6.8/10
3,071
27 user 36 critic

Sanshiro Sugata (1943)

Sugata Sanshirô (original title)
Sugata, a young man, struggles to learn the nuance and meaning of judo, and in doing so comes to learn something of the meaning of life.

Director:

Writers:

, (novel)
Reviews

On Disc

at Amazon

Learn more

People who liked this also liked... 

Action | Adventure
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 6.2/10 X  

Sugata returns to prove his judo mastery in a match against Western opponents.

Director: Akira Kurosawa
Stars: Denjirô Ôkôchi, Susumu Fujita, Ryûnosuke Tsukigata
Adventure | Drama | Thriller
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 6.9/10 X  

A Japanese general and his men disguise themselves as monks in order to pass an enemy border patrol.

Director: Akira Kurosawa
Stars: Denjirô Ôkôchi, Susumu Fujita, Ken'ichi Enomoto
Drama
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 5.8/10 X  

During World War II, the management of a war industry of optical instruments for weapons requests an effort from the workers to increase the productivity during four months. The target for ... See full summary »

Director: Akira Kurosawa
Stars: Takashi Shimura, Sôji Kiyokawa, Ichirô Sugai
Drama
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.2/10 X  

The daughter of a politically disgraced university professor struggles to find a place for herself in love and life, in the uncertain world of Japan leading into WWII.

Director: Akira Kurosawa
Stars: Setsuko Hara, Susumu Fujita, Denjirô Ôkôchi
Drama | Romance
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.3/10 X  

Yuzo and his fiancée Masako spend their Sunday afternoon together, trying to have a good time on just thirty-five yen. They manage to have many small adventures, especially because Masako's... See full summary »

Director: Akira Kurosawa
Stars: Isao Numasaki, Chieko Nakakita, Atsushi Watanabe
Scandal (1950)
Drama
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.4/10 X  

A celebrity photograph sparks a court case as a tabloid magazine spins a scandalous yarn over a painter and a famous singer.

Director: Akira Kurosawa
Stars: Toshirô Mifune, Shirley Yamaguchi, Yôko Katsuragi
Drunken Angel (1948)
Crime | Drama | Romance
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.8/10 X  

A drunken doctor with a hot temper and a violence-prone gangster with tuberculosis form a quicksilver bond.

Director: Akira Kurosawa
Stars: Takashi Shimura, Toshirô Mifune, Reizaburô Yamamoto
Drama
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.5/10 X  

A surgeon gets syphilis from a patient when he cuts himself during an operation. The doctor's life is destroyed, but unlike the patient, he doesn't destroy others along with him.

Director: Akira Kurosawa
Stars: Toshirô Mifune, Takashi Shimura, Miki Sanjô
Drama
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 6.6/10 X  

Two sisters, one a dancer and the other a script supervisor at a big movie studio, become embroiled in union activities when a strike is called in sympathy with striking railroad workers, ... See full summary »

Directors: Akira Kurosawa, Hideo Sekigawa, and 1 more credit »
Stars: Susumu Fujita, Hideko Takamine, Kenji Susukida
Drama
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.4/10 X  

An aging, industrialist Japanese man becomes so fearful of nuclear war that it begins to take a toll on his life and family.

Director: Akira Kurosawa
Stars: Toshirô Mifune, Takashi Shimura, Minoru Chiaki
Stray Dog (1949)
Crime | Drama | Mystery
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.9/10 X  

During a sweltering summer, a rookie homicide detective tries to track down his stolen Colt pistol.

Director: Akira Kurosawa
Stars: Toshirô Mifune, Takashi Shimura, Keiko Awaji
The Idiot (1951)
Drama | Romance
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.4/10 X  

A Japanese veteran, driven partially mad from the war, travels to the snowy island of Kameda where he soon enters a love triangle with his best friend and a disgraced woman.

Director: Akira Kurosawa
Stars: Setsuko Hara, Masayuki Mori, Toshirô Mifune
Edit

Cast

Cast overview, first billed only:
Denjirô Ôkôchi ...
Susumu Fujita ...
Yukiko Todoroki ...
Ryûnosuke Tsukigata ...
...
Hansuke Murai, Sayo's father
Ranko Hanai ...
Sugisaku Aoyama ...
Tsunetami Iinuma
Ichirô Sugai ...
Police Chief Mishima
Yoshio Kosugi ...
Master Saburo Monma
Kokuten Kôdô ...
Buddhist Priest
Michisaburo Segawa ...
Hatta
Akitake Kôno ...
Sôji Kiyokawa ...
Kunio Mita ...
Akira Nakamura ...
Toranosuke Niizeki
Edit

Storyline

Sanshiro, a strong stubborn youth, comes to the city to apprentice at a jujitsu school. His first night, he sees Yano in action, a master of judo, a more spiritual art, and he begs to be Yano's student. As the youth learns technique, he must also learn "satori," the calm acceptance of Nature's law. If he can balance strength and control, then judo may become the training regimen for the city's police, Sanshiro can gain respect from an old teacher in a jujitsu school, and he can win the hand of Sayo, that teacher's daughter, who is also sought by jujitsu's finest master, the implacable Higaki, who vows to kill Sanshiro in a midnight fight on a windswept mountainside. Written by <jhailey@hotmail.com>

Plot Summary | Add Synopsis


Certificate:

See all certifications »

Parents Guide:

 »
Edit

Details

Country:

Language:

Release Date:

28 April 1974 (USA)  »

Also Known As:

Sanshiro Sugata  »

Filming Locations:

 »

Company Credits

Show detailed on  »

Technical Specs

Runtime:

| (original)

Sound Mix:

Aspect Ratio:

1.37 : 1
See  »
Edit

Did You Know?

Trivia

The climactic fight scene was originally planned to be filmed on a staged set with painted clouds and large wind fans. Akira Kurosawa, unhappy with the look, got permission from the studio for three more outdoor location days. Day three delivered the huge windstorm used in the final footage. See more »

Connections

Featured in Great Performances: Kurosawa (2000) See more »

Frequently Asked Questions

This FAQ is empty. Add the first question.

User Reviews

 
a kind of prototype for Kurosawa's future films, aside from being a fine debut
26 May 2007 | by (United States) – See all my reviews

There's a great small scene about ten to fifteen minutes into Sanshiro Sugata where the young and inexperienced Sugata, who has just gotten into a turbulent street-fight, is told by a judo instructor- the one he wants to be his instructor- that he has no humanity, at least not to be fighting Judo, and that giving judo skills to one without humanity is "like giving a knife to a lunatic." Did Akira Kurosawa know that one of his paramount concerns as a filmmaker would be to tell stories where characters were faced with this problem, of either gaining appropriate humanity, or losing it, or having the difficult but rewarding task of embracing it for him/herself? Probably not exactly, at the least that his other end of the career spectrum- Madadayo- would be precisely concerned with this ideal, of a man having to deal with self worth, and the skills that one's been given in life properly and with humility (and, in essence, Kurosawa himself as a director). But it's of interesting note, at least in the scope of his first film, Sanshiro Sugata (Judo Saga), which contains many of the trademarks of a Kurosawa film, and at the same time the fiery passion, if only in big spurts, of a filmmaker right on the edge of a career for Toho studios.

There are little notes to take for Kurosawa fans, little things that will give many a grin and even a laugh at what pops up: the classic "wipes" as means of scene transitions; the usage of slow-motion during an action/fight sequence, in this case at the end of a fight as the opponent conks out and the flag (this part in slow-motion) falls to the ground; Takashi Shimura, who appeared in more Kurosawa films than Mifune, as one of Sugata's opponents, who's a tough cookie but a fair fight who at the end gives Sugata praise as a great fighter; symbolism in usage of the sky, flowers, and other Earthly means as a way to communicate the environment of a scene, and a specific nature about it, as much as the characters in it. All the same, this is not to say that Sanshiro Sugata is exactly a masterwork right off the bat for the 32 year old filmmaker; the use of certain symbols, like when Sugata is in the mucky pond trying to have his own form of penance and snaps out of it once seeing a flower right in front of his face, isn't really as effective as intended and comes off as more of a cliché than anything else. The subplot with Sugata and the daughter is undercooked as romance, even as brief as it is. And the fact that the film now stands as missing 17 minutes is a hindrance; one has to comment on what remains as opposed to what could have been a complete work from Kurosawa (not as detrimental as the Idiot, but still bothersome all the same as in the title-card transitions).

But as an act of passionate action film-making, it stands its ground some 60+ years later in containing some intense scenes involving Sugata's training (I liked seeing Sugata coming face to face with a man who wants to challenge his boss, and dressed in more Western garb than anyone else in the film), and more specifically the actual fight scenes. While its a given that Kurosawa is a pro at getting down stubborn men- and professional traditionalist men for that matter- getting down and dirty and violent, it's impressive in hindsight from the rest of his career that he could add tension just by tilting the camera up during the street-fight, or in staying on the faces of the fighters, and numerous reaction shots, during the fights in the arena area. The Shimura fight especially has an aura of being as thrilling as a modern fight sequence, with aforementioned humanity coming through with every pummel and thrust and toss-up of one character over another. This all leads up to the climax, which is not only a highlight of the film but a highlight in the history of classic Japanese action sequences, as we see Kurosawa already relying on the sky, the grass pushed and pulled by wind, and the compassion of the others around the two opponents (the old man and the girl) as a fight to the death, seen mostly out of sight through the grass, proceeds intensely more due to the intent and emotion of the characters than traditional stunts and fast-pace editing.

Sanshiro Sugata is a worthy production in the cinematic cannon of Kurosawa, acting as a very good stand-alone effort for genre fans while speaking to his practically intuitive cinematic strengths at controlling the pace of a scene and meaning via certain visual cues and enjoyable performances garnered by the pro actors. It does show some of its age, and along with the cuts made in the only version available today (in a print, by the way, that is rather horrid considering who the director is) it had to face some given restrictions due to Japan's censorship laws, but it's also a cunning display of a debut showcasing the talents of a confident director in a film that was meant to be seen by a mass audience, if only for diversion during the war.


11 of 11 people found this review helpful.  Was this review helpful to you?

Message Boards

Recent Posts
half an hour in and I just don't know whether to bother going on cherold
I need an english translation. curlyconnor
Dark (lighting) Jholder29
Criterion Release on the way. Dec 8 2009 chupon
Discuss Sanshiro Sugata (1943) on the IMDb message boards »

Contribute to This Page

Create a character page for:
?