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Kagemusha (1980)

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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.


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



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


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


Drama | History | War


PG | See all certifications »

Parents Guide:






Release Date:

10 October 1980 (USA)  »

Also Known As:

Kagemusha (The Shadow Warrior)  »

Box Office


$6,000,000 (estimated)

Company Credits

Show detailed on  »

Technical Specs


Sound Mix:



Aspect Ratio:

1.85 : 1
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Did You Know?


In Region 1 territories, this was Akira Kurosawa's first film to be released on the Blu-Ray Disc format. See more »


In the scene where Oda Nobunaga dances the Atsumori. His kimono bears the Mon (insignia) of his (then) retainer Toyotomi Hideyoshi. There's no reason indicated for why he'd do that. See more »


Shingen Takeda: To occupy Kyoto, to fly my flags in the capital, has been my long-cherished dream. But... if something should happen to me, do not pursue that dream. Remember: my death must not be made known. Keep it a secret, for at least three years. Guard our domain. Never move from it. Do not move! If you ignore my order and set out to attack, our Takeda clan will be no more. Heed my words! This... is my final wish.
See more »


Referenced in Life Itself (2014) See more »

Frequently Asked Questions

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User Reviews

A Long, But Fantastic, Film.
27 April 2009 | by (United Kingdom) – See all my reviews

Akira Kurosawa's "Kagemusha" (1980) is one of those tremendously long films that somehow never drags. The plot is about a petty thief who is about to be crucified but is saved by a Japanese warlord called Lord Shingen because of his amazing resemblance to him and is used as a double. When the Lord is killed, and because of a plan laid by Shingen before he died, the so-call "Shadow Warrior" must impersonate the Lord for three years. Aided by this clever plot, Kurosawa shows us Japanese court ritual, with help by a brilliant performance by Tatsuya Nakadai, gives a fascinating picture of fifteenth century Japan. This a fabulous movie, with a particularly moving ending, that shows just how great Akira Kurosawa is.

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

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is this better or worsier than RAN majaco
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