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Samurai I: Musashi Miyamoto (1954)

Miyamoto Musashi (original title)
2:51 | Trailer
Depicts the early life of the legendary warrior Musashi Miyamoto; his years as an aspiring warrior, an outlaw and finally a true samurai.


Hiroshi Inagaki
1 win & 1 nomination. See more awards »



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The fifth and final installment with the build up of the epic battle between Sasaki Kojiro and Miyamoto Musashi. With all the familiar characters making appearances: Otsu (Musashi's great ... See full summary »

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Cast overview, first billed only:
Toshirô Mifune ... Musashi Miyamoto (Takezo)
Rentarô Mikuni Rentarô Mikuni ... Honiden Matahachi
Kurôemon Onoe Kurôemon Onoe ... Takuan Osho
Kaoru Yachigusa ... Otsu
Mariko Okada Mariko Okada ... Akemi
Mitsuko Mito ... Oko, Matahachi's wife
Eiko Miyoshi ... Osugi, Matahachi's mother
Akihiko Hirata ... Seijuro Yoshioka
Kusuo Abe Kusuo Abe ... Temma Tsujikaze
Eitarô Ozawa ... Terumasa Ikeda (as Sakae Ozawa)
Akira Tani Akira Tani ... Kawarano-Gonroku
Seijirô Onda Seijirô Onda ... Chief Official
Fumindo Matsuo Fumindo Matsuo ... Petty Official
Masanobu Ôkubo Masanobu Ôkubo ... Petty Official
Takuzô Kumagai Takuzô Kumagai ... Villager


Depicts the early life of the legendary warrior Musashi Miyamoto; his years as an aspiring warrior, an outlaw and finally a true samurai.

Plot Summary | Plot Synopsis


Not Rated | See all certifications »

Parents Guide:

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Release Date:

18 November 1955 (USA) See more »

Also Known As:

Musashi Miyamoto See more »

Company Credits

Production Co:

Toho Company See more »
Show more on IMDbPro »

Technical Specs


Sound Mix:



Color (Eastmancolor)

Aspect Ratio:

1.33 : 1
See full technical specs »

Did You Know?


This film is part of the Criterion Collection, spine #14. See more »


[Takuan leads Takezo to a stairway in Himeji castle leading to an attic, where Otsu is supposedly waiting. Takezo gives Takuan a look of verification, and sees Takuan's encouraging expression. Takezo rushes up to the attic to look for Otsu, but she's not there. Takuan shuts the door to the attic. Takezo rushes to the door and pounds on it]
Musashi Miyamoto (Takezo): Takuan! Priest Takuan!
Takuan Osho: She is safely sheltered near Hanada bridge.
Musashi Miyamoto (Takezo): Damn you! You dirty lying rogue!
See more »


Followed by Samurai III: Duel at Ganryu Island (1956) See more »

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User Reviews

A Nutshell Review: Miyamoto Musashi
11 July 2009 | by DICK STEELSee all my reviews

I've finally gotten down to the first in the trilogy of films based on a story that has been touted as the Japanese's equivalent of Gone with the Wind. The Samurai Trilogy, directed by Hiroshi Inagaki, is based on the novel by Eiji Yoshikawa, which tells of the story of the famous samurai Miyamoto Musashi, and an intriguing character who has authored The Book of Five Rings.

What more, the titular character is played by the legendary Toshiro Mifune, and that itself is a major treat and a draw for more contemporary audiences. Sadly to say, as with most first films in a series, this one sets out to establish the baseline character of Mushashi, or Takezo as he's better known in his early days, an orphan brought up by relatives and who possesses great strength, but is brash and ill-disciplined. Together with his best friend Honiden Matahachi (Rentaro Mikuni), who had to leave behind his fiancé Otsu (Kaoru Yachigusa), they sign up for war in the hopes of being samurai warriors at the end of battle, only to discover they're fighting on the losing end, and become fugitives.

What transpires later involves their flight from the dark, a couple of seduction scenes by a mother-daughter pair of grave-diggers whose fancies for Takezo gets turned toward Honiden, therein splitting the two best friends up, and Takezo being persecuted by his village folk for deserting his best friend since he returned to the village as the sole survivor. But the shrewd monk Takuan (Kuroemon Onoe) sees a diamond in the rough in Takezo, and therefore sets him up to fall under his tutelage, while at the same time Takezo has to decide for himself how to deal with some new found love in Otsu.

There's romance, there's battle scenes, there's the obligatory hero who's still unsure of his destiny. By the time the film ends, it leaves you with a lot of subplots still hanging in the air, but I'm crossing my fingers that all these will be addressed in the next two installments.

It's a mid 50s film, so fight scenes aren't that polished to perfection. Instead we see Takezo's rather rough and unfanciful swordplay, in part being the gruff character that he is, knowing no finesse in the art of a duel, and also being a foil for realism, where enemies get cut down ruthlessly without wasting time. Technically one should pass over some of the shortcomings such as abrupt camera angle changes, cuts and edits, and it's indeed a pity that the film is not presented in a widescreen format, which would have been quite a spectacle given the vast landscapes that the film was shot in.

Perhaps another indication of how dated this period drama is, is in the treatment of the women characters. I guess given socio-unequalness then, the women folk are seen to be terribly in need of a manly figure to be head of their household, and more than willing to be submissive, and obedient, just so to be at the side of their men. It's a far cry from today's world really, where women are far from the weaker sex they are portrayed in the film. Sure a key female character here is as conniving can be, and future installments (I've taken a look at the cast list) seem to demonstrate that there's still more to it all than meets the eye.

In short, Samurai I has set the stage, transforming Takezo from nobody, to a ready warrior yet to be tested in the real world. As he sets out for some reality based education, it would prove all the more interesting as he is likely to chance upon old friends and foes, and this time, being skilled and more refined in his ways, would prove to be engaging material for the subsequent films to deal with. Already those two film titles have "Duels" in them, so they should fill for a climatic finale battle each, given the obvious lack of a crescendo this one turned out to be.

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