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The Hidden Fortress (1958)

Kakushi-toride no san-akunin (original title)
Not Rated | | Adventure, Drama | 6 October 1960 (USA)
Lured by gold, two greedy peasants escort a man and woman across enemy lines. However, they do not realize that their companions are actually a princess and her general.

Director:

Akira Kurosawa
Reviews
4 wins & 1 nomination. See more awards »

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Cast

Cast overview, first billed only:
Toshirô Mifune ... General Rokurota Makabe
Minoru Chiaki ... Tahei
Kamatari Fujiwara ... Matashichi
Susumu Fujita Susumu Fujita ... General Hyoe Tadokoro
Takashi Shimura ... The Old General, Izumi Nagakura
Misa Uehara ... Princess Yuki
Eiko Miyoshi ... Old Lady-in-Waiting
Toshiko Higuchi Toshiko Higuchi ... Farmer's Daughter bought from slave trader
Yû Fujiki Yû Fujiki ... Barrier guard
Yoshio Tsuchiya Yoshio Tsuchiya ... Samurai on horse
Kokuten Kôdô ... Old man in front of sign
Takeshi Katô ... Fleeing, bloody samurai
Kôji Mitsui ... Guard
Toranosuke Ogawa ... Magistrate of the bridge barrier
Kichijirô Ueda ... Slave Trader
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Storyline

The story follows two greedy peasants in feudal Japan, Tahei and Matashichi, who are returning home from a failed attempt to profit from a war between neighboring clans. En Route they encounter the remnants of the defeated tribe that consists, most notably, of a famous General and a Princess who are hiding out in a fortress in the mountains. General Rokurota Makabe and Princess Yuki need to escape into allied territory with their large supply of gold so that they can rebuild their shattered clan. To do this the Peasants are tricked into helping them, with the promise that they will receive a large share of the gold when the destination is reached. Along the way, the General's prowess is put to the test as he must guide the 4, and later 5 with the inclusion of a freed slave, through close encounters with the pursuing enemy, and out of difficult situations the bumbling peasants manage to get them into. Written by Jeff Napierala

Plot Summary | Add Synopsis

Genres:

Adventure | Drama

Certificate:

Not Rated | See all certifications »

Parents Guide:

View content advisory »
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Details

Country:

Japan

Language:

Japanese

Release Date:

6 October 1960 (USA) See more »

Also Known As:

Hidden Fortress See more »

Filming Locations:

Harima, Hyogo, Japan See more »

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Box Office

Opening Weekend USA:

$15,942, 28 July 2002

Gross USA:

$46,808

Cumulative Worldwide Gross:

$46,808
See more on IMDbPro »

Company Credits

Production Co:

Toho Company See more »
Show more on IMDbPro »

Technical Specs

Runtime:

| (1959) | (cut)

Sound Mix:

Perspecta Stereo (Westrex Recording System)

Aspect Ratio:

2.35 : 1
See full technical specs »
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Did You Know?

Trivia

This film is part of the Criterion Collection, spine #116. See more »

Goofs

At 1 hour and 3 minutes, when the two peasants are trying to mime a message to the princess (whom they think is mute), you can see the shadow of a crew member's arm moving quickly in the lower left hand corner of the frame. See more »

Quotes

[first lines]
Tahei: Get away from me! You stink of dead bodies!
Matakishi: Give it up. We both stink of dead bodies. And it's all your fault!
See more »

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User Reviews

 
The Director that could do no wrong
4 April 2004 | by unbend_5440See all my reviews

The Hidden Fortress is the Kurosawa film with the lightest tone. It's almost the most mainstream and entertaining. So for those who may have found other Kurosawa films to be too deep and poetic (if this applies to you, you're a fool) you'll be more likely to enjoy this. Even though there's a lot of comedy, mostly provided by the peasants, The Hidden Fortress still has all the power and uniqueness that all Kurosawa films have.

There are some amazing locations used. The rock slide provided for some real amusement. Toshiro Mifune gives a much more toned down and subtle performance than we normally see from him. What Mifune offers in Hidden Fortress is true screen presence. Without even saying a word he has your full attention. I love how Kurosawa plays the characters as well. The Princess is not a damsel in distress. In any American or British film of the 50s, she would have been nothing more than that. In this she's quiet for most of the movie, but then she'll come out of nowhere and show more power and confidence than The General. The peasant characters of Tahei and Matakishi are more than comic relief. They are primarily used for a laugh, but I thought there characters were unique as well. The story is told from their point of view, and they are essentially heroes, yet they do nothing but complain. They're greedy and selfish. These aren't characteristics that would normally be used for heroes, but Kurosawa makes them likeable to the audience. Some people have said this movie needed more action. I think the action it has is more than enough. The chase scene that leads into The General's encounter with his nemesis remains one of the best sequences Kurosawa ever Directed. The choreography in the swordfight holds up against most of The Seven Samurai's fight scenes, and it still tops the type of fights that have become tedious and repetitive in modern day movies. That fight is a great example of how to nail the Hero vs. Villain energy. Akira Kurosawa can do no wrong.


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