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Yojimbo (1961)

Yôjinbô (original title)
Unrated | | Action, Drama, Thriller | 13 September 1961 (USA)
A crafty ronin comes to a town divided by two criminal gangs and decides to play them against each other to free the town.



(story), (screenplay) | 1 more credit »
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Top Rated Movies #109 | Nominated for 1 Oscar. Another 4 wins & 1 nomination. See more awards »



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Cast overview, first billed only:
Unosuke - Gunfighter
Yôko Tsukasa ...
Daisuke Katô ...
Inokichi - Ushitora's Rotund Brother
Seizaburô Kawazu ...
Seibê - Brothel Operator
Tokuemon - Sake Brewer
Hiroshi Tachikawa ...
Yôsuke Natsuki ...
Kohei's Son
Eijirô Tôno ...
Gonji - Tavern Keeper
Kamatari Fujiwara ...
Ikio Sawamura ...
Atsushi Watanabe ...
The Cooper - Coffin-Maker
Susumu Fujita ...
Homma - Instructor Who Skips Town
Kyû Sazanka ...


Sanjuro, a wandering samurai enters a rural town in nineteenth century Japan. After learning from the innkeeper that the town is divided between two gangsters, he plays one side off against the other. His efforts are complicated by the arrival of the wily Unosuke, the son of one of the gangsters, who owns a revolver. Unosuke has Sanjuro beaten after he reunites an abducted woman with her husband and son, then massacres his father's opponents. During the slaughter, the samurai escapes with the help of the innkeeper; but while recuperating at a nearby temple, he learns of innkeeper's abduction by Unosuke, and returns to the town to confront him. Written by Bernard Keane <BKeane2@email.dot.gov.au>

Plot Summary | Plot Synopsis


Action | Drama | Thriller


Unrated | See all certifications »

Parents Guide:





Release Date:

13 September 1961 (USA)  »

Also Known As:

Yojimbo  »

Filming Locations:


Company Credits

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Technical Specs


Sound Mix:

(Westrex Recording System)

Aspect Ratio:

2.35 : 1
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Did You Know?


Tatsuya Nakadai, who plays the flamboyant, pistol-waving Unosuke here, also plays the main villain role in the Yojimbo sequel, Sanjuro (1962). See more »


The interval between the noise of the gunshot, and the ringing of bell is too long. See more »


[first lines]
Farmer: [in Japanese] Wait, son.
Traveler: [in Japanese] Let me go, father. It's my chance.
See more »


Referenced in Fear, Panic & Censorship (2000) See more »

Frequently Asked Questions

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User Reviews

Kurosawa's Influential Stroke Of Genius
6 June 2006 | by See all my reviews

Akira Kurosawa is widely (and rightly) thought of as one of the most important filmmakers in the history of motion pictures. "Yojimbo", one of the masterpieces that have earned him this more than deserved reputation, is not only one of the best, but also one of the most influential movies ever made. Only three years after its release another great director, Sergio Leone, who named Yojimbo one of his favorite movies, used it as the model for another masterpiece, "A Fistful Of Dollars" and rose the Italian Western to an international level.

In 1860, a time when the sword is still the most common weapon in the Japanese province, but gradually gets replaced by the revolver, a lonely Ronin, a Samurai without a master to serve,(Toshiro Mifune) who dashes around the county, comes to a little town terrorized by two bosses and their criminal gangs and decides to end the people's suffering and free the town. He is hired by one of the gangs as a bodyguard, only to switch sides and pit the two, already hostile, gangs against each other.

Toshiro Mifune, one of the greatest character actors of all time, is impressive in his role of the Samurai, generally the acting is great in this movie, the supporting cast contains such actors as the great and unforgettable Takashi Shimura. The cinematography is great and the movie's brilliant score, composed by Fumio Hayasaka, is one of its kind. The writing and directing by the inimitable Akira Kurosawa is more than brilliant. One of the greatest movies by one of the greatest directors of all-time, and an absolute must-see for everyone interested in cinema!

7 of 8 people found this review helpful.  Was this review helpful to you?

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