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

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Overview

User Rating:
8.4/10   57,743 votes »
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Director:
Writers:
Akira Kurosawa (story)
Akira Kurosawa (screenplay) ...
(more)
Contact:
View company contact information for Yojimbo on IMDbPro.
Release Date:
13 September 1961 (USA) See more »
Genre:
Plot:
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:
Awards:
Nominated for Oscar. Another 4 wins & 1 nomination See more »
User Reviews:
A Potpourri of Vestiges Review: Akira Kurosawa and Toshiro Mifune - The undisputed masters of their respective arts See more (144 total) »

Cast

  (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 »
Runtime:
110 min
Country:
Language:
Aspect Ratio:
2.35 : 1 See more »
Sound Mix:
Perspecta Stereo (Westrex Recording System)
Certification:
Argentina:16 | 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?

Trivia:
Masaru Sato was instructed by Akira Kurosawa to write "whatever you like" so long as it was not the usual period samurai film music so commonly used by all the major studios at the time. He ended up writing something that was inspired by one of his idols, Henry Mancini, whom he had the pleasure of meeting shortly after the film was released, where they discussed his "Yojimbo" soundtrack.See more »
Goofs:
Revealing mistakes: The 2AM meeting between the gangs was clearly filmed in broad daylight.See more »
Quotes:
[first lines]
Farmer:[in Japanese] Wait, son.
Traveler:[in Japanese] Let me go, father. It's my chance.
See more »

FAQ

Who did the man with the prayer drums kill?
How much sex, violence, and profanity are in this movie?
Is this movie based on a book?
See more »
28 out of 29 people found the following review useful.
A Potpourri of Vestiges Review: Akira Kurosawa and Toshiro Mifune - The undisputed masters of their respective arts, 27 October 2009
Author: Murtaza Ali from India

Yojimbo is a timeless masterpiece; elegant, enigmatic and taut; one of the best and the most influential of the action movies, and a delectable feast to the lovers of the genre. It is the most sought-after of the Akira Kurosawa's movies, shamelessly imitated on multiple occasions – the most infamous being 'A Fistful of Dollars' by Sergio Leone. Yojimbo is a delightful addition to an unending list of avant-garde movies made by the Oriental master. It is as superior to any of the movies that it has inspired as a master is to his artless apprentice.

I have had the privilege of watching five Kurosawa movies before watching Yojimbo viz. Seven Samurai, Ran, Dersu Uzala, Rashomon, and High & Low and each left me mesmerized, but in a completely different manner than the last. In my past reviews I have repeatedly committed an invidious blunder of failing to acknowledge the ginormous contribution that Toshiro Mifune made in Kurosawa's colossal success. I would be remiss again if I fail to testify the fact that Yojimbo is more synonymous with Mifune than it is with Kurosawa and anyone who has had the privilege of watching it wouldn't want me to budge even by a slightest degree. The role of 'Sanjuro', though demanding, can be any performer's dream, but a slight lack of proficiency or commitment on his part can serve as a volte-face, transforming it into his biggest nightmare. I don't think that anyone but Kurosawa is competent enough to judge Toshiro Mifune's talent as a performer and so I would like to quote an excerpt from his biography: "Mifune had a kind of talent I had never encountered before in the Japanese film world. It was, above all, the speed with which he expressed himself that was astounding. The ordinary Japanese actor might need ten feet of film to get across an impression; Mifune needed only three. He put forth everything directly and boldly with a great sense of timing. And yet with all his quickness, he also had surprisingly fine sensibilities".

In Yojimbo, Toshiro Mifune incredibly outdoes himself with a portrayal that can be excruciatingly hard to be described in words. Mifune is crafty, cunning, capricious and yet seemingly nonchalant as the ingeniously disingenuous ronin, a portrayal overwhelmed with so many contrasting attributes that it revolutionized the very concept of an anti-hero in the world of cinema. Sanjuro is a cross between a wolf and a sheep, a guardian and a usurper, a misanthrope and an altruist, a demon and an angel, a libertine and an ascetic, a fiend and a beloved, a mercenary and a messiah and that's what makes this portrayal singular and incredibly magnificent. Mifune has meticulously taken care of even the slightest gestures and the subtle changes in mannerisms during the portrayal; be it Sanjuro's perpetually grinned countenance or his nonchalant disposition. Each triviality and nuance evinces certain details that are hard to be expressed even through expatiation. Despite Sanjuro's rapidly changing expressions and his frenzied demeanor, Mifune always seems to be in absolute control.

Yojimbo is a well etched, taut narrative with a dark comical look that makes it one of a kind. Yojimbo neither appears to be superficial nor superfluous and not a moment of it is extraneous. Human values and emotions are ubiquitously similar irrespective of the cultural and the social divide between the peoples of the world and hence everyone can savour the thought-provoking movies of Kurosawa; even those who are daunted by the handicap of using subtitles can relish a movie like Yojimbo as a silent movie (because of it being so visually descriptive like the Charlie Chaplin movies). The plot of the movie is simple and may even appear to be commonplace owing to the countless imitations that it has inspired, but it is the rapport between Kurosawa and Mifune (undoubtedly the best director-actor pair of all time) that makes it so especial and unique. A penniless ronin (samurai without a master) enters a town rotten with schism (Akira Kurosawa challenged his assistant directors to come up with an image for the film to let Sanjuro know he was entering a bad town. Eventually, Kurosawa himself came up with the idea of the dog carrying the human hand). The two gangs are sporadically involved in sanguinary duels resulting in mass slaughter. The ronin demonstrates his skills by slaying two members of one of the gangs. After asseverating his supremacy, he joins the other group for a substantial sum, but backs out just when a decisive battle was about to begin. He then climbs the nearby bell tower as a vantage for himself and watches with rapturous glee the bravado of the pusillanimous gang members disappearing in thin air as they are overcome by trepidation. They lunge and retreat on multiple occasions without making an actual contact before getting interrupted by the news of an inspector coming for an official inspection. The duel is postponed indefinitely to everyone's delight. In the meantime, Sanjuro lets them know that his services are open to bidding, inducing a tussle to acquire his services while he continues to act as an instigator further intensifying the rabid rivalry between the two groups. But soon the tables are turned and this child's play transforms into a moment of reckoning for the ronin as he finds himself haplessly pitted against the surviving gang. He is captured and brutally assaulted, but he manages to escape from some local help. This culminates in one of the best climatic endings of all time as Sanjuro single-handedly obliterates the whole gang, emancipating the town from anarchy and barbarism.

It's a must watch for film students, action movie lovers, and especially those who want to acquaint themselves with the eccentrically brilliant works of the oriental master without exposing themselves to his more recondite works like Shichinin no samurai, Rashomon, Ikiru, Akahige, Ran and countless others. An absolute gem: 10/10

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