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The 47 Ronin (1941)

Genroku Chûshingura (original title)
In 1701, Lord Takuminokami Asano has a feud with Lord Kira and he tries to kill Kira in the corridors of the Shogun's palace. The Shogun sentences Lord Asano to commit suppuku and deprives ... See full summary »



(screenplay), (play) | 1 more credit »
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Cast overview, first billed only:
Chôjûrô Kawarasaki ...
Kan'emon Nakamura ...
Sukeimon Tomimori
Kunitarô Kawarazaki ...
Jurôzaemon Isogai
Yoshizaburo Arashi ...
Chôemon Bandô ...
Sôzaemon Hara
Sukezô Sukedakaya ...
Chûemon Yoshida
Kikunojo Segawa ...
Gengo Ootaka
Shotaro Ichikawa ...
Yahei Horibe
Enji Ichikawa ...
Tadashichi Takebayashi
Kikunosuke Ichikawa ...
Gengoemon Kataoka
Shinzô Yamazaki ...
Seimon Ooishi
Sensho Ichikawa ...
Matsunosuke Ooishi
Shoji Ichikawa ...
Magoemon Seo
Iwagoro Ichikawa ...
Fujiemon Hayamizu
Shinzaburo Ichikawa ...
Matanosuke Ushioda


In 1701, Lord Takuminokami Asano has a feud with Lord Kira and he tries to kill Kira in the corridors of the Shogun's palace. The Shogun sentences Lord Asano to commit suppuku and deprives the palace and lands from his clan, but does not punish Lod Kira. Lord Asano's vassals leave the land and his samurais become ronin and want to seek revenge against the dishonor of their Lord. But their leader Kuranosuke Oishi asks the Shogun to restore the Asano clan with his brother Daigaku Asano. One year later, the Shogun refuses his request and Oishi and forty-six ronin revenge their Lord. Written by Claudio Carvalho, Rio de Janeiro, Brazil

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Action | Drama | History


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Release Date:

March 1979 (USA)  »

Also Known As:

The 47 Ronin  »

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Aspect Ratio:

1.37 : 1
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Did You Know?


The original play "Genroku Chushingura" is probably the most well researched, historically accurate account of the famous Ako Vendetta that happened in 1702. Though the film was partially supported by the Ministry of Information to promote the idea of loyalty to the Japanese population just before entering WW II, it is interesting that the original play was written for the communism-oriented collective Kabuki troops 'Zenshinza', and most of the original cast members also played the same roles in the film version. See more »


From ~1:40 to ~1:44 an appropriate dialog sequence occurs starting with three men walking a path with one saying "Counselor, the decision has come" and ending with "we need have no fear." That same sequence is duplicated at ~2:22 to ~2:26 with the additional dialog at the end "I want you two to return to Edo at once and inform our brothers there that I will be arriving shortly." This duplicate is out of sequence with the story. See more »


Referenced in Kenji Mizoguchi: The Life of a Film Director (1975) See more »

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User Reviews

Samurai lose their master and then plan revenge
30 January 2016 | by (United States) – See all my reviews

I watched a 222-minute version of "47 Ronin" with English subtitles that appear to be adequate but no more. The original is said to run 241 minutes. However, I doubt very much that I missed anything essential because we know what major elements Mizoguchi left out of the film when he filmed this famous story. We know that the film doesn't show what brought about the friction between Lord Asano and Lord Kira, Asano's hara-kiri, preparations for the attack by the 47 ronin and the attack itself, the deliberations of the shogun after the attack and the suicides of the ronin.

The film focuses on Lord Asano's chamberlain, his right-hand man, and how he intends to take revenge on Kira. This involves a lengthy deception in order that Kira and his protectors lower their guard. The objectives of the revenge are not so much revenge per se but loyalty to Asano, honor, saving face and adhering to the the samurai code which includes meeting one's oaths and obligations. An honorable and courageous death is weighed more heavily than a disgraced life.

I do not see the film as containing propaganda. Its timing in 1941, the fact that it was commissioned to be made as a story that holds up self-sacrifice as a strong value, that clearly had a political aim. But the story itself had long been celebrated and has been re-made since, and it reverberates in Japanese culture regardless of time period and political context.

The film is slow but that is counteracted by a high degree of intensity and the masterly staging and camera work. There are also very interesting problems that the chamberlain must deal with so as to maintain influence over the ronin and not jump the gun. At times he appears weak and indecisive as part of the plan.

The movie shows two conflicting tendencies in action. There is a broad enveloping atmosphere of order, via codes and customs and laws. The surroundings are orderly and geometrical. People interact with rules of behavior such as bowing. There is respect. On the other hand, disorder works itself out within this broad framework. The disorder arises from human conflicts and passions. They are expressed but also ultimately subdued by the broader order. The feudal code ties the samurai to their lord. If he goes down, as Lord Asano has, their position is greatly harmed. They lose status as vassals of their lord, and their economic sharing arrangement is severed. Thus, the attack by Asano on Kira introduces disorder. Higher officials judge that he must die by hara kiri, which he does, but that isn't enough to restore order. To the ronin, Asano had a legitimate case against Kira. His death didn't restore order. It didn't uphold honor. It didn't allow their loyalty to play out. It didn't allow the disgrace to be erased.

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