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Rashomon (1950)
"Rashômon" (original title)

Unrated  |   |  Crime, Drama, Mystery  |  26 December 1951 (USA)
8.4
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Ratings: 8.4/10 from 86,133 users  
Reviews: 256 user | 142 critic

A heinous crime and its aftermath are recalled from differing points of view.

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(stories), (screenplay), 1 more credit »
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Title: Rashomon (1950)

Rashomon (1950) on IMDb 8.4/10

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Top 250 #97 | Nominated for 1 Oscar. Another 10 wins & 2 nominations. See more awards »

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Cast

Complete credited cast:
...
Machiko Kyô ...
...
...
Minoru Chiaki ...
Kichijirô Ueda ...
Noriko Honma ...
Daisuke Katô ...
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Storyline

A priest, a woodcutter and another man are taking refuge from a rainstorm in the shell of a former gatehouse called Rashômon. The priest and the woodcutter are recounting the story of a murdered samurai whose body the woodcutter discovered three days earlier in a forest grove. Both were summoned to testify at the murder trial, the priest who ran into the samurai and his wife traveling through the forest just before the murder occurred. Three other people who testified at the trial are supposedly the only direct witnesses: a notorious bandit named Tajômaru, who allegedly murdered the samurai and raped his wife; the white veil cloaked wife of the samurai; and the samurai himself who testifies through the use of a medium. The three tell a similarly structured story - that Tajômaru kidnapped and bound the samurai so that he could rape the wife - but which ultimately contradict each other, the motivations and the actual killing being what differ. The woodcutter reveals at Rashômon that he ... Written by Huggo

Plot Summary | Plot Synopsis

Plot Keywords:

samurai | trial | priest | murder | forest | See All (41) »

Taglines:

The husband, the wife...or the bandit? See more »

Genres:

Crime | Drama | Mystery

Certificate:

Unrated | See all certifications »

Parents Guide:

 »
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Details

Country:

Language:

Release Date:

26 December 1951 (USA)  »

Also Known As:

Rashomon  »

Company Credits

Show detailed on  »

Technical Specs

Runtime:

Sound Mix:

(Western Electric Recording)

Aspect Ratio:

1.37 : 1
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Did You Know?

Trivia

Even during high noon the parts of the forest that the crew needed to shoot in were still too dark. Rather than use a regular foil reflector, which did not bounce enough light, Akira Kurosawa and cinematographer Kazuo Miyagawa opted to use a full-length mirror "borrowed" from Daiei's costume department. The crew bounced light from the mirror through leaves and trees to soften it and make it look more like natural sunlight. Miyagawa later called it the most successful lighting effect he had ever done. See more »

Quotes

Commoner: We all want to forget something, so we tell stories. It's easier that way.
See more »

Connections

Version of Little Red Riding Hood (1922) See more »

Frequently Asked Questions

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User Reviews

A Technical & Creative Success
29 September 2004 | by (Ohio) – See all my reviews

It's hard to tell just how striking "Rashômon" might have seemed to those who watched it in 1950, rather than seeing it after so many subsequent movies and other works have made use of its techniques and ideas. But it's clear that it is a technical and creative success. The story itself is not particularly satisfying, which was most likely by design, and the movie is carried by its structure and by the concept of the markedly different perspectives on the same series of events. The cast also deserve their share of credit for how well it works, and the photography is excellent, as it is in almost all of Kurosawa's films.

Kurosawa's expertise makes the interwoven sequences of past and present

  • essentially telling two different stories - not only work flawlessly,


but fit together thematically. It's even more commendable when compared to some of the subsequent films that have tried to use similar ideas, only to come off as pretentious rather than creative or innovative. Kurosawa was also working with much less in terms of possible precedents.

In one sense, the choice of specific story material could seem a little odd.

The downbeat, rather sordid scenario makes the movie somewhat less enjoyable than several of Kurosawa's other pictures (which is, admittedly, a pretty high standard), and as a result "Rashômon" is more a film to respect and admire than one to enjoy and take pleasure from. Still, it does have significantly more substance to it than do most of the more recent pictures that have been deliberately downbeat or negative in their portrayals of humanity. Such stories are more trendy at present, and they often receive undue praise simply for so being.

At the same time, the lack of sympathetic characters and the paucity of hopeful developments bring out all the more its success in developing its ideas about narrative and about reality, ideas that are more fundamental and, in their way, perhaps at least as important as any specific story or events.


38 of 55 people found this review helpful.  Was this review helpful to you?

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