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Sansho the Bailiff (1954)
"Sanshô dayû" (original title)

 -  Drama  -  1955 (USA)
8.3
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Ratings: 8.3/10 from 8,544 users  
Reviews: 40 user | 64 critic

In mediaeval Japan a compassionate governor is sent into exile. His wife and children try to join him, but are separated, and the children grow up amid suffering and oppression.

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(short story "Sanshô dayû"), (screenplay), 1 more credit »
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Title: Sansho the Bailiff (1954)

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Cast

Cast overview, first billed only:
...
Tamaki
Yoshiaki Hanayagi ...
Zushiô
Kyôko Kagawa ...
Anju
Eitarô Shindô ...
Sanshô dayû
Akitake Kôno ...
Taro
Masao Shimizu ...
Masauji Taira
Ken Mitsuda ...
Prime Minister Fujiwara
Kazukimi Okuni ...
Norimura
Yôko Kosono ...
Kohagi
Kimiko Tachibana ...
Namiji
Ichirô Sugai ...
Minister of Justice
Teruko Ômi ...
Nakagimi
Masahiko Kato ...
Young Zushio
Keiko Enami ...
Young Anju
Bontarô Akemi ...
Kichiji
Edit

Storyline

In mediaeval Japan a compassionate governor is sent into exile. His wife and children try to join him, but are separated, and the children grow up amid suffering and oppression. Written by David Levene <D.S.Levene@durham.ac.uk>

Plot Summary | Add Synopsis

Taglines:

A film of unparalleled beauty by the great Japanese Master Kenji Mizoguchi

Genres:

Drama

Certificate:

Not Rated | See all certifications »

Parents Guide:

 »
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Details

Country:

Language:

Release Date:

1955 (USA)  »

Also Known As:

Legend of Bailiff Sansho  »

Filming Locations:


Company Credits

Production Co:

 »
Show detailed on  »

Technical Specs

Runtime:

Sound Mix:

Aspect Ratio:

1.37 : 1
See  »
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Did You Know?

Trivia

'Kenji Mizoguchi' initially intended to center the film around Sansho, the Slavelord. However, the film ended up with the sad story of Zushio and Anju as its narrative, dramatic center. See more »

Quotes

Taro: [to Zushio] I found that humans have little sympathy for things that don't directly concern them. They're ruthless. Unless those hearts can be changed, the world you dream of cannot come true. If you wish to live honestly with your conscience, keep close to the Buddha.
See more »

Connections

Referenced in The Thin Red Line (1998) See more »

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User Reviews

 
An enormously powerful tale of oppression and resistance
30 November 2002 | by (Chapel Hill, NC, USA) – See all my reviews

I don't consider SANSHO DAYU to be the best introduction to the great Kenji Mizoguchi, but - after many viewings, I do consider it to be the best of what I've seen.

In the years after WWII, Mizoguchi's interest in period drama deepened

  • he ultimately was best known outside of Japan for his period dramas


(jidaigeki), though his take on the historical film was highly personalized with the introduction of contemporary thematic elements, and this film is the high water mark in that development, with a detailed story exploring oppression, class structures and societal ethics.

Late in life, Mizoguchi's interest in Buddhism also expanded tremendously, which is reflected to a great degree in this film, with various sacrifices, renunciations of privilege, and familial reconciliations figuring prominently in the intricate story - notably so at SANSHO's magnificent ending.


28 of 35 people found this review helpful.  Was this review helpful to you?

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