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Rashomon (1950)
"Rashômon" (original title)

 -  Crime | Drama  -  26 December 1951 (USA)
8.4
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Ratings: 8.4/10 from 77,165 users  
Reviews: 241 user | 135 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 #92 | Nominated for 1 Oscar. Another 9 wins & 2 nominations. See more awards »

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Cast

Complete credited cast:
...
Machiko Kyô ...
...
...
Minoru Chiaki ...
Kichijirô Ueda ...
Noriko Honma ...
Daisuke Katô ...
Policeman
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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 more »

Taglines:

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

Genres:

Crime | Drama

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

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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

Priest: I don't want to hear it. No more horror stories.
Commoner: They are common stories these days. I even heard that the demon living here in Rashômon fled in fear of the ferocity of man.
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Connections

Referenced in One Night at McCool's (2001) See more »

Frequently Asked Questions

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User Reviews

What did we just see?
10 February 2002 | by (Amsterdam, Netherlands) – See all my reviews

'People forget the unpleasant things. They only remember what they want to remember.'

In Rashomon the editing tells ½ of the story. It may feel experimental or unconventional, but Kurosawa perfects the concept second by second, directing and editing. This film didn't need a big budget to come perfectly to the point. It's a simple tale, but not a superficial tale. Different points of view and selective memories ('It's true! I saw it!') don't only make the woods unsafe, but are one of the most universal topics of humanity. 'We humans are weak creatures. That's why we lie, even to ourselves' says it all actually: it's about what people want to hear and when they start being interested at all, apart from wishful thinking. Selfish excuses vs trust in other people.

Rashomon gets masterful when in one instant there is literally a different point of view: the camera takes another position to shoot the same sequence, thereby forcing the audience to reconsider what they just saw. That is the sort of storytelling that the supposed masters of cinema in our time yet have to equal, or try to copy when they fail. Admitted 'Memento' (2000, Nolan) is a truly great one. Still not THAT universal. 'Pulp Fiction' (1994) didn't come close, 'La Commare Secca' (1962) also didn't. 'Ghost dog: the way of the samurai' (1999) touched another border of the concept, or does it?

The use of (non-original) music in my opinion reveals a certain interest for western influence, not only in Rashomon, but also in Kurosawa's forthcoming films, and is probably why his films were so influential on western filmmakers too.

The cinematography is dynamic and changes scene by scene to emphasize exactly what is going on. The shadows of leaves and branches, captured by cinematographer Kazuo Miyagawa, make you really feel 'in the woods', while the actors (Toshirô Mifune, Takashi Shimura) convince the remaining part of the audience (which adds up to 100% breathless viewers). It may be after days that you first realize you saw an important film. After weeks you realize that you must see it again to comprehend (despite it's only 85 min), and ironically that is just one of the crucial points that Kurosawa made. 10/10


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