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The Tale of Zatoichi (1962)
"Zatôichi monogatari" (original title)

7.7
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Ratings: 7.7/10 from 2,724 users  
Reviews: 19 user | 31 critic

The adventures of a blind, gambling masseur who also happens to be a master swordsman.

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(screenplay), (short story)
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Title: The Tale of Zatoichi (1962)

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Action | Adventure | Drama
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.3/10 X  

After being wounded in a fight, Zatoichi is nursed to health by a young woman and her father. Now indebted to the family, he works to protect their ferry business from local thugs.

Director: Kazuo Ikehiro
Stars: Shintarô Katsu, Tatsuo Endô, Takashi Etajima
Drama | Adventure | Action
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.5/10 X  

A samurai with a high skill in chess makes friends with Zatoichi, who finds that things become peculiar in his presence.

Director: Kenji Misumi
Stars: Shintarô Katsu, Mikio Narita, Chizu Hayashi
Drama | Action | Adventure
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.5/10 X  

Zatoichi is tricked by a crime gang into killing a man. Realizing his mistake, he sets out to protect the dead man's sister, who is conflicted in accepting his help.

Director: Kenji Misumi
Stars: Shintarô Katsu, Yoshiko Mita, Makoto Satô
Drama | Adventure | Action
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.7/10 X  

After an artist is threatened by the yakuza into creating valuable but highly illegal pornography, the law aims to execute him. Zatoichi, having been honor bound to protect the man and his family, must now run against the law.

Director: Kenji Misumi
Stars: Shintarô Katsu, Jûshirô Konoe, Miwa Takada
Action | Drama | Adventure
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.7/10 X  

Zatoichi, while fighting off the usual group of gangsters, meets the apprentice of the swordsman who created his blade, who relays bad news about the sword.

Director: Kimiyoshi Yasuda
Stars: Shintarô Katsu, Shiho Fujimura, Yoshihiko Aoyama
Drama | Adventure | Action
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.5/10 X  

Cowritten by star Shintaro Katsu, this adventure pits Zatoichi against one of his most diabolical foes: a blind yakuza boss whose reign of terror and exploitation has made him nearly mythic... See full summary »

Director: Kenji Misumi
Stars: Shintarô Katsu, Reiko Ôhara, Pîtâ
Drama | Action | Adventure
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.4/10 X  

Zatoichi runs afoul of some evil fugitives, working for a corrupt law official.

Director: Kimiyoshi Yasuda
Stars: Shintarô Katsu, Kayo Mikimoto, Kyôsuke Machida
Action | Adventure | Drama
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.2/10 X  

The blind masseur and swordsman, Zatoichi, searches for proof an imprisoned man's innocence.

Director: Kazuo Mori
Stars: Shintarô Katsu, Kanbi Fujiyama, Eiko Taki
Zatôichi monogatari (1974–1979)
Action | Drama
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 8.1/10 X  

Blind masseur Zatôichi travels from town to town gambling, drinking, and fighting off the local gangs.

Stars: Shintarô Katsu, Shintarô Akatsuki, Renji Ishibashi
Action | Adventure | Drama
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.2/10 X  

Zatoichi arrives in a town where a gambling house is kidnapping its poor, debt-ridden patrons. A rival establishment moves to pay those debts and free the peasants, but this house's ... See full summary »

Director: Satsuo Yamamoto
Stars: Shintarô Katsu, Rentarô Mikuni, Kô Nishimura
Action | Drama
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.4/10 X  

Zatoichi is mistaken for a thief. To clear his name he must find and defeat the real villain.

Director: Kazuo Ikehiro
Stars: Shintarô Katsu, Shôgo Shimada, Mikiko Tsubouchi
Action | Adventure | Drama
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.1/10 X  

Star Shintaro Katsu sits in the director's chair for this psychedelic and unremittingly bleak entry in the Zatoichi series, which is unlike any other in its grind-house grimness. A tale of ... See full summary »

Director: Shintarô Katsu
Stars: Shintarô Katsu, Kiwako Taichi, Kyoko Yoshizawa
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Cast

Cast overview, first billed only:
Shintarô Katsu ...
Zatôichi / Blind Man Ichi / Masseur Ichi
Masayo Banri ...
Tane / Tatekichi's sister / Seisuke's ex-lover
Ryûzô Shimada ...
Shigezô of Sasagawa / Sasagawa yakuza boss
Hajime Mitamura ...
Hanji of Matsugishi
Shigeru Amachi ...
Hirate, Miki
Chitose Maki ...
Yoshi / Hanji's wife
Ikuko Môri ...
Yutaka / Shigezô's wife
Michirô Minami ...
Tatekichi / Tane's brother / Saki's lover / Iioka yakuza member
Eijirô Yanagi ...
Sukegorô of Iioka / Iioka yakuza boss
Toshio Chiba ...
Masakichi / Iioka yakuza member (as Toshirô Chiba)
Manabu Morita ...
Seisuke / Tane's ex-lover / Iioka yakuza member
Yoichi Funaki ...
Yogorô / Sasagawa yakuza member
Kinya Ichikawa ...
Mokichi / Sasagawa yakuza member
Eigorô Onoe ...
Rihei / Sasagawa yakuza member
Yoshito Yamaji ...
Yahei / Father of Tane and Tatekichi
Edit

Storyline

An impoverished blind masseur becomes a mercenary swordsman, to gain basic respect. The first of novelist Kan Shimozawa's Zatoichi series: 26 films, a TV series and a play, all but two starring controversial singer/producer/director Shintaro Katsu. First of six Zatoichi films directed by Kenji Misumi. The shrewd Zatoichi targets a yakuza-controlled village, because war with a neighboring town's smaller gang is brewing. The broke ex-masseur "Ichi" immediately wins big, by taking advantage of local bakuto's cheating, after they scoff at his asking to join a dice game. The larger horde, who have been given carte blanche by the local governor, summoned Zatoichi. Zatoichi hates the fact that he's become an outlaw, so he strikes up a friendship with the other gang's honorable hired samurai, who has TB. Written by David Stevens

Plot Summary | Plot Synopsis


Certificate:

Not Rated | See all certifications »
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Details

Country:

Language:

Release Date:

18 April 1962 (Japan)  »

Also Known As:

The Tale of Zatoichi  »

Company Credits

Show detailed on  »

Technical Specs

Runtime:

Sound Mix:

Aspect Ratio:

2.35 : 1
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Did You Know?

Goofs

When Hirate and Zatoichi are about to fight near the end, the horn of a modern ship can be heard in the background. See more »

Quotes

Zatôichi: [after asking Zatoichi what she would do with having so much children] Just don't raise them to be gangsters.
Tane: I won't... But why do you say that?
Zatôichi: Because to be a gangster is a foolish way to live.
Tane: Then why don't you live a decent life?
Zatôichi: It's like being stuck in a bog; it's not easy to pull yourself you once you've fallen in.
See more »

Connections

Referenced in Blindman (1971) See more »

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User Reviews

 
Action Adventure before it was cool!
3 September 2013 | by (The BatCave, United States) – See all my reviews

I normally wouldn't dare rate a movie a 10. However for the first Zatoichi film (and maybe the second) I make an exception. An incredible tale of a flawed man at peace with the fact that he is a gangster. Zatoichi is forced into situation after situation where honor and compassion make us side with this blind man, not because of his handicap, but because he is doing the right thing. Filmed in black and white the action is superbly choreographed to convey the intensity of each situation without one bright red spray of blood across the screen. If you only watch one Samurai movie, make it this one. If you love it, then the first 25 of these masterpieces are coming to Blu Ray courtesy of Criterion this November.


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