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Samurai Spy (1965)

Ibun Sarutobi Sasuke (original title)
Not Rated | | Action, Drama | 10 July 1965 (Japan)
The legendary samurai Sasuke Sarutobi gets caught in a web of political intrigue, deception and espionage during the early 17th century.



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Credited cast:
Hiroshi Aoyama
Jun Hamamura ...
Joshin temple priest
Osamu Hitomi
Minoru Hodaka
Hisanobu Ichikawa
Kentarô Imai
Yasunori Irikawa ...
Yashiro Kobayashi
Shintarô Ishihara ...
Saizo Kirigakure
Taku Kido
Takeshi Kusaka ...
Seiji Miyaguchi ...
Jinnai-Kazutaka Horikawa
Shin'ya Mizushima
Hideto Nakagawa
Tatewaki Koriyama
Shuichi Oki


The legendary samurai Sasuke Sarutobi tracks the spy Nojiri, while a mysterious figure named Sakon leads a band of men on their own quest for the wily Nojiri. Soon no one knows just who is who and what side anyone is on. Written by Jim Beaver <jumblejim@prodigy.net>

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Action | Drama


Not Rated | See all certifications »




Release Date:

10 July 1965 (Japan)  »

Also Known As:

Samurai Spy  »

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Aspect Ratio:

2.35 : 1
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User Reviews

Cool, stylized 60's fare. Shallow action fans should give it a pass, though.
4 June 2006 | by See all my reviews

If you're lucky enough to get a hold of the Criterion DVD, or perhaps another version with some accurate explanatory material, you will have the benefit of the brief explanatory comments in a recent taping made by the director, Masahiro Shinoda.

He felt that the era of the swashbuckling, self-serious samurai films, such as those of Kurosawa, had come to an end. He wanted to go into a new direction for samurai cinema, that of film noir. This is a political spy tale set in the early 17th century.

The fighting is very stylized, and really just serves as a physical representation of the intrigue, rather than drawing attention to itself. Kurosawa got into the game when the swordplay was rather choreographed, and made things much more realistic, with people stumbling around in the mud, tripping and slipping as they took wild swipes with their swords. Again, Shinoda wanted to go against the grain.

There are cool villains, especially Takatani, completely covered in white, including his hooded head, and he has a soft, menacing voice, too.

The hero, Sasuke, is troubled by war, and waxes philosophical on more than one occasion about the whole business of war and spying.

The music is cool with a jazzy capricious flute, very 60's cool. Shinoda talks a bit about that as well in the interview.

I did not understand the apparently new character in the very last shot, so if someone can shed some light on it, please send me a private message on here.

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