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Harakiri (1962)
"Seppuku" (original title)

 -  Action | Drama | History  -  4 August 1964 (USA)
8.6
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Ratings: 8.6/10 from 13,583 users  
Reviews: 140 user | 59 critic

An elder ronin samurai arrives at a feudal lord's home and requests an honorable place to commit suicide. But when the ronin inquires about a younger samurai who arrived before him things take an unexpected turn.

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Title: Harakiri (1962)

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Cast

Cast overview, first billed only:
...
Akira Ishihama ...
...
Tetsurô Tanba ...
Hikokuro Omodaka
Masao Mishima ...
Tango Inaba
Ichirô Nakatani ...
Hayato Yazaki
Kei Satô ...
Masakazu
Yoshio Inaba ...
Jinai Chijiiwa
Hisashi Igawa ...
Retainer
Tôru Takeuchi ...
Retainer
Yoshirô Aoki ...
Umenosuke Kawabe
Tatsuo Matsumura
Akiji Kobayashi
Kôichi Hayashi
Ryûtarô Gomi ...
(as Katsuo Gomi)
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Storyline

Peace in 17th-century Japan causes the Shogunate's breakup of warrior clans, throwing thousands of samurai out of work and into poverty. An honorable end to such fate under the samurai code is ritual suicide, or hara-kiri (self-inflicted disembowelment). An elder warrior, Hanshiro Tsugumo (Tatsuya Nakadai) seeks admittance to the house of a feudal lord to commit the act. There, he learns of the fate of his son-in-law, a young samurai who sought work at the house but was instead barbarically forced to commit traditional hara-kiri in an excruciating manner with a dull bamboo blade. In flashbacks the samurai tells the tragic story of his son-in-law, and how he was forced to sell his real sword to support his sick wife and child. Tsugumo thus sets in motion a tense showdown of revenge against the house. Written by Kevin Rayburn <kprayb01@homer.louisville.edu>

Plot Summary | Plot Synopsis

Plot Keywords:

samurai | hara kiri | ronin | suicide | poverty | See more »

Genres:

Action | Drama | History

Certificate:

Not Rated | See all certifications »

Parents Guide:

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Details

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Release Date:

4 August 1964 (USA)  »

Also Known As:

Harakiri  »

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 »
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Aspect Ratio:

2.35 : 1
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Did You Know?

Trivia

Seppuku and harakiri (the US working title) both mean to commit ritual suicide in Japanese. However, seppuku is the formal term, derived from the kanji characters for "hara" (belly) and "kiri" (cut); harakiri is the cruder, less polite term for this act. See more »

Quotes

Hanshiro Tsugumo: When my master's house fell we immediately left the domain and moved to Edo. The streets of Edo were crowded with ronin - flotsam from the Battle of Sekigahara. In former times, other clans would have gladly taken in any ronin who'd earned a name for himself. But in an era no longer in need of warriors or horses, so peaceful that no wind even rustled the leaves on the trees, it was a constant struggle simply to find a meal. Indeed, it shames me to recall our miserable lives of these last eight ...
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Featured in Through the Mist (2009) See more »

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User Reviews

 
200 Proof
8 November 2001 | by (New York) – See all my reviews

This film is the purest distillation of the spirit of Greek tragedy ever put on celluloid. Yes, this is a review of Seppuku, a Japanese film released in 1962. Perhaps it took a non-Westerner, free of all of the cultural baggage and ridiculous associations, to see straight into the heart of the tragic mode and make it palpable and alive in the twentieth century. That is not all: the black and white cinematography is both formally assured and often outrageously daring; the soundtrack is one of the finest efforts of the greatest Japanese composer of the 20th century (or any century for that matter); the acting is demonically inspired; and the narrative is relentlessly gripping and involving. The film illuminates the relationship between the individual and society and between society and history. It is a tender meditation on familial love and the ties of friendship that transcend even death. This film will cut open your bowels, pull your soul out, and force you to stare it in the face. There may be other films that attain similar heights, but I cannot imagine any film, ever, being more perfect. Forget Citizen Kane, Seven Samurai, the Godfather, etc. etc. all of those commodified canonical works that everybody raves about because everybody else is raving about them. Don't get me wrong, they're fine--but this stuff is 200 proof. See it today. Buy it yesterday.


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