Tampopo 1985 Criterion CollectionFew movies did more to introduce westerners to contemporary Japan and its sense of humor than Juzo Itami's culinary comedy Tampopo. The film was a watershed work among foreign films released in the late-1980. Up to then, casual moviegoers who occasionally watched foreign movies seemed to think of Japanese cinema only in terms of samurai cut-ups, even though they make, and had been making, far more contemporary comedies than any other genre. Tampopo changed all that. Western audiences were surprised that the Japanese had such a wonderful a sense of humor, and such an obsession with food. Tampopo whetted Americans' appetite for Japanese cuisine, especially ramen, the noodle soup which is at the film's core.
The backbone of the film is the story of Tampopo (Nobuko Miyamoto), a widowed noodle shop owner whose attempts at ramen are decidedly underwhelming. One rainy evening, she is visited by Goro (Tsutomu Yamazaki) and Gun (a young Ken Watanabe). Through a complicated series of events best left for viewers to experience themselves, Goro ends up agreeing to mentor Tampopo in the art making great ramen. This narrative is broken up by a series of comic, tragic, and romantic vignettes involving random, often anonymous characters, including a low-level mobster who obsesses over the movies, a man with a foul-smelling toothache, and an elderly lady with a compulsion to grope the food in her local grocery store.

Director: Juzo Itami
Cast: Ken Watanabe, Tsutomu Yamazaki, Nobuko Miyamoto
Country: Japan
Genre: Comedy

BD50 + 2xDVD9 | 1080p AVC, NTSC | 01:54:33 | 44.5 Gb + 13.2 Gb + 3% rec
Language: Japanese
Subtitles: English


The Making of Tampopo - this archival documentary was shot during the production of Tampopo in 1985 and is narrated by director Juzo Itami. Included in it are plenty of clips from interviews with cast and crew members as well as raw footage from the shooting sessions. In Japanese, with optional English subtitles. (90 min, 1080i).

Nobuko Miamoto - in this new video interview, actress Nobuko Miamoto discusses her contribution to Tampopo and Juzo Itami's directing methods. The interview was conducted exclusively for Criterion in 2016. In Japanese, with optional English subtitles. (11 min, 1080p).

Seiko Ogawa - in this new video interview, stylist Seiko Ogawa discusses her work on Tampopo. The interview was conducted exclusively for Criterion in 2016. In Japanese, with optional English subtitles. (16 min, 1080p).

The Amateur and the Craftsperson - in this new video essay examines some of the key themes in Tampopo. The essay was created by filmmakers Tony Zhou and Taylor Ramos for Criterion in 2017. In English, not subtitled. (11 min, 1080p).

The Perfect Bowl - this new program takes a closer look at the lasting impact Tampopo had on food culture in Japan and overseas. It includes interviews with ramen expert Hiroshi Oosaki, and chefs Rayneil De Guzman, Sam White, and Ivan Orkin, amongst others. The program was created exclusively for Criterion in 2016. In English and Japanese, with optional English subtitles where necessary. (23 min, 1080p).

Rubber Band Pistol (1962) - presented here is Juzo Itami's directorial debut, Rubber Band Pistol. In Japanese, with optional English subtitles. (33 min, 1080p).

Trailer - original trailer for the new 4K restoration of Tampopo, courtesy of Janus Films. In Japanese, with imposed English subtitles. (2 min, 1080p).