18 user 25 critic

Legend of Eight Samurai (1983)

Satomi hakken-den (original title)
Princess Shizu's family is wiped out by an family of undead seeking revenge. The eight samurai can save her, but who and where are they?



On Disc

at Amazon

4 nominations. See more awards »


Learn more

People who liked this also liked... 

Action | Adventure | Crime
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 6.8/10 X  

Set in a fictional Japanese city in 1949, a master criminal hones in on his latest victim.

Director: Shimako Sato
Stars: Takeshi Kaneshiro, Takako Matsu, Tôru Nakamura
Action | Sci-Fi
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 5.8/10 X  

In the near future, Japan is ruled once more by a monarchy. But, rebels opposed to this rule seek to overthrow the government. The House of Takemikazuchi, a band of assassins is hired by ... See full summary »

Director: Shinsuke Sato
Stars: Yumiko Shaku, Hideaki Itô, Yôichi Numata
Action | Drama
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.3/10 X  

Ishikawa Goemon (Ichikawa Raizo), a talented young ninja, becomes ensnared in a twisted scheme to assassinate Oda Nobunaga, an evil warlord bent on ruling feudal Japan with an iron fist. ... See full summary »

Director: Satsuo Yamamoto
Stars: Raizô Ichikawa, Shiho Fujimura, Yûnosuke Itô
Action | Adventure | Drama
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7/10 X  

In 1937, Japan began their invasion of China by murdering over 300,000 people in the capital of Nanjing. The atrocities committed against women and their daughters are especially barbaric. ... See full summary »

Director: Peng Zhang Li
Stars: Sang Hu, Peng Zhang Li, Jeremy Marr Williams
Action | Drama
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 5.1/10 X  

This story is set during the Edo ages in Japan. On a rainy night, Kotono confronts the samurais who have killed her father. The samurai attack her one by one, but she manages to withstand ... See full summary »

Director: Gô Ohara
Stars: Minami Tsukui, Shigeru Kanai, Nao Nagasawa
Azumi (2003)
Action | Adventure | Drama
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 6.9/10 X  

Raised to deal in cold blooded death, the teenage assassin girl Azumi must defeat three evil warlords while also battling her own heart.

Director: Ryûhei Kitamura
Stars: Aya Ueto, Kenji Kohashi, Hiroki Narimiya
Death Trance (2005)
Action | Adventure | Fantasy
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 5.9/10 X  

An unknown time. An unknown place. Without reasons. With no future. His only desire is... Destruction! Death Trance combines the themes of good versus evil, and the awakening of an unlikely... See full summary »

Directors: Yûji Shimomura, Alexander Von David
Stars: Tak Sakaguchi, Takamasa Suga, Kentaro Seagal
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 5.4/10 X  

Rina Takeda plays the role of a female ninja named Kisaragi who attempts to rescue a group of women being held captive to become toys for men. The film is set sometime in the Sengoku period... See full summary »

Director: Seiji Chiba
Stars: Rina Takeda, Mitsuki Koga, Masanori Mimoto
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 6.3/10 X  

Young assassins Azumi and Nagara continue their mission to prevent a civil war. In their hunt for Masayuki Sanada, who is protected by both an army and a dangerous clan, they meet Ginkaku, ... See full summary »

Director: Shûsuke Kaneko
Stars: Aya Ueto, Yûma Ishigaki, Chiaki Kuriyama
Goemon (2009)
Action | Drama
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 6.7/10 X  

Based on a Japanese folk legend that echoes the tale of Robin Hood, this ninja thriller follows the exploits of Goemon Ishikawa (Yôsuke Eguchi), who leaves his fighting clan after its chief... See full summary »

Director: Kazuaki Kiriya
Stars: Yôsuke Eguchi, Takao Ohsawa, Ryôko Hirosue
Ichi (2008)
Action | Crime | Drama
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 6.6/10 X  

Ichi is a blind woman who roams about town with her shamisen (a three-stringed Japanese guitar), but she has exceptional sword skills with which she fights off yakuza and other villains.

Director: Fumihiko Sori
Stars: Haruka Ayase, Shidô Nakamura, Yôsuke Kubozuka
Danger Dolls (2014)
Action | Sci-Fi
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 5.8/10 X  

After discovering a portal that allows travel between parallel universes, four highly skilled female assassins from one universe must impersonate a female pop idol group in an other ... See full summary »

Director: Shûsuke Kaneko
Stars: Rumi Hanai, Noboru Kaneko, Kayano Masuyama


Credited cast:
Hiroko Yakushimaru ...
Inuyama Dosetsu Tadatomo (as Sonny Chiba)
Etsuko Shihomi ...
Yûki Meguro ...
Mari Natsuki ...
Nana Okada ...
Masaki Kyômoto ...
Kenji Ohba ...
Nagare Hagiwara ...
Rest of cast listed alphabetically:
Tatsuo Endô ...
Takuya Fukuhara ...
Akira Hamada ...
Shunsuke Kariya ...


Eight mysterious crystals from the body of a long-dead princess now identify the eight samurai who are destined to help a beautiful young princess overcome a curse on her family. They go against an evil queen who bathes in blood to retain her youthfulness. The queen and her son live in a castle protected by many monsters and goblins and assorted apparitions, including giant flying snakes. Many swords, lots of sorcery and plenty of blood. Written by Les Adams <longhorn1939@suddenlink.net>

Plot Summary | Add Synopsis


A princess and her band of eight samurai, battle against a powerful witch and her army of warrior ghosts.


See all certifications »

Parents Guide:





Release Date:

10 December 1983 (Japan)  »

Also Known As:

Legend of the Eight Samurai  »

Company Credits

Show detailed on  »

Technical Specs

Sound Mix:


Aspect Ratio:

2.35 : 1
See  »

Did You Know?


When Shinbei goes "evil" and attacks the princess and her friends when he jumps off the back of the horse you can see the black wire that's attach to his back that's keeping him off the ground. Futhurmore if you check out the top corner of the screen you can see the winch that the other end of the wire is connected to swinging around. See more »


Referenced in Ninja Scroll (1993) See more »


Hakken-shi no Têma (White Light)
Written by Joey Carbone, Richie Zito, David Palmer
Performed by John O'Banion
See more »

Frequently Asked Questions

This FAQ is empty. Add the first question.

User Reviews

LEGEND OF THE EIGHT SAMURAI - classic tale retold in jazzed-up version
3 February 2002 | by (Bronx, NY) – See all my reviews

LEGEND OF THE EIGHT SAMURAI (1983) is a live-action Japanese costume fantasy retelling the oft-told tale of eight warriors identified by their receipt of magic crystal balls sent by a long-dead princess to insure protection of her descendants. Here, the eight warriors who receive the crystal balls come together to protect the fugitive Princess Shizu of the Satomi Clan, which has been all but wiped out by the supernatural descendants of the Hikita Clan. The action is larded with fantasy elements, including a couple of monsters (a giant centipede and giant snake) and the long-lived evil matriarch Tamazusa (Mari Natsuki) who stays alive a hundred years after her 'death' at the hands of the Satomi Clan by taking special baths in blood.

Despite the title, there's no mention of samurai in the film's English-dubbed dialogue. The characters refer to each other as ninjas, even though few ninja costumes or accessories are visible. It's an unwieldy film with over a dozen major characters, none of whom take center stage until well past the film's half-way mark. The main focus of the plot is the gathering of the eight warriors as they meet and realize their destiny to protect the princess and attack Tamazusa's castle to destroy the Eternal Spirit who keeps alive the evil remnants of the Hikita Clan. Too much of the film is spent on gathering the eight, a task which is not completed until 100 minutes into the 133-minute film. When things finally get going here, the main characters turn out to be Princess Shizu (Hiroko Yakushimaru) and the reckless young Shinbei (Hiroyuki Sanada) who kidnaps Shizu at one point and travels quite a distance with her before they're reunited with the others. Both are too callow and unformed to be of much interest, while the more exciting characters, such as the loyal retainer Dosetsu (Sonny Chiba) and the female fighter Kano (Sue Shiomi), get far less screen time.

The climactic battle at Castle Tamazusa is rousing and full of action, but it proves too little too late to compensate for the two hours it took to get there. The earlier action scenes are all too short and choppy to generate much excitement. To make matters worse, the English dubbing is particularly horrendous and the tacked-on music score is all synthesizer-created with three incongruous American pop songs (sung by John O'Banion) thrown onto the soundtrack with utter disregard for the historical and cultural tone of the film.

The film is especially disappointing because it was directed by Kinji Fukasaku, a highly regarded director known for Yakuza (gangster) films and the recent box office hit BATTLE ROYALE (2000). His earlier space opera, MESSAGE FROM SPACE (1978), was a variation of the same story told in LEGEND OF THE EIGHT SAMURAI and featured some of the same cast members, Hiroyuki Sanada, Sonny Chiba and Sue Shiomi (who played the princess in that one). Fukasaku also gave us the U.S.-Japanese co-production, THE GREEN SLIME (1968).

On the plus side, LEGEND OF THE EIGHT SAMURAI is quite colorful and beautifully appointed and the special effects are, for the most part, pretty impressive. (The giant centipede, flung about on wires, is the notable exception.) But the film lacks the formal beauty of traditional Japanese samurai films and seems pumped up in style, with the youthful romance played up, in order to suit the 1980s youth audience. For U.S. fans, the botched English soundtrack and over-length are quite fatal, along with the absence of any exceptional action scenes until the very end. The story comes from the 19th century Japanese novel 'Nanso Satomi Hakkenden,' by Bakin Takizawa, which was also the basis for the breathtaking 13-part animated series, THE HAKKENDEN (1990). Elements of the story also turn up in the original 'Dragon Ball' animated TV series.

9 of 11 people found this review helpful.  Was this review helpful to you?

Message Boards

Recent Posts
Trailer was posted on Toutube mei_ling0215
Does anyone know what the eight crystals say?? melmorete
Question??? IfxAznPrincess18
Other movies like this? ThisbeDave-1
Cheesy John O'Banion Song rurubell_chan23
Discuss Legend of Eight Samurai (1983) on the IMDb message boards »

Contribute to This Page

Create a character page for: