7.5/10
230
2 user 5 critic

The Last Samurai (1974)

Okami yo rakujitsu o kire (original title)
Toranosuke Sugi, a brave and loyal Samurai, fights to practice and preserve his master's teachings amid a civil war. With friends on both side will he cave to temptation, or stand on principle and for freedom?

Director:

Reviews
Learn more

People who liked this also liked... 

Action | Adventure | Drama
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 4.8/10 X  

The quest for spiritual fulfilment be a Japanese businessman who comes to Africa following the trail of his samurai ancestor. Despite the title this is not a martial arts film.

Directors: P. Manneberg, Paul Mayersberg
Stars: John Fujioka, Lance Henriksen, Arabella Holzbog
Kiru (1962)
Action | Drama
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.4/10 X  

A samurai seeks revenge and redemption after his family is executed by a rival clan.

Director: Kenji Misumi
Stars: Raizô Ichikawa, Shiho Fujimura, Mayumi Nagisa
Ken ki (1965)
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.2/10 X  

Hanpei is an orphan mistreated by other vassals of the manor. He loves flowers and is named the castle gardener. One day in the forest he meets a samurai who teaches him his technique. To ... See full summary »

Director: Kenji Misumi
Stars: Raizô Ichikawa, Michiko Sugata, Kei Satô
The Betrayal (1966)
Action | Drama
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.1/10 X  

A naively honorable samurai comes to the bitter realization that his devotion to moral samurai principles makes him an oddity among his peers and a very vulnerable oddity in consequence.

Director: Tokuzô Tanaka
Stars: Raizô Ichikawa, Kaoru Yachigusa, Shiho Fujimura
Action | Adventure | Drama
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.3/10 X  

Following the death of the second Tokugawa shogun, it is revealed that he was poisoned by retainers of his son Iemitsu in hopes of gaining him the shogunate despite the stammer and ... See full summary »

Director: Kinji Fukasaku
Stars: Kinnosuke Nakamura, Shin'ichi Chiba, Hiroki Matsukata
Action | Adventure | Drama
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.6/10 X  

February 17 to March 3, 1860, inside Edo castle. A group of assassins wait by Sakurada Gate to kill the lord of the House of Ii, a powerful man in the Tokugawa government, which has ruled ... See full summary »

Director: Kihachi Okamoto
Stars: Toshirô Mifune, Keiju Kobayashi, Michiyo Aratama
Hitokiri (1969)
Action | Drama | History
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.7/10 X  

A destitute ronin allies himself with an established clan, but its ruthless leader tries to turn him into a mindless killer.

Director: Hideo Gosha
Stars: Shintarô Katsu, Tatsuya Nakadai, Yukio Mishima
Action | Drama
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.7/10 X  

After killing a counselor of his clan, a fugitive samurai befriends a couple poaching the shogun's gold in the mountains.

Director: Hideo Gosha
Stars: Mikijirô Hira, Gô Katô, Shima Iwashita
Assassination (1964)
Action | Drama
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.3/10 X  

Acclaimed Chambara, Japanese Nouvelle Vague. In 1863, when Americans warships approach Japan, a enigmatic ronin becames a important figure in a complex game of power between the xogunat and the imperium.

Director: Masahiro Shinoda
Stars: Tetsurô Tanba, Shima Iwashita, Eiji Okada
Drama | Romance | War
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.5/10 X  

A group of German infantrymen of the First World War live out their lives in the trenches of France. They find brief entertainment and relief in a village behind the lines, but primarily ... See full summary »

Director: Georg Wilhelm Pabst
Stars: Fritz Kampers, Gustav Diessl, Hans-Joachim Möbis
Action
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 6.8/10 X  

Hanzo Itami is an incorruptible Edo officer who learns that an infamous killer has fled from his island prison. Hanzo begins tracking him down using his unorthodox interrogation techniques.

Director: Kenji Misumi
Stars: Shintarô Katsu, Yukiji Asaoka, Mari Atsumi
Certificate: Passed Thriller | Film-Noir | Drama
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.5/10 X  

An embittered, vengeful POW stalks his former commanding officer who betrayed his men's planned escape attempt from a Nazi prison camp.

Director: Fred Zinnemann
Stars: Van Heflin, Robert Ryan, Janet Leigh
Edit

Cast

Credited cast:
Hideki Takahashi ...
Sugi Toranosuke
Ken Ogata ...
Nakamura Hanjiro
Masaomi Kondô ...
Iba Hachiro
Teruhiko Saigô ...
Rest of cast listed alphabetically:
Tôru Abe
Ayako Honami ...
Tsuya
Kenji Imai
Keiko Matsuzaka ...
Reiko
Ryunosuke Minegishi ...
Aizawa Denshichiro
Asao Sano ...
Yamaguchi Kingoro
Kiwako Taichi ...
Ohide
...
Ikemoto Mohei
Ryutaro Tatsumi ...
Edit

Storyline

Toranosuke Sugi, a brave and loyal Samurai, fights to practice and preserve his master's teachings amid a civil war. With friends on both side will he cave to temptation, or stand on principle and for freedom?

Plot Summary | Add Synopsis

Genres:

Action | Drama

Edit

Details

Country:

Language:

Release Date:

16 June 1977 (USA)  »

Also Known As:

The Last Samurai  »

Company Credits

Production Co:

 »
Show detailed on  »

Technical Specs

Runtime:

Sound Mix:

Color:

Aspect Ratio:

2.35 : 1
See  »
Edit

Did You Know?

Trivia

This was the final feature film for director Kenji Misumi. It was also the only feature film that he wrote. He died the following year at the age of 54. See more »

Quotes

Ikemoto Mohei: Open your eyes to know who you are, and to know your adversary. The sword is not used to kill, but to achieve fulfillment from oneself and from one's opponent.
See more »

Frequently Asked Questions

This FAQ is empty. Add the first question.

User Reviews

 
Moving Japanese drama about a turbulent period of history
15 October 2013 | by (Bronx, NY) – See all my reviews

THE LAST SAMURAI (1974) is an epic drama about the modernization of Japan in the years 1863-1877 and is not to be confused with the Hollywood film of that title starring Tom Cruise and released in 2003, even if the time periods covered overlap a bit. This film, directed by Kenji Misumi, is not so much about the physical or cosmetic changes in the country during that period, as the westernization process began in earnest, but about the changes in the hearts and minds of the people as embodied in one man, Toranosuke Sugi (Hideki Takahashi). Raised by a pro-Shogun swordsman, Toranosuke is encouraged to go to Edo (Tokyo) and adapt to the new age, even if it means going against the Shogun. Toranosuke winds up as a witness on the margins of a whole series of important events of a period marked by civil war and social upheaval, and has friends on all sides of the conflict. He manages to rise above it all, but does not come out unscathed by it. The film itself doesn't condemn any of the participants, aside from those who behave the most cowardly and viciously, it simply sees the changes wrought upon Japan during that period as inevitable and the destinies of its characters irrevocable. It mourns the casualties but doesn't suggest they could have done anything differently. Only Toranosuke, who took his teacher's words to heart, is able to personify the new spirit of Japan.

It's a long film, 158 minutes, and it tells its story in an episodic format, divided into two parts. There are ellipses in the narrative and an abundance of characters whom the audience is assumed to be familiar with, including Saigo Takamori, a key figure in the Meiji Restoration. Japanese audiences won't need a primer beforehand, but American audiences might. It will help to have seen other films on the subject beforehand, including films on the Shinsengumi, the infamous band of pro-Shogun fighting men aligned against the Imperial forces, featured most notably in two films that have come out on DVD in recent years: THE SHINSENGUMI CHRONICLES:I WANT TO DIE A SAMURAI (1963) and SHINSENGUMI: ASSASSINS OF HONOR (1970), which I've also reviewed on IMDb. There is a large cast of characters, including four major male characters and three female characters. The female characters are generally assertive and straightforward about what they want and don't sit at home waiting patiently for their men to come back. One of them even becomes a nun for a while, but that doesn't stop her from having an active love life.

This was the last film directed by Misumi, who is better known for his Zatoichi and Lone Wolf and Cub movies and also directed THE SHINSENGUMI CHRONICLES. This one just might be his best. He adopts a restrained, classical approach to his storytelling here, and, except for one spectacular revenge scene with a fitting gruesome end for its target, goes easy on the blood and gore. THE LAST SAMURAI tells the story of the rebirth of a nation, as experienced on the ground by the common people, and is masterfully told and beautifully presented.


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

Message Boards

Discuss The Last Samurai (1974) on the IMDb message boards »

Contribute to This Page

Create a character page for:
?