The story of Ryoma Sakamoto, considered to be the architect behind the downfall of the Tokugawa shogunate. He was considered an outlaw by his own clan, hunted by his government, and was ... See full summary »

Director:

Writers:

, (story)
Reviews

Photos

Add Image Add an image

Do you have any images for this title?

Learn more

People who liked this also liked... 

Action | Drama
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 8.1/10 X  

Through his unconscionable actions against others, a sociopath samurai builds a trail of vendettas that follow him closely.

Director: Kihachi Okamoto
Stars: Tatsuya Nakadai, Michiyo Aratama, Yûzô Kayama
Drama
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 8.2/10 X  

Follows a woman's fight and survival amid the vicissitudes of life and the cruelty of the society.

Director: Kenji Mizoguchi
Stars: Kinuyo Tanaka, Tsukie Matsuura, Ichirô Sugai
Comedy
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.6/10 X  

In the last days of the Shogunate, a resourceful grifter seeks to outwit competing prostitutes, rebellious samurai and other inhabitants of a brothel in order to survive the hardened times.

Director: Yûzô Kawashima
Stars: Furankî Sakai, Sachiko Hidari, Yôko Minamida
Drunken Angel (1948)
Crime | Drama | Romance
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.8/10 X  

A drunken doctor with a hot temper and a violence-prone gangster with tuberculosis form a quicksilver bond.

Director: Akira Kurosawa
Stars: Takashi Shimura, Toshirô Mifune, Reizaburô Yamamoto
Samurai Saga (1959)
Action | Drama
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.1/10 X  

Edmund Rostand's play Cyrano de Bergerac, transplanted to Japan. A poet-warrior with an oversized nose (matched only by his great heart) loves a lady. But she sees him only as a friend, so ... See full summary »

Director: Hiroshi Inagaki
Stars: Toshirô Mifune, Yôko Tsukasa, Akira Takarada
Drama | Romance
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.9/10 X  

The adopted son of a legendary actor, and an aspiring star himself, turns to his infant brother's wet nurse for support and affection - only for her to give up everything for her beloved's glory.

Director: Kenji Mizoguchi
Stars: Shôtarô Hanayagi, Kôkichi Takada, Ryôtarô Kawanami
Red Lion (1969)
Action | Comedy
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.1/10 X  

Impersonating an Imperial Army officer by wearing a "red lion's mane", a poor servant returns to his village after 10 years of absence to end the village's suffering caused by corrupt ... See full summary »

Director: Kihachi Okamoto
Stars: Toshirô Mifune, Shima Iwashita, Etsushi Takahashi
Drama
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.5/10 X  

In a Japanese slum, various residents play out their lives, dreaming of better things or settling for their lot. Among them is a man who pines for a young woman but is stymied by her deceptive family.

Director: Akira Kurosawa
Stars: Toshirô Mifune, Isuzu Yamada, Kyôko Kagawa
Machibuse (1970)
Action | Drama
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.2/10 X  

In the Edo period, a nameless ronin accepts an assignment to go to a mountain pass and wait. Near the pass he stops at an inn where a collection of characters gather, including a gang set ... See full summary »

Director: Hiroshi Inagaki
Stars: Toshirô Mifune, Yûjirô Ishihara, Ruriko Asaoka
Stray Dog (1949)
Crime | Drama | Mystery
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.9/10 X  

During a sweltering summer, a rookie homicide detective tries to track down his stolen Colt pistol.

Director: Akira Kurosawa
Stars: Toshirô Mifune, Takashi Shimura, Keiko Awaji
Drama | History
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 6.7/10 X  

The War ended on August 15th, 1945. What took place in Japan on the previous night? The unknown destiny of the day is unveiled.

Director: Masato Harada
Stars: Kôji Yakusho, Masahiro Motoki, Tsutomu Yamazaki
Kami no tsuki (2014)
Drama
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 6.9/10 X  

A mellow drama following the moral decline of a housewife turned bank employee who embezzles a fortune from her customers and indulges in an affair with a younger man. Set in 1994, shortly after the burst of Japan's economic bubble.

Director: Daihachi Yoshida
Stars: Rie Miyazawa, Sôsuke Ikematsu, Renji Ishibashi
Edit

Cast

Cast overview, first billed only:
Kinnosuke Nakamura ...
...
Shojiro Goto
Keiju Kobayashi ...
Yoshinosuke Saigo
...
Sayuri Yoshinaga ...
Oryo
Katsuo Nakamura ...
Chojiro Kondo
Noboru Nakaya ...
Hanheita Takeichi
Eitarô Matsuyama ...
Umanosuke Shinmiya
Shigeru Kôyama ...
Kaishu Katsu (as Shigeru Kamiyama)
Shinsuke Mikimoto ...
Akihiko Katayama ...
Toranosuke Nakahira
Terumi Niki ...
Mitsukazu Nakadaira
Isao Yamagata ...
Hiroe Yamada
Ryûichi Nagashima ...
Tabun Iegami
Kentaro Ozato ...
Unosuke Urashima
Edit

Storyline

The story of Ryoma Sakamoto, considered to be the architect behind the downfall of the Tokugawa shogunate. He was considered an outlaw by his own clan, hunted by his government, and was despised by supporters of the Shogun as well as the Loyalists for desiring the opening of Japan to the West in order to learn its technology, in the hopes of one day defeating the West with a modern army and navy.

Plot Summary | Add Synopsis


Edit

Details

Country:

Language:

Release Date:

26 August 1970 (USA)  »

Also Known As:

The Ambitious  »

Company Credits

Production Co:

 »
Show detailed on  »

Technical Specs

Runtime:

Sound Mix:

Color:

(Eastmancolor)

Aspect Ratio:

2.35 : 1
See  »

Frequently Asked Questions

This FAQ is empty. Add the first question.

User Reviews

 
A jidai-geki about a man brought down by ambition and Japan in the grip of social and political change
2 August 2008 | by (Greece) – See all my reviews

The movie can be best defined through the combination of its Japanese and English titles. On one hand, it is a movie about the life and times of Ryoma Sakamoto, the titular Ambitious, a low-ranked samurai who fought (and died) trying to usher Japan in the modern era. On the other hand, his life is tightly interwoven with the historical context he was so pivotal in: the bakumatsu, a Japanese term that designates the end of 300 years reign of Tokugawa Shogunate that culminated with the restoration of Emperor Meiji in 1868 and the civil war of Boshin. There's a wikipedia article that will be great help to anyone totally unfamiliar with the events.

Alain Silver describes the filmic Ryoma Sakamoto (an important historical figure for 19th century Japanese history), played with vigour by Kinnosuke Nakamura, as "a man of vaguely idealistic goals tinged with a ruthless pragmatism, a man impatient for both social change and self-advancement - in short, a mixture of cynic and populist". While I would disagree that he's more romantic than cynic and not so much a populist as a genuine visionary, the fact remains that The Ambitious is a perfectly fitting title.

Mixing historical context with fiction, The Ambitious combines the political intrigue and convoluted plots associated with the jidai-geki of the 60's with a few swordfighting scenes, but it's definitely more concerned with following Sakamoto and his feverish dreams of revolution and a unified Japan with a nationalistic consciousness than it is with hack and slash bloodlet. However violence is always pivotal in the film, underscoring the clash of the old and new.

The closing discussion between Sakamoto and his friend Nakaoka that reveals their different mentalities and how Sakamoto (sided with the Imperialists though he may be) dreams of a Japan without Emperor and without samurais, where everyone is equal ("we're all human"), is followed by a bloodbath. In The Ambitious violence and politics go hand in hand, one always coming as a consequence to the other.

Toshiro Mifune and Tatsuya Nakadai provide the iconic genre aspect in their short roles (Mifune really has more of a cameo) and it's generally a well-made film that is more of a character study based on the real life of Sakamoto than it is an out and out chambara.


6 of 8 people found this review helpful.  Was this review helpful to you?

Contribute to This Page

Create a character page for:
?