Rent Tampopo (1985)

4.1 of 5 from 149 ratings
1h 54min
Rent Tampopo (aka Dandelion) Online DVD & Blu-ray Rental
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The tale of an eccentric band of culinary ronin who guide the widow of a noodle-shop owner on her quest for the perfect recipe, this rapturous "ramen western" by Japanese director Juzo Itami is an entertaining, genre bending adventure underpinned by a deft satire of the way social conventions distort the most natural of human urges - our appetites.
Interspersing the efforts of Tampopo (Nobuko Miyamoto) and friends to make her cafe a success with the erotic exploits of a gastronome gangster and glimpses of food culture both high and low, the sweet, sexy, and surreal 'Tampopo' is a lavishly inclusive paean to the sensual joys of nourishment, and one of the most mouthwatering examples of food on film ever made.
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Seigo Hosogoe, Jûzô Itami, Yasushi Tamaoki
Jûzô Itami
Classics, Comedy
10 Films to Watch if You Like: Licorice Pizza
Release Date:
Not released
Run Time:
114 minutes
DVD Regions:
Region 2
Aspect Ratio:
Full Screen 1.33:1 / 4:3
Release Date:
Run Time:
114 minutes
Japanese LPCM Mono
Aspect Ratio:
Widescreen 1.85:1
BLU-RAY Regions:
  • The Making of 'Tampopo': A ninety-minute documentary from 1986, narrated by director Juzo Itami
  • New interview with actor Nobuko Miyamoto
  • New interview with food stylist Seiko Ogawa
  • New interviews with ramen scholar Hiroshi Oosaki and chefs Sam White, Rayneil De Guzman, Jerry Jaksich, and Ivan Orkin
  • Rubber Band Pistol, Itami's 1962 debut short film
  • New video essay by filmmakers Tony Zhou and Taylor Ramos on the film's themes of self-improvement and mastery of a craft
  • Trailer
  • An essay by food and culture writer Willy Blackmore

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Reviews (1) of Tampopo

In my top 5 films - Tampopo review by Phil

Spoiler Alert

I love this film. It's 32 years old, but unlike many films >10 years old it doesn't look dated, and the humour still works perfectly. I can't pretend to understand everything I've seen, or recognise the reference to other genres or films, but there's enough to entertain, make me laugh, and keep me pondering to keep it right at the top of my best films list.

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Critic review

Tampopo (aka Dandelion) review by Adrijan Arsovski - Cinema Paradiso

Tampopo is directed by a polarizing Japanese figure named Juzo Itami. Despite his filmmaking, Juzo is known for several other things, including a conflict with the Yakuza because he made fun of them in a film named ‘Minbo No Onna (1992)’; but more importantly, he is also known for his tragic end in real life, where he committed suicide at the age of 64 after being accused of adultery. Such is the life of the artist – and especially one like Juzo Itami – controversial, upbeat, polarizing, and most of all – unique. Oh, and he is also known for making Tampopo, which we’ll delve more into right now.

Some would argue that the success of Itami lies in his ability to satirize things with a light and a caring touch. His hand is mostly aimed towards satirizing genres such as spaghetti westerns, a concept which he later went on to marry with the Japanese obsession for food. This is especially true for the loving affair that the Japanese folk had with a certain dish called fast food noodle soup, which is known to dominate their food markets by the dozen. Juzo Itami takes these two concepts (spaghetti westerns and the noodle soup), puts them in a blender, and the results, well, speak for themselves.

Tampopo is a bizarre experience; bizarre in a way that it seems as if only Juzo could’ve pull it out. The film stars Nobuko Miyamoto as the titular Tampopo (meaning: Dandelion) and a not-so-successful owner of a Japanese noodle shop. Then comes Goro (played by Tsutmu Yamazaki), a sort of an urban Japanese hero who tackles challenges like an old-school cowboy with true grit. And so, Goro is determined to show Tampopo the noble ways in his own version of what “noble way” means. During which, director Juzo Itami makes fun of Japanese machos, fight scenes in movies, bureaucrats, heroic deaths, and lots of other weird stuff.

Tampopo features a very Itami-esque comedy that tethers on the line between the grotesque and the absurd. One particular scene really bulges out: a man in a white suit (played by Koji Yakusho) and his mistress (Fukumi Kuroda) engage in a semi-sexual exchange of egg yolks without feeling even a slight bit of embarrassment. Then comes the part when some sort of “yam sausages” are described from the insides of a wild boar. This isn’t meant to make anyone salivate to such a thought, but it’s more of a director’s trademark with which Itami ‘watermarks’ his films.

Is this the sort of comedy you’re fond of? If the answer is yes, then Juzo Itami’s Tampopo would be right up your alley. In not, then consider watching the film to follow its bizarre clues as the events within unravel. Either way, Tampopo won’t leave you indifferent and that I can guarantee.

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