In Medieval Japan, an elderly warlord retires, handing over his empire to his three sons. However, he vastly underestimates how the new-found power will corrupt them and cause them to turn on each other...and him.
Sanjuro, a wandering samurai enters a rural town in nineteenth century Japan. After learning from the innkeeper that the town is divided between two gangsters, he plays one side off against the other. His efforts are complicated by the arrival of the wily Unosuke, the son of one of the gangsters, who owns a revolver. Unosuke has Sanjuro beaten after he reunites an abducted woman with her husband and son, then massacres his father's opponents. During the slaughter, the samurai escapes with the help of the innkeeper; but while recuperating at a nearby temple, he learns of innkeeper's abduction by Unosuke, and returns to the town to confront him.Written by
Bernard Keane <BKeane2@email.dot.gov.au>
This was a deliberate attempt by Akira Kurosawa to revise the cinema's attitude towards onscreen violence. He wanted to show the damaging effect of violence, rather than the slightly anodyne way that it had usually been depicted before. (He would later come to regret this move, as it spawned a mass movement in international cinema that hasn't abated even today.) See more »
In the initial fight scene The Samurai cuts the first two adversaries in the mid-section, then slices the last man's arm off. That last man is first seen from behind holding the sword in his right arm above his head, but the arm holding the sword shown moments later is a left arm. See more »
Let me go, father. It's my chance.
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Some US releases add English credits, titling the film YOJIMBO - THE BODYGUARD, as well as a brief text prologue explaining the time period the film takes place in. This text comes on right after Kurosawa's directing credit. See more »
If I had to choose only one movie for film students to learn from, this would be it. Other films may be more profound, or their imagery more groundbreaking, but this one is so tightly constructed that nothing - not a frame, word, or gesture - is extraneous.
Toshiro Mifune, one of the world's most charismatic actors, is perfection as a tough loner of a samurai who takes it upon himself to clean up a town corrupted by two gambling clans. Swirling through and around him is a story that is both technically flawless and profoundly moving.
Kurosawa meticulously infuses every detail with meaning; there's a purpose behind every shot, and aspiring directors should pay close attention (why is the camera slightly tilted? why are there concubines in the background?). His economy of style was never more amazing; watch as the samurai rides into town, and the director establishes the atmosphere with exactly one jaw-dropping shot. And the story is equally well-crafted, with no plot holes and no inconsistencies.
A wonderful tale that rolls beautifully from start to finish. See it, see it, see it!!
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