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Castle of Owls (1963)

Ninja hicho fukuro no shiro (original title)
| Drama
This is a classic early Japanese Ninja movie. The Iga ninjas are a dying breed as Toyotomis rule allows Japan to experience some peace... See full synopsis »

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Cast

Credited cast:
Ryûtarô Ôtomo ...
Juzo
Minoru Ôki ...
Gohei
Hizuru Takachiho ...
Kohagi
Chiyoko Honma ...
Kizaru
Chôichirô Kawarasaki ...
Kumotaro
Rest of cast listed alphabetically:
Kensaku Hara
Akitake Kôno
Masao Mishima
Sayuri Tachikawa
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This is a classic early Japanese Ninja movie. The Iga ninjas are a dying breed as Toyotomis rule allows Japan to experience some peace... See full synopsis »

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Castle of Owls  »

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Quintessential Ninja Movie Masterpiece
30 December 2011 | by (United States) – See all my reviews

Based on a novel by Ryotaro Shiba, Castle of Owls is a story about Iga ninja Shigezo (Ryutaro Otomo) who had desire to avenge what lord Nobunaga did to the Iga clan, but lost his opportunity due to death of Nobunaga. But he finds new direction when his master Naejirozaemon (Kensaku Hara) asks him to assassinate Nobunaga's protégé, and current ruler of Japan Hideyoshi (Masao Oda).

Shigezo decides to perform his last mission, and heads out to Sakai (Osaka) where Hideyoshi resides. On his way to Sakai, he meets Kohagi (Hizuru Takachiho) who's ninja and falls in love. But Kohagi was a spy who was ordered to spy on Shigezo's moves. But Kohagi has a change of heart as she falls in love with Shigezo in earnest. Shigezo succeeds in sneaking into Hideyoshi's castle, but seeing how old and frail Hideyoshi is, he decides to spare his life, and at the same time sees how pitiful his own life has been. He escapes the castle, and asks Kohagi to marry him. They head out to the village where he has his small villa, and shows the villa to Kohagi. Kohagi says this is the most beautiful castle she's ever seen, as they make their way to their new and happy life.

This is one of the few ninja movies where the protagonist under dog makes it out with his life, and not only that, ends up with a happy life ever after. Such positive ending is rarely seen on a ninja themed movies even from Japan. The story is relatively simple, but the movie is entertaining. Even half a century after it's made, this is one of the best ninja movie ever to be produced.


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