IMDb > Sanjuro (1962)
Tsubaki Sanjûrô
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Sanjuro (1962) More at IMDbPro »Tsubaki Sanjûrô (original title)

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Up 5% in popularity this week. See why on IMDbPro.
Ryûzô Kikushima (screenplay) &
Hideo Oguni (screenplay) ...
View company contact information for Sanjuro on IMDbPro.
Release Date:
7 May 1963 (USA) See more »
Akira Kurosawa's Powerful and Newest Japanese Masterpiece
A crafty samurai helps a young man and his fellow clansmen save his uncle, who has been framed and imprisoned by a corrupt superintendent. Full summary » | Full synopsis »
Plot Keywords:
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(65 articles)
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User Reviews:
Sanjuro is the sequel to Yojimbo but better. See more (63 total) »


  (in credits order) (complete, awaiting verification)

Toshirô Mifune ... Sanjûrô Tsubaki / The Samurai

Tatsuya Nakadai ... Hanbei Muroto
Keiju Kobayashi ... The Spy
Yûzô Kayama ... Iori Izaka
Reiko Dan ... Chidori, Mutsuta's daughter

Takashi Shimura ... Kurofuji

Kamatari Fujiwara ... Takebayashi
Takako Irie ... Mutsuta's wife
Masao Shimizu ... Kikui
Yûnosuke Itô ... Mutsuta, the Chamberlain
Akira Kubo ... Samurai
Hiroshi Tachikawa ... Samurai
Yoshio Tsuchiya ... Samurai
Kunie Tanaka ... Samurai
Tatsuyoshi Ehara ... Samurai
Akihiko Hirata ... Samurai
Toranosuke Ogawa
Sachio Sakai
Kenzô Matsui ... Samurai
Toshiko Higuchi
Tatsuhiko Namisato ... Samurai
Yutaka Sada ... Murota samurai
Shin Ôtomo

Shôichi Hirose
Minoru Itô
Kôji Uruki
Hiroyoshi Yamaguchi
Fuminori Ôhashi

Directed by
Akira Kurosawa 
Writing credits
Ryûzô Kikushima (screenplay) &
Hideo Oguni (screenplay) &
Akira Kurosawa (screenplay)

Shûgorô Yamamoto (novel "Nichinichi heian")

Produced by
Ryûzô Kikushima .... producer
Tomoyuki Tanaka .... producer
Original Music by
Masaru Satô 
Cinematography by
Fukuzô Koizumi 
Takao Saitô 
Production Design by
Yoshirô Muraki 
Sound Department
Wataru Konuma .... sound recordist
Hisashi Shimonaga .... sound recordist
Camera and Electrical Department
Ichirô Inohara .... lighting technician
Katsuhiro Kato .... assistant camera
Other crew
Ryû Kuze .... fencing advisor

Production CompaniesDistributorsOther Companies

Additional Details

Also Known As:
"Tsubaki Sanjûrô" - Japan (original title)
See more »
96 min
Aspect Ratio:
2.35 : 1 See more »
Sound Mix:
Perspecta Stereo (Westrex Recording System)
Filming Locations:

Did You Know?

This movie was originally going to be a faithful adaption of a Shûgorô Yamamoto novel called "Peaceful Days", and was going to be made before Yojimbo (1961), which is about a group of nine samurai who are helped out by two ronin who are inadequate fighters and have to use their wits to trick two evil opposing sides into disposing of each other. The antagonists were changed to a corrupt government body and the tricking two opposing sides into fighting each over element was used for "Yojimbo". After that film was a success, Toho requested that Akira Kurosawa produce a sequel. He changed the two weak ronin to the powerful Sanjuro character and rewrote the script to match the tone of "Yojimbo". In addition, when this was going to be "Peaceful Days", Kurosawa was only going to write it and Hiromichi Horikawa (his assistant director) was going to direct it and Furankî Sakai and Keiju Kobayashi were to play the two ronin.See more »
Sanjûrô Tsubaki:We can't move like this! We look like a centipede!See more »
Movie Connections:
Referenced in Night Job (2010) (V)See more »


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13 out of 19 people found the following review useful.
Sanjuro is the sequel to Yojimbo but better., 19 April 2001

Sanjuro is the sequel to Yojimbo. The anti-hero is once again played by Mifune. He is a roaming "masterless samurai" after the Japanese emperor officially disbanded the samurai. Sanjuro's only mission in life is to survive and live by the unspoken samurai code of honor. In both films, it is only by accident that he combat the oppressive. The opening scene in Sanjuro was a long shot of a temple. It was followed by a jump cut, close-up of the same temple. This is a jarring effect that is a pattern of Kurosawa. He used this very same technique in the opening sequence of Rashomon. Kurosawa's superbly sharpen directorial skills are evident in this film. He uses a narrative economy technique that lets the audience dive right into the story without using a long draw-out exposition. The plot and characters are explained within the first five minutes of this film.

The story begins during a samurai meeting in a house. Sanjuro interrupts this meeting. He's been listening to their conversation. The cocky Sanjuro relaxes their guard because he analyzes their situation. He predicts, and is subsequently correct, that they will be ambushed. The group prepares for their certain death. Quickly, Sanjuro devises a plan and boldly states, "trust me" to his cohorts. This excellent delivery from Mifune lets the audience know that this sequel is going to be just as fun (if not better) as Yojimbo. A hilarious character for this film is the captured guard that was spared because of the rescued woman. His role was tiny but very memorable. He was the comic relief for a few of the tense moments. Towards the end of the film, the flower signal scene is super funny. Sanjuro tricks the three goof balls into putting the flowers in the creek. The neighboring samurai rejoice with excitement. Meanwhile, the captured guard shortly joins the celebration but gets a look from the samurai and returns to the closet. This is reminiscent of the three stooges. I really love this scene.

Reoccurring Kurosawa patterns include the use of multiple film planes. An example of this is the scene in the barn. Sanjuro is lying on the wheel barrel. The camera POV is on the floor shooting upwards. The wheel barrel is the first plane, Sanjuro is the middle plane, and the other samurai with their backs against the wall are the third plane. This abstract framing adds to the film's production value. It also breaks up the predictable framing of the characters. Likewise, framing is consistent in this film as in all Kurosawa film's because all of the players are perfectly in view, no actor is excluded from the camera view. Mifune's character finally arches in this sequel because he is told "killing is a bad habit" by the rescued older lady. He is quick to change internally to her wishes. Although Sanjuro is told once again, "please don't use too much violence", Sanjuro's hand is forced. He is "forced to kill" the numerous bad guys that are guarding the three hostage samurai because of their mistrust. He is hard on himself but harder on the three samurai that he slaps. In addition, this scene is reminiscent of Yojimbo. Sanjuro is entrusted with the lives of the "enemy" but instead slaughter his real enemy. Another example of his arched character in this film occurs in the final scene. Sanjuro does not want to fight the banished samurai. Once again, Sanjuro is force into violence. His last words were, "I am just like him, he was like a sword that should have a sheath". This is a clear sign that Sanjuro does not enjoy the lifestyle of the samurai. Whereas before it seemed like he didn't mind the senseless killing. In all, Sanjuro succeeds as another excellent story by Kurosawa. It is most definitely Hollywood influenced film.

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