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The Yakuza
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The Yakuza (1974) More at IMDbPro »

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Overview

User Rating:
7.3/10   4,065 votes »
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Director:
Writers:
Paul Schrader (screenplay) and
Robert Towne (screenplay) ...
(more)
Contact:
View company contact information for The Yakuza on IMDbPro.
Release Date:
March 1975 (USA) See more »
Genre:
Tagline:
A man never forgets. A man pays his debts. See more »
Plot:
Harry Kilmer returns to Japan after several years in order to rescue his friend George's kidnapped daughter... See more » | Full synopsis »
Plot Keywords:
NewsDesk:
(15 articles)
Retrospective: The Directorial Career Of Paul Schrader
 (From The Playlist. 5 August 2013, 9:06 AM, PDT)

Cinema’s Greatest Villains: The 1970′s
 (From SoundOnSight. 19 May 2013, 4:43 PM, PDT)

Lead Actors: The Overlooked and Underrated
 (From SoundOnSight. 27 February 2013, 2:18 PM, PST)

User Reviews:
Powerful and melancholy See more (35 total) »

Cast

  (in credits order) (verified as complete)

Robert Mitchum ... Harry Kilmer

Ken Takakura ... Tanaka Ken (as Takakura Ken)

Brian Keith ... George Tanner

Herb Edelman ... Wheat

Richard Jordan ... Dusty
Keiko Kishi ... Eiko (as Kishi Keiko)

Eiji Okada ... Tono (as Okada Eiji)

James Shigeta ... 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
Harada ... Goro's Doorman
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Directed by
Sydney Pollack 
 
Writing credits
Paul Schrader (screenplay) and
Robert Towne (screenplay)

Leonard Schrader (story)

Produced by
Michael Hamilburg .... co-producer
Sydney Pollack .... producer
Kôji Shundô .... executive producer
 
Original Music by
Dave Grusin 
 
Cinematography by
Kôzô Okazaki (director of photography) (as Okazaki Kozo)
 
Film Editing by
Don Guidice 
Thomas Stanford 
 
Production Design by
Stephen B. Grimes  (as Stephen Grimes)
 
Art Direction by
Yoshiyuki Ishida  (as Ishida Yoshiyuki)
 
Costume Design by
Dorothy Jeakins 
 
Makeup Department
Gary Morris .... makeup artist
 
Production Management
John R. Coonan .... production manager (as John Coonan)
Isao Nagaoka .... unit production manager (as Nagaoka Isao)
William Ross .... assistant production manager
Yoshio Yamamoto .... unit production manager (as Yamamoto Yoshio)
 
Second Unit Director or Assistant Director
Mike Abe .... assistant director
Stephen B. Grimes .... second unit director (as Stephen Grimes)
Michael D. Moore .... assistant director (as Michael Moore)
 
Art Department
Toshio Miyagawa .... props (as Miyagawa Toshio)
Seiji Moori .... tattoo artist (as Mohri Seiji)
 
Sound Department
Basil Fenton-Smith .... sound mixer (as Basil Fenton Smith)
Arthur Piantadosi .... re recording mixer
Ed Scheid .... sound effects (as Edwin Scheid)
 
Special Effects by
Tomoo Kasai .... special effects (as Kasai Tomoo)
Richard Parker .... special effects
 
Stunts
Bill Saito .... stunts (uncredited)
 
Camera and Electrical Department
Bobby Byrne .... camera operator (as Robert Byrne)
Duke Callaghan .... director of photography: American sequences
Yoshiaki Masuda .... gaffer (as Masuda Yoshiaki)
Tamio Matsuo .... assistant cameraman (as Matsuo Tamio)
Haruhisa Murase .... grip (as Murase Haruhisa)
Cliff Ralke .... assistant cameraman (as Clifton Ralke)
 
Costume and Wardrobe Department
Mamoru Mori .... wardrobe (as Mori Mamoru)
 
Editorial Department
Carol Ann Jackson .... assistant editor
Ralph Sandler .... assistant editor
Fredric Steinkamp .... supervising film editor
 
Music Department
Ted Whitfield .... music editor
Richard H. Anderson .... musician: woodwinds (uncredited)
Richard H. Anderson .... orchestra contractor (uncredited)
Gene Cipriano .... musician: woodwinds (uncredited)
Ralph Grierson .... musician: piano/keyboards (uncredited)
Dave Grusin .... conductor (uncredited)
Dave Grusin .... orchestrator (uncredited)
Artie Kane .... musician: piano/organ/keyboards (uncredited)
Jerome Richardson .... musician: woodwinds (uncredited)
Lee Ritenour .... guitars (uncredited)
Bud Shank .... alto sax/flute (uncredited)
Dan Wallin .... music engineer (uncredited)
Dan Wallin .... music mixer (uncredited)
Kurt E. Wolff .... musician: percussion (uncredited)
Kurt E. Wolff .... orchestra contractor (uncredited)
 
Other crew
Kuroki Masami .... production personnel
Phill Norman .... titles designer
Michie Ross .... production secretary
Masao Satô .... assistant to executive producer (as Sato Masao)
Gaylin P. Schultz .... production coordinator (as Gaylin Schultz)
Takeshi Sugimoto .... production personnel (as Sugimoto Takeshi)
Keiko Tsushima .... script girl (as Tsushima Keiko)
Hope Williams .... script supervisor
Seiji Yada .... production personnel (as Yada Seiji)
 
Crew verified as complete


Production CompaniesDistributorsOther Companies
  • Toei Company  special thanks to: for their cooperation in the production of this film (as Toei Motion Picture Company Ltd.)
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Additional Details

Also Known As:
Runtime:
Japan:123 min | UK:107 min | USA:112 min
Country:
Language:
Color:
Color (Technicolor)
Aspect Ratio:
2.35 : 1 See more »
Sound Mix:
Certification:
Brazil:14 | Canada:14A (video rating) | Finland:K-16 (cut) | France:-12 | Norway:15 | Norway:16 (cut) | Singapore:PG | Sweden:15 | UK:AA (original rating) | UK:15 (tv rating) | UK:15 (video rating) (1994) (2007) | USA:R
Filming Locations:

Did You Know?

Trivia:
Martin Scorsese wanted to direct after Mean Streets (1973) but the producers wanted Sydney Pollack.See more »
Goofs:
Boom mic visible: 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:
Eiko Tanaka:Did you speak to Ken?
Harry Kilmer:Yeah
Eiko Tanaka:Does he know we are here?
Harry Kilmer:Sure.
Eiko Tanaka:Is he unhappy?
Harry Kilmer:I'm on my way over to see him now.
Eiko Tanaka:But is he unhappy?
Harry Kilmer:Of course he's unhappy, he's been unhappy ever since he lost the war. I keep trying to tell him it's not his fault, he won't take my word for it.
See more »
Movie Connections:
Soundtrack:
Only the WindSee more »

FAQ

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42 out of 46 people found the following review useful.
Powerful and melancholy, 20 December 2001
Author: henri sauvage from nashville, tn

A neglected classic of 70s film-making, this is perhaps the most "Japanese" movie ever made by a non-Japanese. The story is rich and multi-layered, featuring not one but two sets of star-crossed lovers in a brilliant and melancholy examination of contrasting themes of memory, secrets and betrayal, friendship, honor and obligation. The script is both literate and intricate; the characters' motives are almost always obscure until another layer of deception is stripped away.

Only Robert Mitchum could have done justice to the role of Harry Kilmer, a retired detective returning to Japan for the first time in many years to rescue his old Army friend Tanner's daughter, who has been kidnapped by the Yakuza in a dispute over a debt Tanner owes them. When Kilmer arrives in Japan, he seeks out Ken, the brother of his ex-lover Eiko (played by the astoundingly lovely and talented Kishi Keiko). Ken is a lone wolf, an ex-Yakuza who now runs a martial arts school, and though there is obviously no love lost between the two, Kilmer knows Ken carries an obligation to him for rescuing Eiko and her infant daughter in the early days of the Occupation.

Kilmer is still bitter about the past, deeply wounded by his love for Eiko, who would not marry him even though she loves him deeply. This was the reason why he left Japan and never meant to return.

Now, with Ken's reluctant help, he rescues Tanner's daughter, but this only leads to an intensifying spiral of tragic consequences, because nothing is quite what it seems. Only when Kilmer begins to understand the truth of the situation is he able to act constructively.

Everyone in this film, from Brian Keith to Herb Edelman to Richard Jordan (in one of his first starring roles) turns in a first-rate performance. James Shigeta and Christina Kobuko also deserve honorable mention. But it is Mitchum and Takakura Ken who make this movie.

This is not an action film in the sense of later -- and far inferior -- efforts like "The Challenge" and "Black Rain", though there are scenes of intense and graphic violence. Nor does it have a happy ending, although some of the characters do ultimately find redemption and a hope of reconciliation.

"The Yakuza" is a work that deserves a much larger audience, one which will totally engage a thoughtful viewer with its universal themes worked out against the background of a very different culture, with its own mindset and traditions. I give it my highest recommendation.

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Message Boards

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Recent Posts (updated daily)User
So A Remake?...Keeping It Old You Think??? samariley
Excellent Film! victora87
Goro's son, with the spider tattoo (SPOILERS) haradoka
What is that amazing modernist building where Mitchum meets the brother? stevep-4
Remake caliope1138
help please raba71980
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