Rashômon (1950) - Plot Summary Poster


Plot Summary

  • 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 knows more than he let on at the trial, thus bringing into question his own actions. But another discovery at Rashômon and the resulting actions from the discovery bring back into focus the woodcutter's own humanity or lack thereof.

    - Written by Huggo
  • Sheltering from a rainstorm in the derelict Rashomon gatehouse, a commoner wants to hear the strange story that has horrified a priest and confounded a woodcutter. They tell him about a murder inquiry at which they have just appeared as witnesses. Tajomaru (a bandit with a reputation for murder and lust) had managed to tie up a samurai and rape his wife. The woodcutter had discovered the dead body of the samurai in the forest, and the bandit was arrested the following day. But how the samurai was killed was unclear. Strangely, the three people involved all claim to be responsible. The bandit describes winning a dramatic sword fight. The distraught woman all but admits she was driven to stab her husband in desperation. Through a medium, the dead samurai claims his wife was treacherous, and that this drove him to suicide. Something has motivated at least two of them to lie, grotesquely subverting truth, justice, and decency. Even the woodcutter has not been forthright, and ironically, he feels that he too must lie. He changes his story, claims to have witnessed the crime, and gives yet another (the fourth) wild version of the samurai's death. The commoner is not fooled, and it only reinforces his cynical view of life. Then the men make a discovery, and their reactions reveal that, though there is terrible evil and mistrust in the world, there is also goodness.

    - Written by billheron53
  • In 12th century Japan, a samurai and his wife are attacked by the notorious bandit Tajomaru, and the samurai ends up dead. Tajomaru is captured shortly afterward and is put on trial, but his story and the wife's are so completely different that a psychic is brought in to allow the murdered man to give his own testimony. He tells yet another completely different story. Finally, a woodcutter who found the body reveals that he saw the whole thing, and his version is again completely different from the others.

    - Written by rmlohner
  • Rashomon (1950) is a Japanese crime drama, that is produced with both philosophical and psychological overtones. An episode (rape and murder) in a forest is reported by four witnesses, each from their own point of view. - Who is telling the truth? What is truth?

    - Written by Frode S. Stringer <fstringe@direct.ca>
  • A heinous crime and its aftermath are recalled from differing points of view.

    - Written by Eugene Kim <genekim@concentric.net>


Sheltering from a rainstorm in the ruins of the Rashomon gatehouse, a woodcutter (Takashi Shimura) and a priest (Minoru Chiaki) sit dejected...

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