmael Chambers
Yûki Kudô ... Hatsue Miyamoto (as Youki Kudoh)
Reeve Carney ... Young Ishmael Chambers
Anne Suzuki ... Young Hatsue Imada
Rick Yune ... Kazuo Miyamoto
Max von Sydow ... Nels Gudmundsson (as Max Von Sydow)
James Rebhorn ... Alvin Hooks
James Cromwell ... Judge Fielding
Richard Jenkins ... Sheriff Art Moran
Arija Bareikis ... Susan Marie Heine
Eric Thal ... Carl Heine Jr.
Celia Weston ... Etta Heine
Daniel von Bargen ... Carl Heine Sr. (as Daniel Von Bargen)
Akira Takayama ... Hisao Imada
Ako ... Fujiko Imada
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Storyline

It's 1950 on San Pedro Island in the American Pacific Northwest. Commercial fisher Carl Heine Jr.'s dead body is pulled out of the water in a fishing net by his crew, he who died of head trauma. Kazuo Miyamoto is charged with his murder. Carl and Kazuo were once friends, had known each other since childhood, but WWII has placed a strain on any sort of relationship between the ethic Japanese and Caucasian populations of the area, the Japanese population which was and is still substantial on the island. Carl had motive regarding a land dispute between the two families, land which Carl's mother eventually sold from under the Miyamotos and which Carl had just repurchased. Evidence also points to Kazuo being on the water with Carl probably sometime during his last voyage, evidence which Kazuo knew would put him in a bad light, adding on top of being Japanese, and thus decided not to disclose to the investigating sheriff at the time he was questioned. Kazuo and his wife Hatsue's fear come ... Written by Huggo

Plot Summary | Plot Synopsis

Taglines:

From the director of 'Shine' See more »


Motion Picture Rating (MPAA)

Rated PG-13 for disturbing images, sensuality and brief strong language | See all certifications »

Parents Guide:

View content advisory »
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Details

Country:

USA

Language:

English | Japanese | German

Release Date:

7 January 2000 (USA) See more »

Also Known As:

Mientras nieva sobre los cedros See more »

Filming Locations:

Cathlamet, Washington, USA See more »

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Box Office

Budget:

$35,000,000 (estimated)

Opening Weekend USA:

$32,135, 26 December 1999

Gross USA:

$14,417,593

Cumulative Worldwide Gross:

$23,049,593
See more on IMDbPro »

Company Credits

Show more on IMDbPro »

Technical Specs

Runtime:

Sound Mix:

DTS | Dolby Digital | SDDS

Color:

Color

Aspect Ratio:

2.39 : 1
See full technical specs »
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Did You Know?

Trivia

The film, like the source novel, is set on San Piedro, a fictional island north of Puget Sound. There, the Anglo and Japanese-American populations have long lived in relative harmony - albeit within a tacit caste system in which immigrants, who are not permitted to own land, work Anglo berry farms. But Japan's shocking action electrifies, and divides, the community. Some people take advantage of their neighbors' tragedy, while others watch in silence as San Piedro's entire Japanese American population is sent into exile. See more »

Goofs

A Coast Guard form, reporting weather and shipping messages, in the lighthouse scene lists the Coast Guard as part of the Department of Transportation, which was created in 1960. The Coast Guard was under the Department of the Treasury until 1967. See more »

Quotes

Nels Gudmundsson: It takes a rare thing, a turning point, to free oneself from any obsession. Be it prejudice or hate, or, even love.
See more »

Crazy Credits

Jan Rubes and Sheila Moore are on the credits despite their scenes being deleted. See more »

Connections

Referenced in The Directors: The Films of Scott Hicks See more »

Soundtracks

Would You
Written by Johnny Burke, Jimmy Van Heusen
Performed by Bing Crosby
Courtesy of MCA Records under License from Universal Music Special Markets
See more »

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User Reviews

 
Graceful
5 November 2001 | by HitchcocSee all my reviews

This is one of those films that needs to be seen a second time to pick up on the subtleties of the plot. It is a feast for the eyes and features outstanding acting. It also has a sense of balance. It doesn't manipulate its viewer. The murder mystery isn't one that brings in forces that threaten the main character. The forces are prejudice and fear. The adversaries are not people carrying guns but rather the legal system that often overlooked the rights of people of another race or ethnic background. The internment camps are part of the backdrop. I know that people say this is slow, but so is the process these people faced.

I loved the intellectual character of the young man who has to look past his own feeling and try to bring closure to someone he will never be able to have. The transitions are so breathtaking. The winter scenes are a portrait of softness and violence. My wife had read the book upon which this is based and said that the movie might be interesting. Apparently, the producers were unwilling to go the extra mile to get this noticed. It's a gem and deserves to be on a list of very fine movies.


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