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A petty thief with an utter resemblance to a samurai warlord is hired as the lord's double. When the warlord later dies the thief is forced to take up arms in his place.

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Nominated for 2 Oscars. Another 20 wins & 3 nominations. See more awards »

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Cast

Cast overview, first billed only:
...
Tsutomu Yamazaki ...
Ken'ichi Hagiwara ...
Jinpachi Nezu ...
Sohachiro Tsuchiya
Hideji Ôtaki ...
Daisuke Ryû ...
Masayuki Yui ...
...
Otsuyanokata
Mitsuko Baishô ...
Oyunokata
Hideo Murota ...
Nobufusa Baba
Takayuki Shiho ...
Masatoyo Naito
Kôji Shimizu ...
Katsusuke Atobe
Noboru Shimizu ...
Masatane Hara
Sen Yamamoto ...
Nobushige Oyamada
Shuhei Sugimori ...
Masanobu Kosaka
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Storyline

When a powerful warlord in medieval Japan dies, a poor thief recruited to impersonate him finds difficulty living up to his role and clashes with the spirit of the warlord during turbulent times in the kingdom. Written by Keith Loh <loh@sfu.ca>

Plot Summary | Add Synopsis

Genres:

Drama | History | War

Certificate:

PG | See all certifications »

Parents Guide:

 »
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Details

Country:

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Language:

Release Date:

10 October 1980 (USA)  »

Also Known As:

Kagemusha (The Shadow Warrior)  »

Box Office

Budget:

$6,000,000 (estimated)
 »

Company Credits

Show detailed on  »

Technical Specs

Runtime:

Sound Mix:

Color:

(Eastmancolor)

Aspect Ratio:

1.85 : 1
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Did You Know?

Trivia

During principal photography director Akira Kurosawa read the novel of War and Peace (1956) by Leo Tolstoy. See more »

Goofs

In the final battle there are at least 100 riflemen shown firing their matchlock rifles in volleys. The smoke generated by the matchlocks almost immediately dissipates. This indicates a more modern gunpowder was used in the matchlocks as the historically correct black powder load would blanket the battlefield with thick smoke after a handful of volleys. See more »

Quotes

Shingen Takeda: Even with this resemblance, Nobukado, he is so wicked as to be sentenced to crucifixion. How could this scoundrel be my double?
Kagemusha: I only stole a few coins. A petty thief. But you've killed hundreds and robbed whole domains. Who is wicked, you or I?
See more »

Connections

References You Only Live Twice (1967) See more »

Frequently Asked Questions

See more (Spoiler Alert!) »

User Reviews

 
incredibly BIG and beautiful but also very sterile
16 February 2006 | by (Bradenton, Florida) – See all my reviews

I have seen nearly all of Akira Kurosawa's films, so my opinion shouldn't be completely ignored. Although I am in the distinct minority, I didn't particularly like KAGEMUSHA. Yes, it was big and beautiful and had great scope but it was also emotionally sterile and bore little resemblance to Kurosawa's earlier, more famous works. The same, by the way, can be said about RAN. Both films had relatively HUGE budgets but the dialog and connectedness between the characters was lacking. As a result, I felt pretty bored when I watched both of them--especially this film.

So, if you compare these two movies with THE 7 SAMURAI or YOJIMBO, for example, they seem VERY different. These older films, though not filmed in color, had a greater sense of humanity about them--great importance was placed on the INTERRELATIONSHIPS between the characters AND the camera work was very different, with more closeups and a more intimate feel. So, while RAN and KAGEMUSHA were pretty to look at, I felt much more detached from them and cared much less about the characters. I really think the problem with these two movies, and the reason I like them less than the average Kurosawa film, was that the big budget in these later films actually HURT them, as too much emphasis was placed on effects and dialog was purely secondary.

So, in summary, I am the odd-ball that didn't love this film. You will probably disagree and might be tempted to mark my review as "not helpful", as the reviews on IMDb are generally glowing. But having seen many Japanese films, I can't help but feel there are better films out there waiting to be seen. Most any other Kurosawa film, and films by other great directors (such as THE SAMURAI TRILOGY, the films of Yasujiro Ozu) are more appealing to me. I think the popularity of this film is in part due to its having been seen in theaters by more Westerners than any other of Kurosawa's films--SEEK OUT HIS EARLIER AND MID-CAREER FILMS--they are better and far more emotionally involving.


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