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The Yakuza (1974)

Harry Kilmer returns to Japan after several years in order to rescue his friend George's kidnapped daughter - and ends up on the wrong side of the Yakuza, the notorious Japanese mafia...



(screenplay), (screenplay) | 1 more credit »

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Cast overview, first billed only:
Harry Kilmer
Tanaka Ken
George Tanner
Keiko Kishi ...
Eiko (as Kishi Keiko)
Tono (as Okada Eiji)
Kyôsuke Machida ...
Christina Kokubo ...
Eiji Gô ...
Spider (as Go Eiji)
Lee Chirillo ...
M. Hisaka ...
William Ross ...
Tanner's Guard
Akiyama ...
Tono's Guard


Harry Kilmer returns to Japan after several years in order to rescue his friend George's kidnapped daughter - and ends up on the wrong side of the Yakuza, the notorious Japanese mafia... Written by Michael Brooke <michael@everyman.demon.co.uk>

Plot Summary | Plot Synopsis

Plot Keywords:

japan | yakuza | love | mafia | business | See All (38) »


100 years ago they were called Samurai. See more »


R | See all certifications »

Parents Guide:






Release Date:

21 December 1974 (Japan)  »

Also Known As:

The Yakuza  »

Filming Locations:


Company Credits

Production Co:

Show detailed on  »

Technical Specs

Sound Mix:



Aspect Ratio:

2.35 : 1
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Did You Know?


First screenplay written by Paul Schrader, written in partnership with Robert Towne. See more »


The boom mic is clearly visible in one scene when Oliver Wheat grabs his cat while telling the story of Eiko to Dusty, the mic appears behind the table and is retracted as Wheat advances. See more »


Goro: Ken is a tormented man. It is Eiko, of course, but it is also Japan. Ken is a relic, a leftover of another age, of another country.
See more »


Only the Wind
Japanese Lyrics Yû Aku (as Aku Yu)
Composed by Dave Grusin
See more »

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User Reviews

The Godfather Japanese Style
10 November 2006 | by (Buffalo, New York) – See all my reviews

The Yakuza introduced we occidentals to the term the Japanese use for their various crime families. Probably after the wide acceptance of both the Godfather films, the American public was ready to see what organized crime looked like in another culture.

La Cosa Nostra, the Mafia, all those phrases we use for Italian organized crime certainly had their rituals and traditions. But as we learn in watching this film they have nothing on the Yakuza.

Robert Mitchum plays a private detective who works both sides of the law back in the states and he's hired by crime boss Brian Keith to rescue his daughter who was kidnapped by one of the Yakuza crime families in lieu of a shipment of weapons Keith was supposed to deliver. Coming along with him is young Richard Jordan whose father was a friend of both Mitchum and Keith as backup.

The mission is accomplished, but Mitchum and Jordan find the situation is a whole lot more complex than they were led to believe. In addition Mitchum gets involved with an old girl friend from the days when he was a military policeman during the postwar American occupation. She's the key to getting help from a former Yakuza member in their quest.

The American actors perform well here and oriental players James Shigeta and Japanese film star Takakura Ken are well cast as feuding Yakuza brothers. You will not question why Takakura Ken is known as the Japanese Clint Eastwood after seeing The Yakuza.

Director Sydney Pollack shows a real reverence and respect for the traditions of another culture. The Yakuza is both entertaining and informative and should not be missed.

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