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Zatoichi the Outlaw (1967)
"Zatôichi rôyaburi" (original title)

Not Rated  |   |  Action, Adventure, Drama  |  12 August 1967 (Japan)
7.2
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Ratings: 7.2/10 from 575 users  
Reviews: 8 user | 11 critic

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 »

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Title: Zatoichi the Outlaw (1967)

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On the road, Zatoichi meets a dying pregnant woman and delivers the child moments before she passes. Honor bound, he sets out to find the next-of-kin who he discovers have their own problems.

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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 »

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Two of Japan and China's greatest heroic swordsman find themselves caught in a plot to protect a young child. But will national distrust and simple misunderstanding keep the two kindred spirits apart?

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

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After Zatoichi learns of his sensei's murder he uncovers a horrible conspiracy involving the local government and crime family.

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Zatoichi tries to unrest the mob rule over a small village all while the gang leader's bodyguard is actually the Yojimbo, secretly taking the gang down from the inside. Will the two heroes realize in time that they are on the same side?

Director: Kihachi Okamoto
Stars: Toshirô Mifune, Shintarô Katsu, Ayako Wakao
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Cast

Cast overview, first billed only:
Shintarô Katsu ...
Rentarô Mikuni ...
Asagoro
Kô Nishimura ...
Kyushiro Suga (as Akira Nishimura)
Yuko Hamada ...
Oshino
Kenjirô Ishiyama ...
Tatsugoro
Toshiyuki Hosokawa ...
Nisaburo
Takuya Fujioka ...
Zato Sanji
Mizuho Suzuki ...
Shusui Ohara
Tatsuo Endô ...
Boss Tomizo
Kayo Mikimoto ...
Oyuki
Tatsuo Matsushita ...
Yamagen
Ryoichi Tamagawa
Rokku Furukawa ...
Zato Kinsaku
Keisuke Ootori ...
Zato Jinsuke (as Keisuke Otori)
Utako Kyô ...
Big Mouth Woman
Edit

Storyline

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 seemingly altruistic boss is actually laying the groundwork for a ruthless money-grabbing scheme. The sixteenth Zatoichi film is the first from its star's own Katsu Productions, and is one of the series' most daring. Written by Anonymous

Plot Summary | Plot Synopsis

Taglines:

The final and most savage installment of the series.


Certificate:

Not Rated | See all certifications »
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Details

Country:

Language:

Release Date:

12 August 1967 (Japan)  »

Also Known As:

Zatoichi Breaks Jail  »

Company Credits

Show detailed on  »

Technical Specs

Runtime:

Sound Mix:

(Westrex Recording System)

Color:

(Eastmancolor)

Aspect Ratio:

2.35 : 1
See  »
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Did You Know?

Trivia

The first Zatôichi film produced by Katsu Productions (Shintarô Katsu's own company). See more »

Connections

Follows Zoku Zatôichi monogatari (1962) See more »

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User Reviews

 
A fine, if not brilliant entry in the long running series
8 November 2009 | by (United Kingdom) – See all my reviews

Zatoichi The Outlaw was the first film made by its hero's (Shintaro Katsu) own production company, this is perhaps why this is a slightly lesser entry in the series, though it is by no means weak overall. It tells of our hero coming across two towns, rival bosses and a mysterious ronin helping the poor and from this set up spins a tale encompassing tragedy, violence and no little interest, all served up with lashings of the unshowy but inspired swordplay that is one of the series trademarks. It is a fairly predictable plot and it mounts in unsurprising fashion, but it zips along with style and is interesting stuff. The helpful ronin for example is a nobly inscrutable revolutionary character, upsetting the established order without being painted as a truly likable or heroic figure, Zatoichi himself makes one or two mistakes and causes harm by his actions, whilst the ruling system fuels the exploitation of the poor. Its a harsh world, with one or two more visceral than expected moments in the fighting, though things aren't as rousing as they could be. Shintaro Katsu turns in a typical bravura performance as Zatoichi, mixing wisdom, deadly skill and worldliness with a subtly sad sense of vulnerability, while solid work comes also from Rentarô Mikuni and an effectively baleful Kô Nishimura (later to appear as Katsu's superior "Snake" Magobei in the Hanzo trilogy) as the two main bosses in the film. There is also a good emotional turn from Yuko Hamada as a wronged woman. The film loses out through shaky pacing and a not so well constructed sequence of events, there is at least one slightly jarring time jump and the power of the plot becomes a little lost, meaning that when things heat up towards the end the film isn't as exciting as it could be, emotional impact is lost also. The action or scenes of Zatoichi using his ingenious skills are well handled by director Satsuo Yamamoto, though some of the gambling is less interesting and the film builds up in a workmanlike rather than really inspired way, without the lively characters or strong verve of some other installments. Still, I enjoyed this one, it has its flaws and isn't one of the best of the series but it still packs a sweetly satisfying dose of entertainment, a good story and decent doses of Zatoichi's trademark ingenious and quirky cool. Recommended for fans of the series, and a reasonable entry point, classy stuff though not a true great.


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