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Snow Falling on Cedars Details


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

  • Release date:September 12, 1999


Awarded by
Chicago Film Critics Association Robert Richardson Best Cinematography 1999 Winner
American Society of Cinematographers Robert Richardson Best Cinematography 1999 Nominee
Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences Robert Richardson Best Cinematography 1999 Nominee


Ethan Hawke
as Ishmael Chambers
James Cromwell
as Judge Fielding
Richard Jenkins
as Sheriff Art Moran
James Rebhorn
as Alvin Hooks
Sam Shepard
as Arthur Chambers
Eric Thal
as Carl Heine
Max von Sydow
as Nels Gudmundsson
Youki Kudoh
as Hatsue Imada
Rick Yune
as Kazuo Miyamoto
Celia Weston
as Etta Heine
Max Wright
as Horace Whaley
Arija Bareikis
as Susan Marie Heine
Zeljko Ivanek
as Dr.Whitman
Caroline Kava
as Helen Chambers
Zak Orth
as Deputy Abel Martinson
Cary-Hiroyuki Tagawa
as Zenhichi Miyamoto
Daniel Von Bargen
as Carl Heine Sr.
Reeve Carney
as Young Ishmael Chambers
Anne Suzuki
as Young Hatsue Imada
Frank C. Turner
as Juror


Scott Hicks
Frank Marshall
Ronald Bass
Kathleen Kennedy
Harry Ufland
Ronald Bass
Scott Hicks
David Guterson
Book Author
Robert Richardson
James Newton Howard
Composer (Music Score)
Hank Corwin
Jeannine Oppewall
Production Designer
Bill Arnold
Supervising Art Director
Doug Byggdin
Art Director
David Guterson
Richard Vane
Kerry Heysen
Associate Producer
Carol Baum
Executive Producer
Lloyd A. Silverman
Executive Producer
Jim Erickson
Set Designer
Eric Batut
Sound/Sound Designer
Katterli A. Frauenfelder
First Assistant Director
Seth Arnett
Lindy Taylor
Post Production Assistant
Michael Dennison
Costumes Supervisor
Raymond Stella
Second Unit Camera
Frank Marshall
Second Unit Director