Shogun (1980)

TV Movie  |   |  Adventure, Drama, History  |  15 September 1980 (USA)
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An English navigator becomes both pawn and player in the deadly political games in feudal Japan.



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Complete credited cast:
Furankî Sakai ...
Lord Yabu
Alan Badel ...
Damien Thomas ...
Friar Domingo
Vladek Sheybal ...
Yûki Meguro ...
Noburo Kaneko ...
Lord Ishido
George Innes ...
Leon Lissek ...
Father Sebastio
Rest of cast listed alphabetically:
Tôru Abe ...
Narrator (voice)
John J. Carney ...


In the 16th Century, a Dutch ship sails the Pacific from the Americas in order to escape the Spanish. Blackthorn is the pilot of the ship and the first to realize the possibilities of Japan. Japan is a feudal society which has a strong presence of the Portugese. A struggle is in the final stages for who will be the Shogun, the leader who, under the emperor, governs the land. Toranaga sees in Blackthorn things he can use to at least survive the struggle to come, and if both play their hands correctly, become Shogun. Written by John Vogel <>

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Release Date:

15 September 1980 (USA)  »

Also Known As:

James Clavell's Shogun  »

Company Credits

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Technical Specs



Sound Mix:


Aspect Ratio:

1.33 : 1
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Did You Know?


Just one week before production, the Japanese actress chosen for the role of Mariko left the project as she was a singer and had to go on tour. This was a major headache for the team. Still, production was not stopped and a whole month was shot before 'Yoko Shimada' was hired to play Mariko. See more »


Jet Contrail Visible at very top of screen in opening shot. See more »


Father Alvito: You are a heretic Dutchman pirate! You're going to die.
See more »


Edited from Shogun (1980) See more »

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User Reviews

Buyer Beware: Either 10 Hours or Nothing
20 July 2003 | by See all my reviews

Incomprehensibly, they tried to sell a two-hour version of the 10-hour miniseries, and it's junk. Why anybody went through this (and I pity the poor editor who had an impossible job) is beyond me, except that there must have been a greedy executive somewhere who thought there was money to be made. Skip the 2-hour version, and dive in to another world, another time.

The full-length version of the miniseries is now available on DVD, and it's the best way to see it. There's a first-rate adaptation of Clavell's novel, crisp direction and sterling performances by Richard Chamberlain, Yoko Shimada and Toshiro Mifune. Outstanding support by John Rhys Davies, Damien Thomas and Alan Badel, as well as a host of Japanese actors keeps the atmosphere rich and the action strong. The adventures of an English Pilot (Chief navigator) in 1600 in Japan - the height of the samurai power - are riveting. Blackthorne (Chamberlain) lands in the midst of the mighty struggle for Shogun: military dictator of the country that's had 600 years of civil war. Unlike many another action tale, an educated woman has a pivotal role.

Or read the book. In the words of one reviewer, "It simply will not let the reader go."

3 of 5 people found this review helpful.  Was this review helpful to you?

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DVD! Phil_H
This is the 2 hour, not 9 hour version! teegz
miniseries length seaotter12398
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