Shichinin no samurai
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Seven Samurai (1954) More at IMDbPro »Shichinin no samurai (original title)

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The following FAQ entries may contain spoilers. Only the biggest ones (if any) will be covered with spoiler tags. Spoiler tags are used sparingly in order to make the page more readable.

For detailed information about the amounts and types of (a) sex and nudity, (b) violence and gore, (c) profanity, (d) alcohol, drugs and smoking, and (e) frightening and intense scenes in this movie, consult the IMDb Parents Guide for this movie. The Parents Guide for Shichinin no samurai can be found here.

『七人の侍』Shichinin no samurai (English: Seven Samurai) was co-written by Japanese director Akira Kurosawa and screenwriters Shinobu Hashimoto and Hideo Oguni.

Hair styles were very important back then. Samurai wore a particular hair style that identified them as Samurai. Having a top knot cut off was particularly dishonoring so Kambei shaving his head shows he is willing to think outside the box and, more importantly, traditions to solve problems. He is basically misleading the hostage taker into believing that he is not a warrior. It may seem a more dishonorable way to win, but it gets the job done.

There are many reasons. First, the Samurai have burned the Bandits homes and possibly food stores. Most likely, all the Bandits escaped with just the clothes on their back, their horses, and swords. All the supplies they needed, even to rebuild their fort, are in the village. Second, they wanted revenge, although, at one point we see two Bandits try to desert and be killed for their troubles. So, while some of the Bandits did want to just leave the village alone, it really was the Bandit Leader, with his ability to scare the others into obeying, who decides they are in it to the finish. Third, during these times there would have been a feeling to fulfill one's role. Japanese culture is conformist and it would have been shocking, even insulting to the Bandit Leader that samurai and villagers were acting outside their roles and working together. The Bandits role should be to pillage the village, and they try desperately to fulfill that role, maybe more so because their foes are not.

The horses have a say it in too. These are not war horses that were bred to obey. Would you willingly run into a fence of spears?

Try some of Akira Kurosawa's other jidaigeki cinema, like Ran (1985), Kagemusha (1980), and Yôjinbô (1961). If you like the martial arts, Jet Li movies like Ying xiong [Hero] (2002) and Huo yuanjia [Fearless] (2006) might be of interest. Wixua masterpiece Xia nü [A Touch of Zen] (1969) is seen as the influential epic grandmaster of the genre. Wo hu cang long [Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon] (2000) is probably the most well-known around the world. Some other wuxia flicks of note are Shi mian mai fu [House of Flying Daggers] (2004) and Man cheng jin dai huang jin jia [Curse of the Golden Flower] (2006). Other movies similar to Shichinin no samurai include Chi bi [Red Cliff] (2008), Musa (2001), and Ching se [Green Snake] (1993).

This is not an easily answered question because there are differing ideals on what a good Samurai is. Concerning sword skills, Kyuzo is far and away the best with a sword of all the Samurai and Ronin, and of all characters in the film. However, Katsushiro is actually the only true Samurai. He was born into a rich Samurai family and while his family probably has a Master, it's clear Katsushiro is not needed by him at this time. Katsushiro is probably traveling to see the world and gain much needed experience, when he approaches Kambei, he is not looking for a Master but a Teacher. He stays on to help the farmers out of pity and since they win the battle, he ends the film still as a rightful Samurai. The rest are Ronin so out of a technicality, Katsushiro is the best (and only) Samurai.


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