MOVIEmeter
SEE RANK
Up 5,105 this week

The Wolves (1971)
"Shussho Iwai" (original title)

 -  Crime | Drama  -  30 October 1971 (Japan)
7.4
Your rating:
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 -/10 X  
Ratings: 7.4/10 from 226 users  
Reviews: 5 user | 10 critic

Add a Plot

Director:

0Check in
0Share...

Editors' Spotlight

IMDb at Comic-Con 2014

Follow our coverage of Comic-Con 2014, direct from San Diego July 23-27 in our Comic-Con section.


User Lists

Related lists from IMDb users

a list of 500 titles
created 15 Dec 2011
 
a list of 281 titles
created 20 Jun 2012
 
T
a list of 3152 titles
created 28 Nov 2012
 
list image
a list of 128 titles
created 05 Dec 2012
 
a list of 882 titles
created 10 months ago
 

Related Items

Search for "The Wolves" on Amazon.com

Connect with IMDb


Share this Rating

Title: The Wolves (1971)

The Wolves (1971) on IMDb 7.4/10

Want to share IMDb's rating on your own site? Use the HTML below.

Take The Quiz!

Test your knowledge of The Wolves.

Photos

Learn more

People who liked this also liked... 

Goyôkiba (1972)
Action
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 6.8/10 X  

Hanzo is an incorruptible and unorthodox officer in Edo, as famous for his self-discipline and his love shaft as his sword. Against the backdrop of his magistrate's occasional rounding up ... See full summary »

Director: Kenji Misumi
Stars: Shintarô Katsu, Yukiji Asaoka, Mari Atsumi
Action
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.2/10 X  

In PORNO PERIOD DRAMA, Tetsuro Tanba plays a nihilistic ronin who faces down the "Clan of the Forgotten Eight", who got their name because they lost all their basic emotions like conscience... See full summary »

Director: Teruo Ishii
Stars: Tetsurô Tanba, Gorô Ibuki, Tatsuo Endô
Action | Adventure | Drama
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7/10 X  

Loyal samurai Samanosuke is attacked, mutilated, and left for dead while carrying out a mission for his clan. He recovers but has lost an eye and an arm. Taking a new identity as Tange ... See full summary »

Director: Hideo Gosha
Stars: Bin Amatsu, Keiko Awaji, Takuya Fujioka
Samurai Spy (1965)
Action | Drama
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.1/10 X  

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 ... See full summary »

Director: Masahiro Shinoda
Stars: Hiroshi Aoyama, Jun Hamamura, Osamu Hitomi
Action | Drama
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.5/10 X  

A Shogunate Elder connives to rule Japan by making his puppet, the Shogun's brother Tsunashige, the next Shogun. The best strategist in Japan, Yamaga, leads a plot to stop the Elder, but ... See full summary »

Director: Eiichi Kudô
Stars: Tôru Abe, Mikijirô Hira, Yoshio Inaba
Drama
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.4/10 X  

During World War II, a Japanese soldier finds himself assigned to a kamikaze mission against a U.S. battleship.

Director: Kihachi Okamoto
Stars: Minori Terada, Naoko Ôtani, Yûnosuke Itô
Action | Crime
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.4/10 X  

A self-destructive man becomes a powerful member of the Japanese mafia but quickly loses his self control. Based on the true story of Rikio Ishikawa.

Director: Kinji Fukasaku
Stars: Tetsuya Watari, Tatsuo Umemiya, Yumi Takigawa
Action | Drama
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.4/10 X  
Director: Kenji Misumi
Stars: Hideki Takahashi, Ken Ogata, Masaomi Kondô
Action | Crime
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.3/10 X  
Director: Kiyoshi Saeki
Stars: Ken Takakura, Ryô Ikebe, Yoshiko Mita
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.2/10 X  
Director: Noribumi Suzuki
Stars: Bin Amatsu, Junpei Arishima, Daisuke Awaji
Kagerô (1991)
Crime | Drama
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 6.7/10 X  
Director: Hideo Gosha
Stars: Kanako Higuchi, Tatsuya Nakadai, Keiko Oginome
Drama
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.4/10 X  
Director: Hideo Gosha
Stars: Tatsuya Nakadai, Shima Iwashita, Kôichi Satô
Edit

Cast

Credited cast:
Rumi Aiki
Hideyo Amamoto
Noboru Andô ...
Gunjiro Ozeki
Mitsuko Aoi
Kimio Aoki
Yoshitarô Asawaka
Kyôko Enami ...
Oyu
Jun Haichi
Tsuyoshi Hanada
Nobuhiro Hara
Hiroshi Hasegawa
Ken Hayami
Nobuo Hirasawa
Eiko Horii
Toshio Hosoi
Edit

Storyline

Add Full Plot | Add Synopsis

Genres:

Crime | Drama

Edit

Details

Country:

Language:

Release Date:

30 October 1971 (Japan)  »

Also Known As:

Prison Release Celebration  »

Company Credits

Show detailed on  »

Technical Specs

Sound Mix:

Color:

Aspect Ratio:

2.35 : 1
See  »

Frequently Asked Questions

This FAQ is empty. Add the first question.

User Reviews

 
A slow, brooding gendai-geki with the stylistic superiority of Hideo Gosha emblazoned all over it
18 December 2008 | by (Greece) – See all my reviews

I've said it in every review I've written about Hideo Gosha and I'll say it again. There's no Japanese director more criminally, terribly, shamefully underrated than the great Hideo Gosha. No director who soared in the artistic heights Gosha did is more underseen and undiscovered.

Following his early period of pulpy stylized chambaras, Gosha progressively tackled bigger, better and significantly more ambitious projects. This golden era that began so triumphantly with GOYOKIN, easily among the ten most stunningly beautiful Japanese films of all time, found its ultimate, irrevocable and titanic culmination in KUMOKIRI NIZAEMON, a film so labyrinthine, complex and breathtaking and so full of ideas as to contain enough material for two great movies. THE WOLVES is a step in that direction, part of that niche - ultra stylish, socially-minded, with a serpentine plot and epic in scope. Yet for that reason, a film best enjoyed by the Japanese cinema aficionado who is familiar with the often convoluted nature of these films. The novice might have to rewind the first 30 minutes a couple of times.

Indeed Gosha opens the film TOO fast. And then slows down to a crawl until the bloody finale. The opening narrative is an interesting experiment of Wellesian proportions, something that combines Kinji Fukasaku's ideas of montage and superimposed titles, yet in the same time takes them to the next level. Thirty years before Guy Ritchie would do it for quirk's sake, Gosha had already done it better.

A typical plot, perhaps intentionally generic, involves the rivalry and subsequent reconciliation between two yakuza families and all the scheming and backstabbing that slowly comes to the surface. Tatsuya Nakadai's character, a yakuza underboss fresh out of prison as the film begins after doing time for the murder of the rival family's boss in retribution for the bombing of his clan's log work site, ruminates at one point: "If I can't believe in his yakuza honor then what is left to believe in?". This is not a ninkyo chivalry yakuza film however, here the yakuzas are exactly what the title says. Ruthless thugs, street cutthroats throbbing with greed and ambition. People whose word is honorable as long as it serves them right, or as long as no one knows otherwise. At the root of all trouble, as with earlier Gosha films like SWORD OF THE BEAST and GOYOKIN, is gold.

The dualistic treatment of Tatsuya Nakadai's character, Iwahashi, also carries echoes of earlier Gosha characters like Magobei or Gennosuke. Disillusioned with his life and the hypocrisy of the yakuza, he's a tired middle-aged man who's laid ambition by the wayside. At the same time he's an instrument of revenge, an angel of death called to strike down with great vengeance. It's around this duality, passive and aggressive by circumstance, that Gosha builds the different moods of the movie: for most of the duration, the film languors in a dreamy haze lulling the viewer in a sense of false security through pictorial beauty. Yet, exposition is constant. Dark secrets behind the seemingly perfect alliance between the two ex-rival families slowly emerge and things are about to change.

For Gosha, as with other Japanese directors from the sixties, style IS substance. That is not to say the film lacks what is typically regarded as substance. Gosha has a story to tell, a premise to fulfill, a conclusion to arrive at. But he's a storyteller of visual excellence. To say Gosha's style IS substance is to advise the viewer to scan the frame for the details Gosha has planted there. Racking focus is one of his favorite tricks for example: watch how he shifts focus between a face, a hand that pounds a drum, and painted demons in the background of a carnival chariot, all in the same frame. Watch how the painted door panels comment on the foreground action in the final climax. Watch the overly theatric final showdown, one that blends Sergio Leone's ceremonial abstraction of the duel with Kabuki theater. Watch the topology he so carefully constructs: the carnival, a place of disguise, raw animal energy, intrigue and murder. The solitary beach strewn with the broken vessels of old ships, with seabirds flying over them: a dreamy limbo of sorts, a place for old lovers to reunite in, old friends and now foes to die in.

All in all, although THE WOLVES is not among Gosha's best films, it's just short of them, which makes it not just one of the best yakuza films of the time but also one of the best gendaigeki dramas.


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

Message Boards

Discuss The Wolves (1971) on the IMDb message boards »

Contribute to This Page

Create a character page for:
?