Grave of the Fireflies

Grave of the Fireflies

By Isao Takahata

  • Genre: Drama
  • Release Date: 1988-01-01
  • Advisory Rating: 12
  • Runtime: 1h 28min
  • Director: Isao Takahata
  • Production Company: Nihon TV
  • Production Country: Japan
  • iTunes Price: GBP 9.99
  • iTunes Rent Price: GBP 5.49
From 20 Ratings


Set in Japan during World War II, the film focuses on Seita and his little sister Setsuko. After their mother is killed in an air raid and with their father serving in the navy, they are forced to fight for survival in the devastated Japanese countryside. Food and shelter are scarce, and even their own relatives are too concerned with their own survival. All they have is each other and their belief that life must carry on. Takahata and his team, including character animator Yoshifumi Kondo (who has subsequently worked on other acclaimed Ghibli films from director Hayao Miyazaki) have created a visually stunning and emotionally powerful film that meditates on the devastating consequences of war and has rightly earned a reputation as an anime classic.



  • A proper work of art!

    By Kate7619
    Truly amazing film and brilliantly acted (both US and Japanese soundtrack). The story is so well told that I was stunned for a very long time after the film had ended and felt terribly lost and empty. Yes it is slow but this highlights the desperation and utter hopelessness they find themselves and you WILL care deeply about the characters. This is most definately not an action film NOR is it a childrens cartoon (although teenagers should all watch this)!
  • War is NEVER good!

    By wilbert_rn
    Very powerful and emotional film. People of the world should always try peaceful settlement in any dispute. Make peace NOT war. War ONLY brings death and suffering.
  • Traumatizing

    By Ram0nTR
    Truly heartbreaking.
  • Sincere, honest, work of art... brilliant

    By Rachel_Gold
    Based on true life subject matter of what happened to many children in Japan during and after the end of the 2nd world war. The animation is superb, but the storytelling is genius. You want to shake the main character for the learnings, and how could you not fall in love with the little one. Would highly recommend for nostalgic / education purposes.
  • Never cried while watching

    By iFur
    But if this movie been a bit longer i would have cried Strong and emotional
  • Amazing film

    By Ippoippo
    Best war film ever. Unlike some Japanese made war films, it doesn’t suffer from revisionist romanticism. And unlike some Western films, it doesn’t suffer from victors rose-tinted triumphalism. It’s just a story about how innocent civilians get affected by war brought on them by the power hungry political elites. There is one scene where you WILL cry! (The visuals and music soundtrack… impossible not too!)
  • A Heartbreaking Masterpiece.

    By Odnomiar78
    I'm no baby but this film moved me to tears. It stands amongst the greatest war films ever made, and will forever change your opinion on what can be achieved with the right heart and brain behind an animé or with using animation to tell a heartfelt, truly moving and compelling tale of wartime family, struggle, loss and grief. This film pulls no punches. It's a breath taking, heart wrenching piece of cinema that deserves more recognition. There is no magic here. No giant cuddly forest spirits or happy go lucky cat burglars... There is however a brilliant and emotionally engaging story that has probably been echoed far to many times in reality to bear thinking about, though this film challenges you to un-believe it. And it's a wholly enlightening and magical regardless of its grounding in the reality of a war time Japan. Please watch this movie. I guarantee it'll leave an impression.
  • The greatest anti-war film ever made

    By Kotatsu Neko
    Focussing on the lives of two kids whose lives are devastated by the American firebombing of Tokyo, this is harrowing film which you will never forget. As usual for Studio Ghibli it looks wonderful, but this is a hugely different experience to the joyous wonders the studio normally produces. You may well never see a better anti-war film. Well done Studio Canal for releasing this with its original audio intact too. No distracting amateur hour dubbing here, just the original Japanese audio unedited with subtitles.
  • Heartbreaking

    By spikerules
    I would class this animation as one of, if not THE best war film ever made. It may be slow for some, but the film perfectly captures the plight of two youths trying to survive war and hunger. Be warned the film will make you cry. If you don't then you may be dead inside! Final warning: Do not watch if you're feeling down!
  • Remarkable

    By Jackdaw1972
    Quite simply one of the best war films ever made. Captures childhood and adolescence with astonishing insight and compassion. And it’s a cartoon! Be warned: it is heartbreaking.