Screened as part of NZIFF 2003

Cowboy Bebop: The Movie 2003

Cowboy Bebop – Tengoku No Tobira

Directed by Watanabe Shinichiro

Japan In Japanese with English subtitles
115 minutes 35mm


Nobumoto Keiki. Based on a story by Yatate Hajime


Ohgami Yoichi


Kakesu Shuichi


Kanno Yoko


Yamadera Koichi
Ishizuka Unsho
Hayashibara Megumi
Tada Aoi


“The popular anime series from which Cowboy Bebop: The Movie sprang is a thoroughly modern and aggressively cool collision of film noir, cyberpunk, and about half a million other influences (Bob Dylan, Don Siegel, etc). The big-screen version offers more of the same plus a new dizzying attention to detail, and a whole lot of prescient millennial dread. The year is 2071 and Mars looks like a combination of Casablanca and upper Manhattan. Quite naturally, some bearded lunatic wants to destroy it with rush-hour car bombings and elaborate bioterror plots (that the film was originally released in Japan in September 2001 is an eerie coincidence). A gargantuan bounty reward on the culprit attracts lanky, semi-heroic cash-seeker Spike Spiegel and his motley crew of ‘Cowboys,’ who move in on the lone terrorist only to find a labyrinth of government conspiracies and military experiments…” — Patrick Macias, San Francisco Bay Guardian

Cowboy Bebop could be considered anime for people who don’t like anime (as well as, of course, for those who do)… The movie’s soundtrack features everything from faux Lynyrd Skynyrd to faux James Brown to faux versions of that bland but chirpy ‘ba-ba-dee-dah’ middle-of-the-road scatting you used to hear on 60s movie soundtracks. Just as the visuals in Cowboy Bebop mesh to form an incredible simulation of a futuristic real-life world, its music is an incredible simulation of things we’ve heard many times before – they sound fresh and strange and familiar, all at the same time.” — Stephanie Zacharek,