8.4/10
11,623
51 user 69 critic

Sansho the Bailiff (1954)

Sanshô dayû (original title)
Not Rated | | Drama | 1955 (USA)
In medieval Japan, a compassionate governor is sent into exile. His wife and children try to join him, but are separated, and the children grow up amid suffering and oppression.

Director:

Writers:

(short story "Sanshô dayû"), (screenplay) | 1 more credit »
Reviews

Watch Now

From $3.99 (HD) on Prime Video

ON DISC
1 win & 1 nomination. See more awards »

Photos

Learn more

People who liked this also liked... 

Ugetsu (1953)
Drama | Fantasy | War
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 8.2/10 X  

A tale of ambition, family, love, and war set in the midst of the Japanese Civil Wars of the sixteenth century.

Director: Kenji Mizoguchi
Stars: Masayuki Mori, Machiko Kyô, Kinuyo Tanaka
Drama
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 8.2/10 X  

Follows a woman's fight and survival amid the vicissitudes of life and the cruelty of the society.

Director: Kenji Mizoguchi
Stars: Kinuyo Tanaka, Tsukie Matsuura, Ichirô Sugai
Drama | History | Romance
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 8.1/10 X  

Ishun is a wealthy, but unsympathetic, master printer who has wrongly accused his wife and best employee of being lovers. To escape punishment, the accused run away together, but Ishun is certain to be ruined if word gets out.

Director: Kenji Mizoguchi
Stars: Kazuo Hasegawa, Kyôko Kagawa, Eitarô Shindô
Drama
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 8/10 X  

The personal tales of various prostitutes who occupy a Japanese brothel.

Director: Kenji Mizoguchi
Stars: Machiko Kyô, Aiko Mimasu, Ayako Wakao
Gion bayashi (1953)
Drama
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.7/10 X  

In the post-war, the sixteen year-old teenager Eiko seeks out the geisha Miyoharu in the district of Gion, in Kyoto asking her to be a "maiko" (apprentice of geisha). Eiko explains that her... See full summary »

Director: Kenji Mizoguchi
Stars: Michiyo Kogure, Ayako Wakao, Seizaburô Kawazu
Drama | Thriller
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 8.5/10 X  

An entomologist on vacation is trapped by local villagers into living with a woman whose life task is shoveling sand for them.

Director: Hiroshi Teshigahara
Stars: Eiji Okada, Kyôko Kishida, Hiroko Itô
Late Spring (1949)
Drama
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 8.3/10 X  

Noriko is twenty-seven years old and still living with her widowed father. Everybody tries to talk her into marrying, but Noriko wants to stay at home caring for her father.

Director: Yasujirô Ozu
Stars: Chishû Ryû, Setsuko Hara, Yumeji Tsukioka
Harakiri (1962)
Action | Drama | History
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 8.7/10 X  

An elder ronin samurai arrives at a feudal lord's home and requests an honorable place to commit suicide. But when the ronin inquires about a younger samurai who arrived before him things take an unexpected turn.

Director: Masaki Kobayashi
Stars: Tatsuya Nakadai, Akira Ishihama, Shima Iwashita
Drama
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 8.4/10 X  

The mother of a feudal lord's only heir is kidnapped away from her husband by the lord. The husband and his samurai father must decide whether to accept the unjust decision, or risk death to get her back.

Director: Masaki Kobayashi
Stars: Toshirô Mifune, Yôko Tsukasa, Gô Katô
Drama
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.7/10 X  

Two geisha sisters lead a hard life in the Gion district of Kyoto. After one of them feels obliged to support a bankrupt businessman, the other sister sets up various schemes to get rid of him.

Director: Kenji Mizoguchi
Stars: Isuzu Yamada, Yôko Umemura, Benkei Shiganoya
Yôkihi (1955)
Drama | History | Romance
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.4/10 X  

In eighth century China, the Emperor is grieving over the death of his wife. The Yang family wants to provide the Emperor with a consort so that they may consolidate their influence over ... See full summary »

Director: Kenji Mizoguchi
Stars: Machiko Kyô, Masayuki Mori, Sô Yamamura
High and Low (1963)
Crime | Drama | Mystery
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 8.4/10 X  

An executive of a shoe company becomes a victim of extortion when his chauffeur's son is kidnapped and held for ransom.

Director: Akira Kurosawa
Stars: Toshirô Mifune, Yutaka Sada, Tatsuya Nakadai
Edit

Cast

Cast overview, first billed only:
...
Tamaki
Yoshiaki Hanayagi ...
...
Anju
...
Sanshô dayû
Akitake Kôno ...
Masao Shimizu ...
Ken Mitsuda ...
Prime Minister Fujiwara
Kazukimi Okuni ...
Norimura
Yôko Kosono ...
Kohagi
Kimiko Tachibana ...
Namiji
...
Minister of Justice
Teruko Ômi ...
Nakagimi
Masahiko Kato ...
Young Zushio
Keiko Enami ...
Young Anju
Bontarô Akemi ...
Kichiji
Edit

Storyline

In mediaeval Japan a compassionate governor is sent into exile. His wife and children try to join him, but are separated, and the children grow up amid suffering and oppression. Written by David Levene <D.S.Levene@durham.ac.uk>

Plot Summary | Add Synopsis

Taglines:

A film of unparalleled beauty by the great Japanese Master Kenji Mizoguchi

Genres:

Drama

Certificate:

Not Rated | See all certifications »

Parents Guide:

 »
Edit

Details

Country:

Language:

Release Date:

1955 (USA)  »

Also Known As:

Legend of Bailiff Sansho  »

Filming Locations:


Company Credits

Production Co:

 »
Show more on  »

Technical Specs

Runtime:

Sound Mix:

Aspect Ratio:

1.37 : 1
See  »
Edit

Did You Know?

Trivia

This film, like several films by director Kenji Mizoguchi from this period, was widely praised in both Japan and the West for its smoothly flowing camera work. But these camera movements were, in fact, planned and blocked by his great cameraman, Kazuo Miyagawa, rather than by the director, who gave Miyagawa free rein in his use of the camera. See more »

Quotes

Zushiô: [quoting his father] "Without mercy, man is not a human being."
See more »

Connections

Version of The Littlest Warrior (1961) See more »

Frequently Asked Questions

This FAQ is empty. Add the first question.

User Reviews

Delicate woodcut prints come to life
5 June 2006 | by See all my reviews

"Sansho the Bailiff" (Japanese, 1954): Kenji Mizoguchi made an epic film from what was (apparently) a centuries-old Japanese morality tale. We watch a well-to-do family slowly disintegrate - not from events they cause, but those out of their control. How they each react, how they deal with the passing years and events, and how they find solutions (if any) are powerful, emotional, lessons in life. Can a half-century old Japanese film be useful to a contemporary American audience? Of course it can. Human issues of love, devotion, honor, greed, lust, hate, violence, sadness, and revenge are, if anything, in further need of consideration and dealing. To enhance these thoughts, the musical scoring is superb (I love classical Japanese music), the photography is in gorgeous black/gray/white with artful composing, the pacing is patient and more explanatory than many Japanese films (perhaps Mizoguchi had foreign audiences in mind – which I appreciate!), and I often felt like I was watching delicate woodcut prints come to life.


28 of 37 people found this review helpful.  Was this review helpful to you? | Report this
Review this title | See all 51 user reviews »

Contribute to This Page