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Three Outlaw Samurai (1964)
"Sanbiki no samurai" (original title)

 -  Action | Drama  -  13 May 1964 (Japan)
7.7
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Ratings: 7.7/10 from 1,291 users  
Reviews: 9 user | 26 critic

Shiba, a wandering ronin, encounters a band of peasants who have kidnapped the daughter of their dictatorial magistrate, in hopes of coercing from him a reduction in taxes. Shiba takes up ... See full summary »

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Cast

Cast overview, first billed only:
Tetsurô Tanba ...
Isamu Nagato ...
Mikijirô Hira ...
Miyuki Kuwano ...
Aya
Yoshiko Kayama ...
Oyasu
Kyoko Aoi ...
Omitsu (as Kyôko Aoi)
Kamatari Fujiwara ...
Jinbê
Tatsuya Ishiguro ...
Uzaemon Matsushita
Hisashi Igawa
Ichirô Izawa
Jun Tatara ...
Yasugorô
Toshie Kimura ...
Oine
Yôko Mihara ...
Omaki
Kichijirô Ueda
Nakajirô Tomita
Edit

Storyline

Shiba, a wandering ronin, encounters a band of peasants who have kidnapped the daughter of their dictatorial magistrate, in hopes of coercing from him a reduction in taxes. Shiba takes up their fight, joined by two renegades from the magistrate's guard, Sakura and Kikyo. The three outlaws find themselves in a battle to the death. Written by Jim Beaver <jumblejim@prodigy.net>

Plot Summary | Add Synopsis

Genres:

Action | Drama

Certificate:

Not Rated | See all certifications »
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Details

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Release Date:

13 May 1964 (Japan)  »

Also Known As:

Three Outlaw Samurai  »

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Aspect Ratio:

2.35 : 1
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Did You Know?

Quotes

Sakon Shiba: [Negotiating with the Magistrate the release of his daughter Aya, who's being held hostage by peasants] Punish me and let the peasants go.
Uzaemon Matsushita: Very well. I promise not to punish the peasants.
Sakon Shiba: Magistrate, you're a samurai. I, too, am a samurai. This is a promise between samurai.
Uzaemon Matsushita: I understand.
Kyojuro Sakura: Everyone here is a witness. Be sure to send him back safely.
Uzaemon Matsushita: I promise that, too.
Sakon Shiba: We've made a pledge as samurai.
[Releases Aya from custody]
Aya: [...]
See more »

Connections

Version of The Magnificent Trio (1966) See more »

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User Reviews

 
A well-written samurai masterpiece
14 February 2012 | by (United States) – See all my reviews

Shiba (Tetsuro Tanba) is a wandering samurai who's seen it all. He stumbles onto some peasants who have taken the magistrate's daughter hostage in hopes of ending the corruptive leadership that plagues their land. What begins as a spectator sport and a roof over his head for Shiba turns into him fully supporting the peasants and their cause. Two other samurai; Sakura (Isamu Nagato) another wanderer with a guilty conscience and Kikyo (Mikijiro Hira) a samurai who milks the magistrate for all he's worth eventually join up with Shiba. An epic duel to the death lies ahead for the three samurai as the magistrate will stop at nothing to get revenge.

Three Outlaw Samurai begins in simple yet extravagant fashion. We see Shiba take a few steps in the mud followed by an extremely loud music cue and the title card written in Japanese Kanji. Six seconds into this chanbara film and I already know I'm going to love it. The film buys its time though as the first half of the film is mostly very talkative and swords are drawn only briefly before lengthy discussions begin once again. The storytelling is a high point as loyalty and the overall cause for all of this mayhem are always both relevant to the events taking place on screen. The cinematography is also brilliant, especially since this is the debut of Hideo Gosha. The well-choreographed and intense swordplay sequences are always captured with the most precise camera placement.

Lighting and shadows also play a big part in how the film is presented visually. The one-shot sword fight in the two-story whore house is the best example of this. Right down to the drastic lighting on Kikyo's eyes before everything goes to hell, Three Outlaw Samurai is the type of film fans of samurai, foreign, and great cinema in general dream of. There's something completely gratifying about blood presented in black and white, as well. Maybe it's because it reminds me of the Crazy 88 fight The Bride has at the tea house in Kill Bill, but the crimson liquid almost seems more gratifying in grayscale at least when it comes to older and more legendary motion pictures.

The best exchange of dialogue comes when Sakura is running across a field to support Kikyo and Shiba in the final battle. Sakura yells, "Hey Shiba! I've done you wrong! I deserve to die! Kill Me!" In the heat of battle, Shiba merely replies, "I'm busy at the moment." While Three Outlaw Samurai may seem a bit slow at first, your patience will be rewarded. You'll become attached to the characters of Sakon Shiba, Kyojuro Sakura, and Einosuke Kikyo, get absorbed in their cause, and understand their decisions. As the swordplay and action becomes more frequent, you'll realize how truly amazing this film really is. Three Outlaw Samurai is a beautiful, well-written, and just a fantastic experience overall that is for fans of Seven Samurai, Shogun Assassin, and The Last Samurai.


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