Tokyo Drifter (1966)
"Tôkyô nagaremono" (original title)

Not Rated  |   |  Action, Crime, Drama  |  10 April 1966 (Japan)
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Ratings: 7.3/10 from 4,718 users  
Reviews: 37 user | 64 critic

After his gang disbands, a yakuza enforcer looks forward to life outside of organized crime but soon must become a drifter after his old rivals attempt to assassinate him.



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Cast overview, first billed only:
Tetsuya Watari ...
Tetsuya 'Phoenix Tetsu' Hondo
Chieko Matsubara ...
Tamio Kawachi ...
Tatsuzo, The Viper
Hideaki Nitani ...
Kenji Aizawa
Eiji Gô ...
Tomoko Hamakawa ...
Tsuyoshi Yoshida ...
Isao Tamagawa ...
Eimei Esumi ...
Ryûji Kita ...
Michio Hino ...
Shuntarô Tamamura ...
Hiroshi Midorikawa
Hiroshi Chô ...
Akira Hisamatsu ...
(as Kosuke Hisamatsu)


Tetsu has joined his yakuza boss in going straight, but when a rival gang threatens to bring them back into the gang wars, Tetsu must become a drifter to keep the pressure off his old boss. Written by Erik Gregersen <>

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Action | Crime | Drama


Not Rated | See all certifications »

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Release Date:

10 April 1966 (Japan)  »

Also Known As:

Tokyo Drifter  »

Filming Locations:


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Aspect Ratio:

2.35 : 1
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Did You Know?


Quentin Tarantino's film Kill Bill Volume 1 appears to pay homage to Tokyo Drifter in that both movies are black and white before the opening credits and then in color after the opening credits. See more »


Tetsuya 'Phoenix Tetsu' Hondo: A drifter needs no woman.
See more »


Referenced in Blackmail Is My Business (1968) See more »

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User Reviews

It's a drifter's life for me.
1 March 2008 | by (the Mad Hatter's tea party.) – See all my reviews

Sensible logic might be little, but director Suzuki Seijun's surrealistic pop-art gangster feature "Tokyo Drifter" is a tour-de-fore in flamboyant, and unusual film-making. Everything about this fashionably unhinged effort reeks of ultra-coolness, with its edgy but trendy stylish guidance painting an influential pathway for many film-makers to experiment, but also providing familiar staples of noir and western inspirations to its own brash, creative juices. I admit the busily dry story is quite an unbalanced muddle, with fractured editing, but still for that time glamorously unconventional and erratically bewildering. The focus of the material is that of devotion (of business and love), but some quirky sight gags and mayhem make there way in. Mainly it's all about the majestic set-pieces though, and the delirious appeal of them are a wondrously enchanting sight. A trippy colour scheme infuses itself on the psychedelically warped set-designs of moody composition lighting, and the sudden bursts of exaggerated violence have a poetically tough awe surrounding it. The taut pace of the film stays pretty much on cruise control, but where the energy feeds off can be linked to Kaburagi So's fierily dramatic jazz musical score, and Mine Shigeyoshi's intimately snappy cinematography positioning. Even breaking up the murky narrative are odd song choices and a rhythmic theme. The colourful performances are dashing, and life-like with a brooding array of interesting characters. Testsuya Watari, HidekaI Nitani, Ryuji Kita, Chieko Matsubara and Eiji Go are enjoyably tailored to their parts. Highly stylised fun.

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