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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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Down 6% in popularity this week. See why on IMDbPro.
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:
Japanese Red Harvest See more (152 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
Namigoro Rashomon ... 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?

Masaki Kobayashi pushed back the filming of The Human Condition III: A Soldier's Prayer (1961) so that Tatsuya Nakadai could do "Yojimbo" for Akira Kurosawa, stating that it would be good for him to play a totally different character for a while.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:
Referenced in The Spaghetti West (2005) (V)See more »


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12 out of 17 people found the following review useful.
Japanese Red Harvest, 25 June 2006
Author: (winner55) from United States

In the middle '20's, Dashiell Hammett (best known as author of "The Maltese Falcon") wrote two unrelated novels, "The Glass Key", about Ned Beaumont an alcoholic gambler who uses duplicity to save his mob boss from taking a murder rap for a corrupt politician (all the while fending off a rival mobster), and 'Red Harvest", in which a nameless private eye (also alcoholic, a status shared by many Hammett heroes) is hired to clean up a small town kept in fear by two warring boot-leg mobs.

I believe "Red Harvest" did make it to film in the '30's, but I haven't been able to track that down and never saw it. "The Glass Key" was first made into a (not too successful) film in 1935, and then re-made in 1942. The remake concerns us here. Directed by Stuart Heisler in a style that compounds the typical crime film briskness of the '30's with the shaded undertones of the then developing 'noir' genre, it is actually quite a good film, and in a number of ways daring for its period. True to the novel, literally everyone in the film is corrupt in some way, and especially fascinating is the appearance of William Bendix in a minor role of an overtly homosexual sadist of a thug. Alan Ladd plays Ned Beaumont as a true anti-hero, cold, calculating, true to no ethic but his own - a type Hollywood at that time was having problems presenting, since the strong ethics of the character undercut all the assumptions of sociopathy of such types popular at the time. The film finally betrays itself with a "kiss-and-make-up" final scene that completely undercuts the ethical problematic of the novel (in which Beaumont finally betrays his boss by running off with the boss' fiancée). But until then, the movie moves towards its dark "who-dun-it" revelation rapidly and filled with tension.

There is a scene dead center in "The Glass Key" where Beaumont is captured by the rival mob boss and tortured by the sadistic thug (which is from the novel), and filled with Freudian undertones due to the homosexuality of the torturing thug (Bendix) (also implicit in the novel). I think it was Japanese cinema expert Donald Ritchie from whom I remember an anecdote that it was this scene that fascinated Akira Kurosawa to such an extent that he felt compelled to make a film based on a Hammett novel. Interestingly, he did not do a remake of "The Glass Key", however. Instead, he transposed "Red Harvest" to the Japan of the civil wars of the 1860's, rewriting the nameless private eye as an equally nameless wandering samurai (played with exquisite panache by Toshiro Mifuni), while at the same time parodying the typical *chambara* (swordfight film) popular in Japan. I refer of course to "Yojombo" (1962). Nonetheless, the the torture sequence is lifted from "The Glass Key" and interjected as a pivotal scene in "Yojimbo". A couple of subtractions and additions need be noted here: Kurosawa strips the Freudian subtext out of the torture sequence completely, so that the torture becomes a study in the what Hannah Arendt referred to as the "banality" of evil" - the torturers are just doing a job. This fits neatly with the critique of capitalism implicit in the film, and which is equally implicit in the Hammett original, so the loss of Freudian content goes by unnoticed.

On the other hand, Kurosawa and Mifune add an earthiness to the nameless hero lacking in Hammett's tension filled original: Mifune's samurai is always scratching, eating, cringing or sneering. Perhaps this is to make up for the subtraction of the element of alcoholism that was the chief weakness of Hammett's anti-hero. But it also has the effect of rounding out the character so that he becomes human to us in a way Hammett's anti-hero is not.

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