Snow Falling on Cedars [DVD] [1999]

Even its critics would surely agree that Scott Hicks' Snow Falling on Cedars is a film of rare visual beauty, making it an ideal film for DVD. Universal has not wasted the opportunity; this is an outstanding disc in every department. The stunning look of the film is maximized with an anamorphic widescreen transfer that magnificently realizes the elegant, almost poetic visuals. James Newton Howard's highly emotive score is equally well cared for with a Dolby Digital 5.1 audio track that also delivers clean dialogue throughout. A host of special features are included on the disc, including the original theatrical trailer, cast and crew biographies, and some very detailed production notes. The "Spotlight on Location" featurette lasts around 21 minutes, and includes interviews with all the main players. "Manzanar" is an educational, text-based history of a real-life relocation center. There are nine deleted and alternate scenes, the most interesting of which is a scene showing Ethan Hawke's Ishmael throwing away his Purple Heart. On his hushed feature commentary, Hicks sounds endearingly like a child slowly unwrapping a Christmas present, but he does discuss the complex shooting logistics and editing, and it is generally an engrossing accompaniment to the film. Snow Falling on Cedars perhaps merits more acclaim than it has had since its release, and this glorious DVD will do its reputation nothing but good.
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Ratings & Reviews

Overall Customer Rating:
100% of customers would recommend this product to a friend (1 out of 1)

Special Features

  • "Spotlight on Location: The Making of Snow Falling on Cedars"
  • Feature commentary with director Scott Hicks
  • Deleted scenes
  • Manzanar
  • Theatrical trailer


Snow Falling on Cedars
Nine years after the bombing of Pearl Harbor, a small town in the Pacific Northwest still struggles with the troubling legacy of U.S. policies against Asian-Americans. In December 1950, just off the shores of San Piedro Island in Washington, a Japanese-American man named Kazuo Miyamoto (Rick Yune) stands accused of murder after his close friend Carl Heine (Eric Thal) is found drowned in icy waters. As the trial gets under way, with Alvin Hooks (James Rebhorn) prosecuting Kazuo and Nels Gudmundsson (Max Von Sydow) defending him, reporter Ishmael Chambers (Ethan Hawke) covers the proceedings for the local newspaper. It's difficult for Ishmael to view the trial objectively, as his first love was a Japanese-American girl named Hatsue (Youki Kudoh), who later married Kazuo. Now, Ishmael has discovered that, when the Japanese-American residents of San Piedro Island were sent to internment camps during World War II, Carl's mother used their incarceration to scuttle a land purchase by Kazuo's family. This could suggest a motive for murder, but Ishmael is reluctant to step forward with the story. Snow Falling on Cedars was based on the best-selling novel by David Guterson, adapted for the screen by Ron Bass and writer/director Scott Hicks. ~ Mark Deming, Rovi

Cast & Crew

  • Ethan Hawke
    Ethan Hawke - Ishmael Chambers
  • James Cromwell
    James Cromwell - Judge Fielding
  • Richard Jenkins
    Richard Jenkins - Sheriff Art Moran
  • James Rebhorn
    James Rebhorn - Alvin Hooks
  • Sam Shepard
    Sam Shepard - Arthur Chambers

Customer rating

would recommend to a friend
  • Rating: 4 out of 5 stars

    Largely a feast for the eyes.


    This movie tells a dark tale of the Japanese internment during WWII. More than that, it tells another tale of love between a Caucasian American and A Japanese American. That's interesting, and very sad, but I LOVE this movie for the Cinematography. It is an Art Film due to the fantastic job by Robert Richardson. The story didn't hold up. It was nominated for Best Cinemtography, but didn't win. It should have. It is a truly amazing feast for the eyes with an okay story behind it. I also think that the Academy had a difficult time recognizing internment. They're way too PC for that. WATCH this movie, and just take the story for what it is. There is a way too much gratuitous nudity for younger audiences. The movie would have been much better if they simply implied, and it would have stood up better without this weird fixation. It really cheapens on otherwise great movie.

    I would recommend this to a friend

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