A veteran samurai, who has fallen on hard times, answers a village's request for protection from bandits. He gathers 6 other samurai to help him, and they teach the townspeople how to defend themselves, and they supply the samurai with three small meals a day. The film culminates in a giant battle when 40 bandits attack the village. Written by
Colin Tinto <email@example.com>
In recent decades, 'Yasujirô Ozu's' Tokyo Story (1953) and Akira Kurosawa's Seven Samurai (1954) have consistently polled as the two greatest Japanese films ever made in both Japanese and foreign movie lists. However, the two master directors had radically different styles and approaches, were employed (for the most part) by different studios, and thus worked with totally different crews. In fact, the only person associated with both films is the prolific character actor Eijirô Tôno, who played both Numata, a drinking buddy of the elderly protagonist, in Tokyo Story, and the desperate kidnapper whom Kambei confronts in Seven Samurai. See more »
When samurai or bandits are shot with muskets, the bullet strikes before the sound of the distant gunshot is heard. This is technically correct, due to the difference between the speeds of light and sound, and it is a feature of other Akira Kurosawa films, such as Kagemusha, although it gives the false impression that people are being shot before the guns are discharged. See more »
Story-telling at its finest, "Seven Samurai" is a terrific film not because of a handful of memorable scenes or lines, but rather because scene-by-scene, frame-by-frame, it tells an interesting story as well as it is possible to tell it. The story and characters are developed carefully, and everything about the movie, from the settings and props to the musical score, is done carefully and expertly.
Mifune grabs the attention in most of his scenes, and Shimura's more restrained character is a nice balance. Those two have the best parts, but all seven of the samurai are memorable characters. The sequence of events that collects the seven together occupies the first part of the movie, and forms a perfect foundation for the rest. A few of the villagers are also portrayed nicely, although they are naturally overshadowed when the samurai are around.
The story always moves along nicely, with many ups and downs. It has enough unpredictability to keep you interested the whole time, without ever losing its credibility. There is plenty of action, but there is also substance behind the action to give it more significance. The only possible drawback is the long running time (you can always split it up into two installments, but it's more satisfying if you can watch the whole story through at once), but there is little that you could cut out, even if you wanted to. It holds your attention the entire time with a good story and great technique, not by resorting to sensational or sordid details.
This movie well deserves its reputation for excellence, and is one that everyone who appreciates classic cinema will want to see and enjoy.
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