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

7.7
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Ratings: 7.7/10 from 2,864 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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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

Followed by Samaritan Zatoichi (1968) See more »

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User Reviews

 
On a par with Seven Samurai
14 April 2012 | by (Antarctica) – See all my reviews

Just discovered this film series and have now viewed the first three. Outstanding entertainment!

The story of a blind, meek master swordsman "Zatoichi" is very well done, just a notch below Seven Samurai in excellence. The lead actor who plays "Ichi" in almost all the films, Shintaro Katsu, later wrote and directed some entries.

The plots are interesting and characters well-drawn. Anyone who enjoyed the Samurai films of Akira Kurosawa with Toshiro Mifune should enjoy this film and its sequels. "Ichi" is similar to the Mifune characters in his deliberately unprepossessing appearance and aversion to violence, but when he is pushed too far, watch out! Also, despite his blindness and poverty, he is something of a chick-magnet for some very attractive Japanese women.

You can find considerably more detail on Shintaro Katsu and these films on Wikipedia.


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