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Merry Christmas Mr Lawrence

2h 3m Drama, War 1983

Prisoner-of-war, Mr Lawrence, engages in an adversarial relationship with a sadistic sargent.

This powerful prisoner-of-war drama features a stunning cast, including David Bowie in one of his greatest roles, and is the first English language film by acclaimed Japanese director Nagisa Oshima (In the Realm of the Senses). Set in Java at a Japanese POW camp in 1942, a war of wills and unspoken erotic attraction unfolds between a rebellious prisoner and camp commandant (Ryuichi Sakomoto) who is impressed by Bowie’s defiance, while bilingual prisoner, Mr. Lawrence (Tom Conti) engages in a more adversarial relationship with sadistic sergeant, Hana Bi (Takeshi Kitano), who finally offers Lawrence a sinister ‘Christmas’ present. Fine performances by Conti, Kitano (his first dramatic role), Sakamoto (also contributing the memorable score) and Bowie, combined with stunning cinematography and brilliant direction by one of Japan’s finest filmmakers, make this a memorable and compelling war drama.


Nagisa Oshima


United Kingdom, Japan