Grave of the Fireflies

In Cinemas Now

Studio Ghibli's animated tragedy – regarded as writer-director Isao Takahata’s masterpiece – set in World War II Japan where a young teen and his little sister are left to wander their battle-torn town after the death of their mother. Having tangled with their uncompassionate aunt and still awaiting news on their soldier father, the siblings can only rely on each other to survive.

Roger Ebert praised Grave of the Fireflies massively, calling it "an emotional experience so powerful that it forces a rethinking of animation." Ernest Rister was equally impressed, saying the film "is to animation what Schindler's List was to Spielberg – both a long overdue display of artistic maturity and a bold statement of ability."


Directed by

Written by


Studio Ghibli

Animated, Drama, War, Classic


Rating: M Adult themes


Total Film (UK)


Takahata’s powerful anti-war movie is all the more harrowing for the care we invest in its beautifully drawn children.

Chicago Sun-Times (Roger Ebert)


Animation allows Takahata to concentrate on the essence of the story, and the lack of visual realism in his animated characters allows our imagination more play; freed from the literal fact of real actors, we can more easily merge the characters with our own associations.

Guardian (UK)


There are magical moments of natural beauty and childish delight, too - which only make the tragedy even more harrowing.

Empire (UK)


A devastating heart-stab of a movie, this certainly isn't a family film. It is, however, a beautifully constructed, animated drama.