MOVIEmeter
SEE RANK
Down 10,784 this week

The Yakuza (1974)

R  |   |  Action, Crime, Drama  |  March 1975 (USA)
7.3
Your rating:
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 -/10 X  
Ratings: 7.3/10 from 4,503 users  
Reviews: 37 user | 32 critic

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...

Director:

Writers:

(screenplay), (screenplay), 1 more credit »
0Check in
0Share...

Watch Now

From $2.00 on Amazon Instant Video

ON DISC

IMDb Picks: April

Visit our IMDb Picks section to see our recommendations of movies and TV shows coming out in April.

User Lists

Related lists from IMDb users

a list of 35 titles
created 04 Feb 2012
 
Me
a list of 43 titles
created 10 Oct 2012
 
a list of 46 titles
created 16 Nov 2013
 
a list of 40 titles
created 8 months ago
 
a list of 24 titles
created 1 month ago
 

Related Items

Search for "The Yakuza" on Amazon.com

Connect with IMDb


Share this Rating

Title: The Yakuza (1974)

The Yakuza (1974) on IMDb 7.3/10

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

Take The Quiz!

Test your knowledge of The Yakuza.

Videos

Photos

Learn more

People who liked this also liked... 

Comedy | Western | Drama
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 6.2/10 X  

Sonny Steele used to be a rodeo star, but his next appearance is to be on a Las Vegas stage, wearing a suit covered in lights, advertising a breakfast cereal. When he finds out they are ... See full summary »

Director: Sydney Pollack
Stars: Robert Redford, Jane Fonda, Valerie Perrine
Havana I (1990)
Drama | Romance | War
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 6/10 X  

Cuba, December 1958: The professional gambler Jack visits Havana to organize a big Poker game. On the ship he meets Roberta and falls in love with her. Shortly after they arrive in Cuba, ... See full summary »

Director: Sydney Pollack
Stars: Robert Redford, Lena Olin, Alan Arkin
Comedy | Western
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 6.8/10 X  

Forced to trade his valuable furs for a well-educated escaped slave, a rugged trapper vows to recover the pelts from the Indians and later the renegades that killed them.

Director: Sydney Pollack
Stars: Burt Lancaster, Shelley Winters, Telly Savalas
Castle Keep (1969)
Action | Comedy | Drama
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 6.2/10 X  

During the Battle of the Bulge, an anachronistic count shelters a ragtag squad of Americans in his isolated castle hoping they will defend it against the advancing Germans.

Director: Sydney Pollack
Stars: Burt Lancaster, Patrick O'Neal, Jean-Pierre Aumont
Drama
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.1/10 X  

A college volunteer at the crisis phone gets a call from a suicide caller.

Director: Sydney Pollack
Stars: Sidney Poitier, Anne Bancroft, Telly Savalas
Drama | Romance
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 5.9/10 X  

Bobby Deerfield, a famous American race car driver on the European circuit, falls in love with the enigmatic Lillian Morelli, who is terminally ill.

Director: Sydney Pollack
Stars: Al Pacino, Marthe Keller, Anny Duperey
Adventure | Drama | Western
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.6/10 X  

A mountain man who wishes to live the life of a hermit becomes the unwilling object of a long vendetta by Indians, and proves to be a match for their warriors in one-on-one combat on the early frontier.

Director: Sydney Pollack
Stars: Robert Redford, Will Geer, Delle Bolton
Action | Drama | Crime
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.1/10 X  

Major Charles Rane comes back from the war and is given a number of gifts from his hometown because he is a war hero. Some greedy thugs decide that they want to steal a number of silver ... See full summary »

Director: John Flynn
Stars: William Devane, Tommy Lee Jones, Linda Haynes
Certificate: M Drama
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.9/10 X  

The lives of a disparate group of contestants intertwine in an inhumanely grueling dance marathon.

Director: Sydney Pollack
Stars: Jane Fonda, Michael Sarrazin, Susannah York
Hardcore (1979)
Drama | Thriller
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 6.9/10 X  

A conservative Midwest businessman ventures into the sordid underworld of pornography in California to look for his runaway teenage daughter who is making porno films in California's porno pits.

Director: Paul Schrader
Stars: George C. Scott, Peter Boyle, Season Hubley
Mystery | Thriller
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.5/10 X  

A bookish CIA researcher finds all his co-workers dead, and must outwit those responsible until he figures out who he can really trust.

Director: Sydney Pollack
Stars: Robert Redford, Faye Dunaway, Cliff Robertson
Action | Drama

A man returns to Japan to rescue his friend's kidnapped daughter.

Edit

Cast

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

Storyline

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 (33) »

Taglines:

100 years ago they were called Samurai. See more »


Certificate:

R | See all certifications »

Parents Guide:

 »
Edit

Details

Country:

|

Language:

|

Release Date:

March 1975 (USA)  »

Also Known As:

Yakuza  »

Filming Locations:

 »

Company Credits

Production Co:

,  »
Show detailed on  »

Technical Specs

Sound Mix:

Color:

(Technicolor)

Aspect Ratio:

2.35 : 1
See  »
Edit

Did You Know?

Trivia

This script sold for $300,000 which was the highest amount ever paid for a script at the time. See more »

Goofs

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 »

Quotes

Harry Kilmer: Everywhere I look, I can't recognize a thing.
Oliver Wheat: It's still there. Farmers in the countryside may watch TV from their tatami mats and you can't see Fuji through the smog, but don't let it fool you. It's still Japan and the Japanese are still Japanese.
See more »

Connections

Referenced in Tales from the Script (2009) See more »

Soundtracks

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

Frequently Asked Questions

This FAQ is empty. Add the first question.

User Reviews

 
One of the great films of the 70s
28 November 2006 | by (London, England) – See all my reviews

The Yakuza is one of the great films of the seventies. Although this didn't make much noise in the seventies (despite a truly surreal promotional gimmick, 'Join the Yakuza Set' tattoo transfers!), it has held up a lot better than he plethora of seventies thrillers that swamped it at the time.

Belonging to that subgenre of Americans-in-Japan thrillers (Fuller's House of Bamboo, Scott's Black Rain, Frankenheimer's The Challenge), The Yakuza is a film about the price of honor and about people who face their responsibilities. The film could almost be called 'giri' - Japanese for obligation or the burden hardest to bear. Richard Jordan's bodyguard may start out wiseguy ("That can work both ways. If you ain't alive tomorrow, he don't owe you s***.") but even he lives up to his moral obligations when discharged from them by Mitchum. All of the plot developments are a result of obligations, with the characters following through as per their personal codes of honor, taken to the ultimate extreme in Mitchum's final apology to Takakura Ken for destroying both his past and his future.

The hook might be that Mitchum returns to Japan to help secure the release of an old army friend's daughter from a Yakuza clan and in the process reopening old wounds with former lover Kishi Keiko and her brother Takakura Ken, but the emotional undercurrents are as important as the plot developments, with the film's criminal double-dealing mirrored in the myriad personal betrayals he is as he is forced to face the fact that he has always confused his friends with his enemies.

It is not a film that wears its emotions on its sleeve, and is all the more affecting for that the awkwardness of Mitchum's meeting with Ken and the hesitancy of his reunion with Keiko (and the subtle re-enactment of the old photos in her album) - everything is in the pauses and between the lines. It's these emotional undercurrents that make it stand up to repeated viewings.

The early seventies was a last golden age for the eternally under-rated Mitchum, with outstanding performances in The Friends of Eddie Coyle, Farewell My Lovely and Ryan's Daughter, and this is one of his best. His 'strange stranger' and Takakura Ken's 'man who never smiles' ("He's been unhappy ever since he lost the war. I keep trying to tell him it's not his fault but he won't take my word for it") is a match made in casting heaven. Their screen presence is remarkably similar, exuding a lifetime of world-weariness and personal loss that attracts both empathy and respect for their characters. Both give superbly understated performances, with the great Takakura Ken getting his best English-language role to date.

Jordan gives a nicely unassuming performance in the juvenile lead, making the most of his romantic subplot by showing the least, and there's an added poignancy to his fate since the actor's death. Indeed, all the performances are superb, with the emphasis on being rather than acting.

The screenplay as filmed is a terrific mixture of the commercial and the cerebral. Where most modern American thrillers are driven by indiscriminate violence ("In America, a guy cracks up he opens a window and kills a few strangers. Here, a guy cracks up, he closes the window and kills himself," observes Jordan), here events and participants are interconnected. All of the main characters are friends or surrogate family, and although Robert Towne was brought in to up the gangster element from the Shraders' more philosophical approach (the differences can be found in Leonard Schrader's novelization), he knows enough to keep it personal. It's witty too, without being condescending or resorting to the pre-kill one-liners so prevalent today that divorce the audience from the consequences and ramifications of violence.

Sydney Pollack's sensitivity to the material is remarkable. There's an unshowy adventurousness to his direction that he hasn't displayed since. In particular, the action scenes are extraordinary without ever straying from the credible, and a complete departure in style for the director.

(A version of this review appeared in Movie Collector magazine)


19 of 25 people found this review helpful.  Was this review helpful to you?

Message Boards

Recent Posts
So A Remake?...Keeping It Old You Think??? samariley
Yakuza to be released on DVD sarjim
The Yakuza cuts? gantami
Remake caliope1138
Tile game in the Yakuza boliver-4
The Yakuza on DVD - My Flight Of Fancy! projectmolcos
Discuss The Yakuza (1974) on the IMDb message boards »

Contribute to This Page

Create a character page for:
?