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Rashômon (1950)

Not Rated | | Crime, Drama, Mystery | 26 December 1951 (USA)
A heinous crime and its aftermath are recalled from differing points of view.

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(stories), (screenplay) | 1 more credit »
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Top Rated Movies #111 | Nominated for 1 Oscar. Another 9 wins & 4 nominations. See more awards »

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Cast

Complete credited cast:
... Tajômaru
... Masako Kanazawa
... Takehiro Kanazawa
... Woodcutter
... Priest
Kichijirô Ueda ... Commoner
Noriko Honma ... Medium
Daisuke Katô ... Policeman
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Storyline

A priest, a woodcutter and another man are taking refuge from a rainstorm in the shell of a former gatehouse called Rashômon. The priest and the woodcutter are recounting the story of a murdered samurai whose body the woodcutter discovered three days earlier in a forest grove. Both were summoned to testify at the murder trial, the priest who ran into the samurai and his wife traveling through the forest just before the murder occurred. Three other people who testified at the trial are supposedly the only direct witnesses: a notorious bandit named Tajômaru, who allegedly murdered the samurai and raped his wife; the white veil cloaked wife of the samurai; and the samurai himself who testifies through the use of a medium. The three tell a similarly structured story - that Tajômaru kidnapped and bound the samurai so that he could rape the wife - but which ultimately contradict each other, the motivations and the actual killing being what differ. The woodcutter reveals at Rashômon that he ... Written by Huggo

Plot Summary | Plot Synopsis

Taglines:

The husband, the wife...or the bandit? See more »

Genres:

Crime | Drama | Mystery

Certificate:

Not Rated | See all certifications »

Parents Guide:

 »
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Details

Country:

Language:

Release Date:

26 December 1951 (USA)  »

Also Known As:

Rashomon  »

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Box Office

Budget:

$250,000 (estimated)
See more on IMDbPro »

Company Credits

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Technical Specs

Runtime:

Sound Mix:

(Western Electric Recording)

Aspect Ratio:

1.37 : 1
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Did You Know?

Trivia

A very early use of the "hand held" camera technique. This is seen when the camera follows the characters closely through the woods. See more »

Quotes

Tajômaru: I saw the couple three days ago. It was a hot afternoon. Suddenly a cool breeze rustle the leaves. If it hadn't been for that wind, I wouldn't have killed him.
See more »

Connections

Referenced in The Sopranos: The Legend of Tennessee Moltisanti (1999) See more »

Soundtracks

Bolero
Written by Maurice Ravel CORRECTION: The woman's tale is accompanied by music in the style of the Bolero, using the same background rhythm, and similar orchestration and build-up, but different melodic lines.
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Frequently Asked Questions

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User Reviews

 
Art!
15 December 2007 | by See all my reviews

This was Kurosawa's first big international hit, from then on his films would be avidly watched and (usually) feted as Art. His style was always so breathtakingly simple that you can't help but get sucked into the rainy and sunny bestial world depicted in here, with a beautiful use of the black and white nitrate film stock contrasting against a sordid storyline. I've probably seen it 10 times now over the decades and it seems to get better every time I settle down to it - it's been a continual treat.

A horror story from a few days previous is recounted on a ferociously wet day: beautiful woman is (apparently) raped by animalistic bandit in front of her husband who is then (apparently) murdered. But who really did what to who and why? It's told from four viewpoints: the bandit's, the honourable woman's, the heroic dead husband's via a rather startling medium and lastly a breathless version from a timid eye-witness. The event becomes a crime scene with the beauty of forest surrounding us and splintered sunlight beaming down on us through the trees bearing mute witness to the savage few moments. It's a salutary lesson in Human Beings vs Objectivity; the psychologies of the main protagonists are laid bare, as well as the story-tellers, even to Kurosawa and the viewers themselves. Who's telling the truth/ was it a mixture of all versions/ was there another truth untold? Only you can decide!

I urge all innocent bystanders who have a problem with b&w non-HD 4:3 subtitled Japanese films from 1950 to try to get over it! Because it's a riveting journey, expertly handled by probably the best film director who's ever lived, all subjective of course.


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