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The Hidden Fortress (1958)
"Kakushi-toride no san-akunin" (original title)

 -  Adventure | Drama  -  6 October 1960 (USA)
8.0
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Ratings: 8.0/10 from 19,595 users  
Reviews: 85 user | 66 critic

Lured by gold, two greedy peasants escort a man and woman across enemy lines. However, they do not realize that their companions are actually a princess and her general.

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Cast

Cast overview, first billed only:
...
Minoru Chiaki ...
Kamatari Fujiwara ...
Matashichi
Susumu Fujita ...
...
Misa Uehara ...
Eiko Miyoshi ...
Old Lady-in-Waiting
Toshiko Higuchi ...
Farmer's Daughter bought from slave trader
Yû Fujiki ...
Barrier guard
Yoshio Tsuchiya ...
Samurai on horse
Kokuten Kôdô ...
Old man in front of sign
Takeshi Katô ...
Fleeing, bloody samurai
Kôji Mitsui ...
Guard
Toranosuke Ogawa ...
Magistrate of the bridge barrier
Kichijirô Ueda ...
Slave Trader
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Storyline

The story follows two greedy peasants in feudal Japan, Tahei and Matashichi, who are returning home from a failed attempt to profit from a war between neighboring clans. En Route they encounter the remnants of the defeated tribe that consists, most notably, of a famous General and a Princess who are hiding out in a fortress in the mountains. General Rokurota Makabe and Princess Yuki need to escape into allied territory with their large supply of gold so that they can rebuild their shattered clan. To do this the Peasants are tricked into helping them, with the promise that they will receive a large share of the gold when the destination is reached. Along the way, the General's prowess is put to the test as he must guide the 4, and later 5 with the inclusion of a freed slave, through close encounters with the pursuing enemy, and out of difficult situations the bumbling peasants manage to get them into. Written by Jeff Napierala

Plot Summary | Add Synopsis

Plot Keywords:

gold | princess | mute | fortress | duel | See more »

Genres:

Adventure | Drama

Certificate:

Not Rated | See all certifications »

Parents Guide:

 »
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Details

Country:

Language:

Release Date:

6 October 1960 (USA)  »

Also Known As:

Hidden Fortress  »

Filming Locations:

 »

Company Credits

Production Co:

 »
Show detailed on  »

Technical Specs

Runtime:

| (1959) | (cut)

Sound Mix:

(Westrex Recording System)

Aspect Ratio:

2.35 : 1
See  »
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Did You Know?

Trivia

Akira Kurosawa made this commercial and accessible film as a way to repay Toho Studios for allowing him to make riskier, more artistic fare such as Rashomon (1950). It was later one of the greatest inspirations for George Lucas' Star Wars: Episode IV - A New Hope (1977). See more »

Goofs

In the opening sequence the two villagers see a soldier killed by cavalry. Within moments the soldier is stiffened with a hand in the air, despite the fact that it takes hours for rigor mortis to set in. See more »

Quotes

[first lines]
Tahei: Get away from me! You stink of dead bodies!
See more »

Connections

References Johnny Guitar (1954) See more »

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User Reviews

Waiting for Rokurota
27 July 2003 | by (Elmira, NY) – See all my reviews

The Hidden Fortress is a fine movie that deserves better than to be remembered as the inspiration for Star Wars. Two more dissimilar movies would hard to be imagined. The peasants bear a striking resemblance to Vladimir and Estragon in their infighting, negotiable affection for each other and their seeming inability to make any real progress toward any goal whatsoever. They are truly a venal pair, loveable only in their humanity and humor.

I saw The Hidden Fortress on the Criterion DVD. Beautiful print but no commentary outside of a brief interview with George Lucas distancing himself from the film's alleged influence on Star Wars. It would have been nice to hear interviews with surviving cast and crew or a knowledgeable historian. Criterion also made a terrible choice in not translating more of the credits. Only Kurosawa and Mifuni had the honor of an English translation. Surely Misa Uehara, Minoru Chaiki and Kamatari Fujiwara deserve to have their names known to we who lack basic Japanese. The Princess and the peasants help make this movie what it is. I gripe too much though. Without Criterion (and Netflix)I would not have been able to see this movie at all.

Again, The Hidden Fortress is a great movie that also happens to be great fun. Highly recommended


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