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Yojimbo (1961)
"Yôjinbô" (original title)

Unrated  |   |  Drama  |  13 September 1961 (USA)
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Ratings: 8.3/10 from 68,183 users  
Reviews: 156 user | 138 critic

A crafty ronin comes to a town divided by two criminal gangs and decides to play them against each other to free the town.



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Top Rated Movies #107 | 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 ...
Isuzu Yamada ...
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




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 »


When Sanjuro practices throwing the knife at a leaf, the wire on the knife is clearly visible (the scene was filmed backwards; the knife was actually pulled off the leaf by the wire). See more »


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


Referenced in When the Raven Flies (1984) See more »

Frequently Asked Questions

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User Reviews

Great movie with one cool character
28 October 2002 | by (Queens, NY) – See all my reviews

I just figured out why Toshirô Mifune is so mesmerizing to watch. It's just the way he expresses himself. This guy's amazing!

I've been exploring the halls of Kurosawa and it's getting hard to leave. Yojimbo is a FUN film to watch. Toshiro as the samurai steals almost every scene he is in and I think the epitome of his character is when he's in Gonji's place lying on the floor. He doesn't brag, but when he goes into action, that's it! As soon as he enters the chaotic town, he doesn't seem fazed at all and actually enjoys it. His demeanor is really amusing and it's great watching his plan unfold; how he manipulates both groups to get his way (it's really funny). Great thing too is he's not really a hero and he's not entirely a villain. He doesn't hesitate to kill, but does so methodically. You also have "characters" including Gonji, the thugs from both sides, and Unosuke with an ace up his sleeve (or robe?) which makes things really interesting.

Yojimbo's mix of dark humor, action, and a great performance from Mifune make for a Kurosawa classic.

42 of 51 people found this review helpful.  Was this review helpful to you?

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