The Blind Swordsman: Zatoichi (2003)
"Zatôichi" (original title)

R  |   |  Action, Comedy, Crime  |  6 September 2003 (Japan)
Your rating:
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 -/10 X  
Ratings: 7.6/10 from 38,991 users   Metascore: 75/100
Reviews: 187 user | 184 critic | 33 from

The blind masseur/swordsman comes to a town in control of warring gangs, and while bunking with a farming family, he meets two women with their own agenda.



(screenplay), (novels)
0Check in

Watch Now

Free at IMDb

21 wins & 10 nominations. See more awards »



Learn more

People who liked this also liked... 

Brother I (2000)
Crime | Drama | Thriller
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.2/10 X  

A Japanese gangster is exiled to Los Angeles where his brother lives with a small but respectable multi-racial gang, who he inspires to expand their influence.

Director: Takeshi Kitano
Stars: Takeshi Kitano, Claude Maki, Omar Epps
Fireworks (1997)
Crime | Drama | Romance
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.9/10 X  

Nishi leaves the police in the face of harrowing personal and professional difficulties. Spiraling into depression, he makes questionable decisions.

Director: Takeshi Kitano
Stars: Takeshi Kitano, Kayoko Kishimoto, Ren Ôsugi
Kikujiro (1999)
Drama | Comedy
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.9/10 X  

A young, naive boy sets out alone on the road to find his wayward mother. Soon he finds an unlikely protector in a crotchety man and the two have a series of unexpected adventures along the way.

Director: Takeshi Kitano
Stars: Takeshi Kitano, Yusuke Sekiguchi, Kayoko Kishimoto
Sonatine (1993)
Action | Comedy | Crime
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.6/10 X  

Several yakuza from Tokyo are sent to Okinawa to help end a gang war. The war escalates and the Tokyo drifters decide to lay low at the beach.

Director: Takeshi Kitano
Stars: Takeshi Kitano, Aya Kokumai, Tetsu Watanabe
Outrage (2010)
Crime | Drama
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 6.8/10 X  

The boss of a major crime syndicate orders his lieutenant to bring a rogue gang of drug traffickers in line, a job that gets passed on to his long-suffering subordinate.

Director: Takeshi Kitano
Stars: Takeshi Kitano, Kippei Shîna, Ryô Kase
Violent Cop (1989)
Action | Crime | Drama
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.2/10 X  

A violence prone police officer discovers that his colleague is trafficking drugs.

Director: Takeshi Kitano
Stars: Takeshi Kitano, Maiko Kawakami, Makoto Ashikawa
Action | Crime | Drama
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 6.7/10 X  

As the police launch a full-scale crackdown on organized crime, it ignites a national yakuza struggle between the Sanno of the East and Hanabishi of the West.

Director: Takeshi Kitano
Stars: Toshiyuki Nishida, Tomokazu Miura, Takeshi Kitano
Dolls (2002)
Drama | Romance
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.7/10 X  

Three stories of never-ending love.

Director: Takeshi Kitano
Stars: Miho Kanno, Hidetoshi Nishijima, Tatsuya Mihashi
Boiling Point (1990)
Action | Comedy | Crime
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 6.8/10 X  

Two disquieted junior baseball players seek revenge on the local yakuza for attacking their coach.

Director: Takeshi Kitano
Stars: Takeshi Kitano, Yûrei Yanagi, Yuriko Ishida
Zatôichi (1989)
Action | Drama
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.4/10 X  

Nearing the village of his sensei, Zatoichi decides to pay the teacher a visit, only to learn that he has been murdered and his daughter forced into prostitution. Ichi's investigation into ... See full summary »

Director: Shintarô Katsu
Stars: Shintarô Katsu, Kanako Higuchi, Takanori Jinnai
Kids Return (1996)
Crime | Drama | Sport
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.6/10 X  

Dropping out of high school, two friends at first find success, one as a up-and-coming boxer and one as a low level gangster. Yet, their life decisions still find a way of catching up on them.

Director: Takeshi Kitano
Stars: Ken Kaneko, Masanobu Andô, Leo Morimoto
Takeshis' (2005)
Comedy | Drama | Fantasy
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 6.5/10 X  

Beat Takeshi, a prominent actor, meets a lookalike named Kitano, who is a struggling actor, but after the meeting, Kitano's dreams take a violent, surreal turn.

Director: Takeshi Kitano
Stars: Takeshi Kitano, Kotomi Kyôno, Kayoko Kishimoto


Cast overview, first billed only:
Zatôichi / Ichi (as Beat Takeshi)
Michiyo Ohkusu ...
Aunt Oume
Taka Guadalcanal ...
Daigorô Tachibana ...
Geisha Seitaro 'Osei' Naruto
Geisha Okinu Naruto
Yui Natsukawa ...
O-Shino, Hattori's Wife
Ittoku Kishibe ...
Boss Inosuke Ginzo
Saburô Ishikura ...
Boss Tashichi Ogi
Akira Emoto ...
Tavern Owner Pops
Ben Hiura ...
Tavern Gramps
Kohji Miura ...
Lord Sakai
Hideboh ...
Dancing Farmer (as The Stripes)
Ron II ...
Dancing Farmer (as The Stripes)
Suji ...
Dancing Farmer (as The Stripes)


Blind Zatoichi makes his living by gambling and giving massages. But behind his humble facade, Zatoichi is a master swordsman, gifted with lightning-fast draw and strokes of breathtaking precision. Zatoichi wanders into a town run by sinister gangs and a powerful samurai. He's destined for violent showdowns when he stumbles on two beautiful geishas avenging their parents' murder... Duels, wit and a touch of zen! Cult anti-hero Zatoichi is back in a sword-fighting adventure written, directed and starring Takeshi Kitano. Written by

Plot Summary | Add Synopsis


His Sword Made Him a Hero... His Courage Made Him a Legend. This Summer, Justice is Blind.

Motion Picture Rating (MPAA)

Rated R for strong stylized bloody violence | See all certifications »

Parents Guide:





Release Date:

6 September 2003 (Japan)  »

Also Known As:

The Blind Swordsman: Zatoichi  »

Box Office

Opening Weekend:

$816,174 (Japan) (12 September 2003)


$853,718 (USA) (24 September 2004)

Company Credits

Show detailed on  »

Technical Specs


Sound Mix:


Aspect Ratio:

1.85 : 1
See  »

Did You Know?


The dance sequence at the end of the film features all of the villagers, but not the villains. Zatôichi, however, is not there. Writer/director Takeshi Kitano's reason for not including Zatôichi into the sequence was because he felt that Zatôichi was more of a villain. See more »


Zatôichi: [Last lines: Zatoichi trips on a rock while walking down a road] Even with my eyes wide open, I can't see anything.
See more »


Referenced in Zombie Girl: The Movie (2009) See more »

Frequently Asked Questions

This FAQ is empty. Add the first question.

User Reviews

'Beat' Takeshi's sweeping interpretation of the Zatoichi saga...
17 May 2005 | by (Swindon, UK) – See all my reviews

Kitano's update on the legacy of one of Japan's most iconic cinematic figures is an exhilarating watch, the more tender moments conflicted by a barrage of bloody violence. Takeshi remains true to his source, undergoing the sedate transformation to play the blind swordsman and part time masseuse Zatoichi himself, as well as co-ordinating the action. His purists will no doubt abhor the witty sense of fun laid on thick in certain characters (a gambling sidekick and an insane neighbour) and the little nuances of irreverent genius (a drum dancing soundtrack and a ho-down finale orchestrated by Japanese dance troupe 'the Stripes'), but this isn't the Yakuza bloodletting of his earlier films, rather a more charming reflection on feudal life, with a distinct post-modern twist. Further confirmation of this is provided by Takeshi's story, which focuses more on the plight of two avenging Geishas (one male) hunting for the prestigious killers of their parents, rather than the motivation for our titular hero, yet Zatoichi does leap into action when he agrees to assist the siblings. Each frame is a Kurosawa-esquire masterstroke. This is Zatoichi for a new era, and with such a breathtaking start, it will be hard for Kitano not to return to his new-found alter ego any time soon.

15 of 21 people found this review helpful.  Was this review helpful to you?

Message Boards

Recent Posts
Naked Samurai? fightfan1
How would you kill Zatoichi? TheCrowFan84
Name top 5 samurai flicks you've seen LoneWolf6
wait.....what?! Cressida_du_Coudray
Showdown between Ronin + Zatoichi an anticlimax alex_barley
any else think it sucked? Cressida_du_Coudray
Discuss The Blind Swordsman: Zatoichi (2003) on the IMDb message boards »

Contribute to This Page

Create a character page for: