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The Blind Swordsman: Zatoichi (2003)

Zatôichi (original title)
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)

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21 wins & 10 nominations. See more awards »



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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 intlpress@aol.com

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
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Did You Know?


The blood in the film has been described by many as being "too CGI". Kitano did this intentionally, wanting to "soften the shock to the audience" due to the high body count. Kitano told the CGI artist he wanted the blood to "look like flowers blossoming across the screen." See more »


Shinkichi: I'll have a bath.
Geisha Seitaro 'Osei' Naruto: Me, too.
Shinkichi: No! Men first!
Geisha Seitaro 'Osei' Naruto: I am a man!
See more »


Referenced in Team Fortress 2 (2007) See more »

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User Reviews

A magnificent film
10 May 2010 | by (Canada) – See all my reviews

What more is there to say? Zatoichi is a class act, all the way. Time and time again Takeshi Kitano proves himself an honorable, direct, and honest filmmaker. There is no whiff of pretense, nonsense, or any other kind of malodorous sense emanating from this film. All is well when you enter into one of Beat Takeshi's film worlds. It puts all of Western cinema to deep shame, for its trite, condescending, and totally vapid worldviews. That Beat Takeshi is so well-regarded in France and Italy speaks well of cultural refinement of these nations. And to find so few reviews of Takeshi's work in the Western media exposures a gaping void in everybody's understanding of the Eastern hemisphere. The sensible, sane, and helpful ideals of Confucianism permeate this film to its very core. Overall, Zatoichi is essential viewing for anyone who would like to consider themselves even remotely human.

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