Virus (1980 film)

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Directed by Kinji Fukasaku
Produced by Haruki Kadokawa[1]
Screenplay by
  • Koji Takada
  • Gregory Knapp
  • Kinji Fukasaku[1]
Based on Fukkatsu no hi
by Sakyo Komatsu
Music by Teo Macero[1]
Cinematography Daisaku Kimura[1]
Edited by Akira Suzuki[1]
Haruki Kadokawa Office[2]
Distributed by Toho
Release date
  • 28 June 1980 (1980-06-28) (Japan)
Running time
156 minutes[2]
Country Japan[2]
  • English
  • Japanese
  • French
  • German[2]
Budget ¥ 2 million

Virus (復活の日 Fukkatsu no hi) (literal translation: Day of Resurrection) is a 1980 Japanese post-apocalyptic science fiction film directed by Kinji Fukasaku,[3][4] based on Sakyo Komatsu's eponymous novel.[1] The film stars an international ensemble cast featuring Masao Kusakari, Sonny Chiba, George Kennedy, Robert Vaughn, Chuck Connors, Olivia Hussey, Edward James Olmos, Glenn Ford, and Henry Silva.

On its release, the film was the most expensive Japanese film ever made.

Plot summary[edit]

In 1982, a shady transaction is occurring between an East German scientist, Dr. Krause, and a group of Americans. It is revealed that MM88 is a deadly virus, created accidentally by an American geneticist, that amplifies the potency of any other virus or bacterium it comes into contact with. The Americans recover the MM88, which was stolen from a lab in the US the year before, but the virus is released, creating a pandemic initially known as the "Italian Flu".

Within seven months, virtually all the world's population has died off. However, the virus is inactive at temperatures below -10 degrees Celsius, and the polar winter has spared the 855 men and eight women stationed in Antarctica. The British nuclear submarine HMS Nereid joins the scientists after sinking a Soviet submarine whose infected crew attempts to make landfall near Palmer Station.

Several years later, as the group is beginning to repopulate their new home, it is discovered that an earthquake will activate the Automated Reaction System (ARS) and launch the United States nuclear arsenal.

The Soviets have their own version of the ARS that will fire off their weapons in return, including one targeting Palmer Station. After all of the women and children and several hundred of the men are sent to safety aboard an icebreaker, Yoshizumi and Major Carter embark aboard the Nereid on a mission to shut down the ARS, protected from MM88 by an experimental vaccine.

The submarine arrives at Washington, D.C., and Yoshizumi and Carter make a rush for the ARS command bunker. However, they reach the room too late, and all but those aboard the icebreaker perish in the nuclear exchange. Over the course of years Yoshizumi walks back towards Antarctica. Upon reaching Tierra del Fuego in 1988,[5] he finds the survivors from the icebreaker.


Background and production[edit]

In the 1970s, producer Haruki Kadokawa formed the Kadokawa Production Company. These included Kon Ichikawa's The Inugamis and Junya Sato's Proof of the Man, with the latter having American cast members such as George Kennedy. Kadokawa began to develop films that were often based on literary properties held by Kadokawa's publishing arm.[9]

The domestic box-office for these films was large, which led to Kadokawa putting 2 million yen into the film Virus, making it the most expensive film in Japanese history on its release.[9]


Virus was released theatrically in Japan on 28 June 1980 where it was distributed by Toho.[2]

The American version of the film was shown for review at the Cannes Film Festival in May 1980 as a "work-in-progress" print. The non-English language footage was dubbed into English for this release and it ran at 155 minutes. It was initially released to home video in the United States with a 108 minute run-time and was presented on television with a 93 minute running time. The original Japanese-language cut was released to home video in 2006 with English subtitles.[2]

See also[edit]


  1. ^ a b c d e f Galbraith IV 2008, p. 322.
  2. ^ a b c d e f Galbraith IV 2008, p. 323.
  3. ^ a b c d Bolam & Bolam 2011, p. 113.
  4. ^ "Virus". Turner Classic Movies. Atlanta: Turner Broadcasting System (Time Warner). Retrieved March 2, 2016. 
  5. ^ Dr. Latour: We've all had injections of my vaccine against the virus, which is why we have survived the last four years. (English, Kadokawa Shoten, 1980)
  6. ^ Mitchell 2001, p. 231.
  7. ^ Bolam & Bolam 2011, p. 114.
  8. ^ Warren & Thomas 2016, p. 617.
  9. ^ a b Sharp, Jasper (April 9, 2001). "Virus". Midnight Eye. Retrieved April 2, 2017. 


External links[edit]