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Yojimbo (1961) More at IMDbPro »Yôjinbô (original title)

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Yojimbo -- The incomparable Toshiro Mifune stars in Akira Kurosawa's visually stunning and darkly comic Yojimbo. To rid a terror-stricken village of corruption, wily masterless samurai Sanjuro turns a range war between two evil clans to his own advantage. Remade twice, by Sergio Leone and Walter Hill, this exhilarating genre-twister remains one of the most influential and entertaining films of all time.


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Akira Kurosawa (story)
Akira Kurosawa (screenplay) ...
View company contact information for Yojimbo on IMDbPro.
Release Date:
13 September 1961 (USA) See more »
A crafty ronin comes to a town divided by two criminal gangs and decides to play them against each other to free the town. Full summary » | Full synopsis »
Plot Keywords:
Nominated for Oscar. Another 4 wins & 1 nomination See more »
(159 articles)
User Reviews:
The epitome of cinema cool. See more (156 total) »


  (in credits order) (complete, awaiting verification)

Toshirô Mifune ... Sanjuro Kuwabatake / The Samurai

Tatsuya Nakadai ... Unosuke - Gunfighter
Yôko Tsukasa ... Nui
Isuzu Yamada ... Orin
Daisuke Katô ... Inokichi - Ushitora's Rotund Brother
Seizaburô Kawazu ... Seibê - Brothel Operator

Takashi Shimura ... Tokuemon - Sake Brewer
Hiroshi Tachikawa ... Yoichiro
Yôsuke Natsuki ... Kohei's Son
Eijirô Tôno ... Gonji - Tavern Keeper
Kamatari Fujiwara ... Tazaemon
Ikio Sawamura ... Hansuke
Atsushi Watanabe ... The Cooper - Coffin-Maker
Susumu Fujita ... Homma - Instructor Who Skips Town
Kyû Sazanka ... Ushitora
Kô Nishimura ... Kuma
Takeshi Katô ... Ronin Kobuhachi
Ichirô Nakatani ... First Samurai
Sachio Sakai ... First Foot Soldier
Akira Tani ... Kame
Tsunagorô Rashômon ... Kannuki the Giant
Yoshio Tsuchiya ... Kohei
Gen Shimizu ... Magotaro
Yutaka Sada ... Matsukichi
Shin Ôtomo ... Kumosuke
Shôichi Hirose ... Ushitora Follower
Hideyo Amamoto ... Yahachi
Shôji Ôki ... Sukeju
Fuminori Ôhashi ... Second Samurai
Hiroshi Yoseyama ... Farmer
Senkichi Ômura ... Traveler
Noriko Honma ... Farmer's Ex-wife
Ryusuke Nishio ... Seibei Follower
Naoya Kusakawa ... Seibei Follower
Nadao Kirino ... Seibei Follower
Jun Ôtomo ... Seibei Follower
Shinpei Takagi ... Ushitora Follower
Akio Kusama ... Ushitora Follower
Yasuzô Ogawa ... Ushitora Follower
Hiroshi Takagi ... Ushitora Follower
Jun'ichirô Mukai ... Seibei Follower
Fumiyoshi Kamagaya ... Seibei Follower
Ichirô Chiba ... Second Foot Soldier
Haruya Sakamoto ... Ushitora Follower
Rinsaku Ogata ... Seibei Follower
Fumio Kogushi ... Ushitora Follower
Yoko Terui ... Woman at Seibei's House
Hiromi Mineoka ... Woman at Seibei's House
Michiko Kawa ... Woman at Seibei's House
rest of cast listed alphabetically:
Takuzô Kumagai (as Jirô Kumagai)
Jerry Fujio ... Roku - Samurai Whose Arm Is Cut (uncredited)

Directed by
Akira Kurosawa 
Writing credits
Akira Kurosawa (story)

Akira Kurosawa (screenplay) &
Ryûzô Kikushima (screenplay)

Produced by
Ryûzô Kikushima .... executive producer
Akira Kurosawa .... producer
Tomoyuki Tanaka .... executive producer
Original Music by
Masaru Satô 
Cinematography by
Kazuo Miyagawa 
Film Editing by
Akira Kurosawa 
Production Design by
Yoshirô Muraki 
Costume Design by
Yoshirô Muraki 
Makeup Department
Yoshiko Matsumoto .... hair stylist
Junjirô Yamada .... hair stylist
Production Management
Hiroshi Nezu .... production supervisor
Second Unit Director or Assistant Director
Masanobu Deme .... assistant director
Shirô Moritani .... chief assistant director
Art Department
Kôichi Hamamura .... property master
Yoshifumi Honda .... assistant art director
Sound Department
Chôshichirô Mikami .... sound recordist
Ichirô Minawa .... sound effects editor
Masanobu Miyazaki .... sound mixer
Zen Shida .... assistant sound
Hisashi Shimonaga .... sound recordist
Camera and Electrical Department
Masao Fukuda .... still photographer
Chôshirô Ishii .... lighting technician
Shôji Kaneko .... assistant lighting technician
Takao Saitô .... assistant camera
Costume and Wardrobe Department
Masahiro Katô .... costumer
Editorial Department
Reiko Kaneko .... assistant editor
Transportation Department
Ginzo Osumi .... transportation coordinator
Other crew
Hiroshi Kanesu .... choreographer
Ryû Kuze .... swordplay technique
Teruyo Nogami .... script supervisor
Yoshio Sugino .... swordplay instructor
Crew believed to be complete

Production CompaniesDistributorsOther Companies

Additional Details

Also Known As:
"Yôjinbô" - Japan (original title)
"The Bodyguard" - International (English title) (literal title)
"Yojimbo the Bodyguard" - USA (alternative title)
See more »
110 min
Aspect Ratio:
2.35 : 1 See more »
Sound Mix:
Perspecta Stereo (Westrex Recording System)
Argentina:ATP | Australia:PG | Finland:K-16 | Germany:12 | Netherlands:12 | New Zealand:M | Norway:16 | Spain:13 | Sweden:15 | UK:A (original rating) | UK:PG (video rating) (1993) | USA:Unrated | USA:TV-MA (cable rating)
Filming Locations:

Did You Know?

Director Trademark: [Akira Kurosawa] [weather]Like in most Kurosawa films, rainy weather is present in a few scenes, increasing the effect of the characters' discomfort. The windy weather all throughout the film represents the chaotic life in the town.See more »
Revealing mistakes: The wire used to pull the Yakuza's cut kimono off can be seen as he gets up from the ground.See more »
[first lines]
Farmer:[in Japanese] Wait, son.
Traveler:[in Japanese] Let me go, father. It's my chance.
See more »
Movie Connections:


Is this movie based on a book?
Any recommendations for movies similar to "Yojimbo"?
Who did the man with the prayer drums kill?
See more »
130 out of 157 people found the following review useful.
The epitome of cinema cool., 6 February 2004

If you ever watched Pulp Fiction and thought: movie cool was born here, or maybe you saw any single Sergio Leone movie and thought: this guy invented movie-cool (if you haven't, i thoroughly recommend it - Kill Bill is nothing to his Good, the Bad and the Ugly or Once Upon a Time in the West), then experience Yojimbo, or The Bodyguard. Kurosawa's camera sits behind Toshiro Mifune's man-with-no-name, inviting us to look up at the back of his head as he walks the earth, inviting us to be in awe of this man. And as he walks, super-cool walking-the-earth music plays. Later on, when he's taunted and asked to prove himself, he slices a guy's arm off and plays the petty, money-grabbing rival factions in the town he wanders into off each other.

If you have it in your mind that a guy called Kurosawa couldn't make movies that would impress you, that the cultural gap would be too great - be assured that Kurosawa's movies are rife with Western values. Sure, they are rife with Japanese values (i am told), but Kurosawa had a great appreciation of Western culture. He based many of his movies on Western texts, like Shakespeare, Dostoyevsky, or American gangster fiction and film. Yojimbo is one of the latter - inspired by the Dashiell Hammet novel Red Harvest (Hammett's novel The Maltese Falcon was put onscreen moment for moment by John Huston in the movie of the same name which immortalised Humphrey Bogart).

Actually, the history of the story of the lone wolf, the wanderer with a weapon, who rides into town to play off two warring factions against each other - is quite a story itself. Dashiell Hammett, an American, wrote a novel with an American private eye as the stranger. In 1961, Akira Kurosawa transposed this story to medieval Japan, after the fall of a dynasty, where a Samurai finds himself with no place to go (at the beginning, we see him throw a branch up in the air and walk the direction it falls), and no master to serve. A bodyguard with no-one to protect. In 1964, Sergio Leone transposed the screenplay of Yojimbo (nearly word for word) to the spanish desert, and he brought along a young television actor named Clint Eastwood, and together they revolutionised the western with Fistfull of Dollars, and created an entire genre, the Spaghetti Western, which sported among its attributes a gritty, desolate landscape, and a cynical, postmodern lack-of-values ideology (traditional American westerns had quite plush landscapes and were always black and white (good and evil) in their value system. Despite the massive influence of Fistfull of Dollars, it pales in comparison to both its predecessor Yojimbo, and its sequals, For a Few Dollars More and The Good the Bad and the Ugly. But still, both Yojimbo and Fistful are iconic movies, and very cool movies.

With cool music, a cool anti-hero, a fun script, and a visually spectacular canvas of an image, painted by the eye of an artist (it is said that Kurosawa storyboarded his movies in full-scale paintings), Yojimbo is one of the coolest movies ever made.

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The samurai never paid back the restaurant owner thecrux-1
What's your favourite Kurosawa? jon-larsen
Criterion for only $1.99 RolandtheSilver
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IMDB top 250 DaikengoX
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