The Human Condition (Criterion Collection) (Blu ray) [USA]

C.C. 95

The Snarky Assassin
Premium Supporter
Sep 10, 2014
The Land, OHIO - U.S.A.
Release Date: June 8, 2021
Prices and Links:
Criterion- $47.96
Amazon- $59.95

Director: Masaki Kobayashi
Writers: Masaki Kobayashi, Zenzô Matsuyama, Kôichi Inagaki
Starring: Tatsuya Nakadai, Michiyo Aratama, Yûsuke Kawazu, Keiji Sada, Taketoshi Naitô
  • Japan
  • 1959
  • 575 minutes
  • Black & White
  • 2.39:1
  • Japanese


This mammoth humanist drama by Masaki Kobayashi is one of the most staggering achievements of Japanese cinema. Originally filmed and released in three installments of two parts each, the nine-and-a-half-hour The Human Condition, adapted from Junpei Gomikawa’s six-volume novel, tells of the journey of the well-intentioned yet naive Kaji—played by the Japanese superstar Tatsuya Nakadai—from labor camp supervisor to Imperial Army soldier to Soviet prisoner of war. Constantly trying to rise above a corrupt system, Kaji time and again finds his morals to be an impediment rather than an advantage. A raw indictment of Japan’s wartime mentality as well as a personal existential tragedy, Kobayashi’s riveting, gorgeously filmed epic is novelistic cinema at its best.



  • On the Blu-ray: High-definition digital restoration, with uncompressed monaural (Parts 1–4) and 4.0 surround DTS-HD Master Audio (Parts 5 and 6) soundtracks
  • On the DVD: Restored high-definition digital transfer
  • Excerpt from a 1993 Directors Guild of Japan interview with director Masaki Kobayashi, conducted by filmmaker Masahiro Shinoda
  • Interview from 2009 with actor Tatsuya Nakadai
  • Appreciation of Kobayashi and The Human Condition from 2009 featuring Shinoda
  • Trailers
  • PLUS: An essay by critic Philip Kemp