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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.

Director:

Akira Kurosawa

Writers:

Ryûnosuke Akutagawa (stories), Akira Kurosawa (screenplay) | 1 more credit »
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Top Rated Movies #112 | Nominated for 1 Oscar. Another 9 wins & 4 nominations. See more awards »

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Cast

Complete credited cast:
Toshirô Mifune ... Tajômaru
Machiko Kyô ... Masako Kanazawa
Masayuki Mori ... Takehiro Kanazawa
Takashi Shimura ... Woodcutter
Minoru Chiaki ... Priest
Kichijirô Ueda Kichijirô Ueda ... Commoner
Noriko Honma Noriko Honma ... Medium
Daisuke Katô 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:

View content advisory »
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Details

Country:

Japan

Language:

Japanese

Release Date:

26 December 1951 (USA) See more »

Also Known As:

Rashomon See more »

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Box Office

Budget:

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

Company Credits

Show more on IMDbPro »

Technical Specs

Runtime:

Sound Mix:

Mono (Western Electric Recording)

Aspect Ratio:

1.37 : 1
See full technical specs »
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Did You Know?

Trivia

Often credited as the reason the Academy created the "Best Foreign Film" category. See more »

Quotes

Commoner: Well, men are only men. That's why they lie. They can't tell the truth, even to themselves.
Priest: That may be true. Because men are weak, they lie to deceive themselves.
Commoner: Not another sermon! I don't mind a lie if it's interesting.
See more »

Connections

Remade as Rashomon (1961) See more »

Soundtracks

Woman's Tale Theme (Bolero)
Written by Fumio Hayasaka inspired by Maurice Ravel's "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 SpondonmanSee 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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