Stray Dog (1949)
"Nora inu" (original title)

Not Rated  |   |  Crime, Drama, Film-Noir  |  31 August 1963 (USA)
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Ratings: 7.9/10 from 10,376 users  
Reviews: 65 user | 55 critic

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


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Cast overview, first billed only:
Keiko Awaji ...
Eiko Miyoshi ...
Noriko Sengoku ...
Noriko Honma ...
Wooden Tub Shop woman
Reikichi Kawamura
Eijirô Tôno
Yasushi Nagata ...
(as Kiyoshi Nagata)
Kappei Matsumoto
Isao Kimura ...
Minoru Chiaki ...
Girlie Show director
Teruko Kishi
Ichirô Sugai ...
Yayoi Hotel owner
Gen Shimizu ...
Police Inspector Nakajima


Murukami, a young homicide detective, has his pocket picked on a bus and loses his pistol. Frantic and ashamed, he dashes about trying to recover the weapon without success until taken under the wing of an older and wiser detective, Sato. Together they track the culprit. Written by Jim Beaver <>

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Not Rated | See all certifications »

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Release Date:

31 August 1963 (USA)  »

Also Known As:

Stray Dog  »

Filming Locations:


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Technical Specs


Sound Mix:

Aspect Ratio:

1.37 : 1
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Did You Know?


The debut film of Minoru Chiaki and his first (of ten) directed by Akira Kurosawa. See more »


Det. Sato: Bad luck can make a man or destroy a man.
See more »


Referenced in Magnum Force (1973) See more »


La Paloma
Written by Sebastián Yradier
Heard in the hotel and over the phone after Sato gets shot
See more »

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User Reviews

Akira Kurosawa on the verge of greatness.
25 January 2005 | by (Spokane, WA) – See all my reviews

The following year, 1950, would see Kurosawa achieve his first major international success with the masterpiece Rashomon. Here, Kurosawa doesn't quite have the sureness of touch which would characterize most of his career, but Stray Dog is nevertheless a fine film noir and an effective exploration of Kurosawa's ideas about postwar Japan in particular and the human condition in general.

As you might expect from such a genius, Kurosawa is not satisfied with a simple good-guys/bad-guys cops-and-robbers story. He explores in depth the social and economic conditions in postwar Japan which led many young people--particularly returning veterans--to take to crime, and also the particular circumstances which motivate the acts of Yusa (Isao Kimura), the criminal. Indeed, a series of mistakes by the hero, rookie detective Murakami (Toshiro Mifune), are one factor behind Yusa's crimes.

But neither is Stray Dog a facile blame-society message film, either. Kurosawa makes no excuses for Yusa. By giving Murakami a very similar history (so similar, in fact, that it comes off as a little contrived), Kurosawa makes the point that Yusa had the same choice as Murakami. That he chose differently is his responsibility.

But even more interesting to me is the character of chief detective Sato (Takashi Shimura), Murakami's superior officer, mentor, and friend.

Sato is the wise elder figure in this film, and in the hands of a lesser artist than Kurosawa, such a character generally ends up as a mouthpiece for the director's own viewpoint. Here, though, Kurosawa permits Sato to espouse a hardcore law-and-order philosophy: The cops are the good guys, the crooks are the bad guys, and that's it. Sato has no patience for Murakami's guilt feelings or touchy-feely philosophizing.

That Kurosawa would permit this view (which is not Kurosawa's view, nor the film's) to be given voice by the film's wisest, kindest, most competent, and most likable character is a mark of his confidence and courage.

32 of 38 people found this review helpful.  Was this review helpful to you?

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