YMMV / Merry Christmas, Mr. Lawrence

  • Crowning Moment of Awesome: Celliers kissing Yonoi at the assembly, saving Hicksley's life.
  • Crowning Music of Awesome: The main theme, which shares the title of the film, was written by Ryuichi Sakamoto himself. A vocal version, featuring David Sylvian, is known as "Forbidden Colours". Both musicians have released new recordings of both versions of this song over the 30 years since the song was originally released, and it is a perennial feature of Sakamoto's live performances.
    • "Sowing the Seed", which plays as Celliers saves the life of Hicksley by stepping in and kissing Yonoi, who gets so overrun by his conflicted feelings that he gets paralyzed.
  • Foe Romance Subtext: Buckets and buckets of it. Enough, in fact, that it drives the entire plot.
  • Heartwarming Moments: The "Father Christmas" scene, in which Hara orders for Celliers and Lawrence to be released from execution. It's even sweeter because Hara is incredibly drunk, and is laughing merrily the whole scene through. The others's touched and slightly bewildered reactions fall into this too.
    • A meta example comes with this performance of the main theme on KCRW Radio, shortly after David Bowie had passed away. Sakamoto had been discussing the good times he had with Bowie on the film's set before playing the song in tribute of him.
  • I Am Not Shazam:
    • People who are not familiar with the film tend to assume that Bowie's character is named Mr. Lawrence.
    • A common title for the film in Europe is Furyo. Many people assume someone is called Furyo in it, while it's actually the Japanese word for "prisoner of war".
  • Irony as She Is Cast: "I wish I could sing" and "I've had no romantic interludes of any real importance" from the mouth of David Bowie. Well, the film was made before he met Iman...
  • Nightmare Fuel: The scene with the Korean being forced to commit seppukku, followed by the Dutch soldier choking to death on part of his tongue which he has bitten off and swallowed. Way to ram home just whose side you're supposed to be on in this film.
  • Squick: Hara's description of the incident with the Dutch soldier and the Korean falls into this category.
  • Tear Jerker: The epilogue, taking place four years after the events of the film. Hara has been imprisoned for war crimes. The night before his execution, Lawrence, now free again, comes to visit him. The whole scene is both sweet and very sad. Especially in Lawrence's case. He may have survived as one of the winners, but that also means that he loses someone he has become quite close with. The heartbroken look on his face after he bids farewell, clearly on the verge of tears, really does it.
    Lawrence: There are times in which victory is very hard to take.
  • What Could Have Been: How did music legends David Bowie and Ryuichi Sakamoto work on the same film yet never worked on music together? In fact, David Sylvian ended up being the singer of the film's theme song.
  • The Woobie: Lawrence.
    • Poor Karel de Jong.
    • Celliers's little brother, a talented singer who is often bullied. His spirits were crushed by brutal mockery during his initiation ceremony at school. As a result, he never sings again. The worst part is that his older brother, whom he looked up to, didn't do a thing to help him even though he had the power to spare him the ritual.