A crafty ronin comes to a town divided by two criminal gangs and decides to play them against each other to free the town.

Director:

Akira Kurosawa

Writers:

Akira Kurosawa (story), Akira Kurosawa (screenplay) | 1 more credit »
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Popularity
4,773 ( 468)
Top Rated Movies #128 | Nominated for 1 Oscar. Another 4 wins & 1 nomination. See more awards »

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Cast

Cast overview, first billed only:
Toshirô Mifune ... Sanjuro Kuwabatake / The Samurai
Tatsuya Nakadai ... Unosuke - Gunfighter
Yôko Tsukasa ... Nui
Isuzu Yamada ... Orin
Daisuke Katô ... Inokichi - Ushitora's Rotund Brother
Seizaburô Kawazu ... Seibê - Brothel Operator
Takashi Shimura ... Tokuemon - Sake Brewer
Hiroshi Tachikawa Hiroshi Tachikawa ... Yoichiro
Yôsuke Natsuki Yôsuke Natsuki ... Kohei's Son
Eijirô Tôno ... Gonji - Tavern Keeper
Kamatari Fujiwara ... Tazaemon
Ikio Sawamura Ikio Sawamura ... Hansuke
Atsushi Watanabe Atsushi Watanabe ... The Cooper - Coffin-Maker
Susumu Fujita Susumu Fujita ... Homma - Instructor Who Skips Town
Kyû Sazanka ... Ushitora
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Storyline

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>

Plot Summary | Plot Synopsis

Taglines:

Better if all these men were dead. Think about it! See more »

Genres:

Action | Drama | Thriller

Certificate:

Not Rated | See all certifications »

Parents Guide:

View content advisory »
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Did You Know?

Trivia

After Akira Kurosawa scolded Toshirô Mifune for arriving late to the set one morning, Mifune made it a point to be ready on set at 6:00 AM every day in full makeup and costume for the rest of the film's shooting schedule. See more »

Goofs

The interval between the noise of the gunshot and the ringing of bell is too long. See more »

Quotes

[first lines]
Farmer: Stop, you brat!
Traveler: Let me go, Father! This battle is the chance of a lifetime!
Farmer: Crazy fool! The chance to get killed! Why do you want to be a gambler? A farmer's place is in the fields.
Traveler: A long life of eating gruel - - to hell with that! I want good food and nice clothes. I'm gonna live it up and die young!
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Alternate Versions

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 »

Connections

Referenced in Fear, Panic & Censorship (2000) See more »

User Reviews

 
Kurosawa's most entertaining film
17 October 2006 | by faraaj-1See all my reviews

Yojimbo, based on noir writer Dashiel Hammett's Red Harvest is a magnificently entertaining film. Toshiro Mifune stars as the nobody who calls himself Sanjuro (thirty but closer to forty). He enters a town destroyed by warring factions and plays a double-game to pit one faction against the other thus destroying the criminal element.

Yojimbo (aka The Bodyguard) is one of the coolest and most stylish films ever made. Starring Toshiro Mifune, Kurosawa's favorite actor, as the scruffy looking Samurai, Yojimbo has all of Kurosawa's qualities and none of the flaws. The music score is an essential element of the plot and strikingly good, but admittedly bettered by the Ennio Morricone version in the Spaghetti Western remake Fistful of Dollars. The visuals are great, from the samurai swordplay, to the desolate streets, the town crier announcing its 3 a.m. to the brutal torture scene.

One of the unique things about Yojimbo is the central character. He is an anti-hero. We see him initially as a killer and a man greedy for money. But then, he saves a family by re-uniting mother and child and giving them all the money he was advanced. Mifune has never been cooler than in this film and Eastwood could only aspire to equal such a performance.

Of the two remakes, I liked Fistful of Dollars for starting the Spaghetti Western genre, although Yojimbo is a far more superior and stylish film. The gangster version, Last Man Standing, was not very good and Bruce Willis made for a poor substitute to Yojimbo. This film looks fresh and undated even today - watch it!


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Frequently Asked Questions

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Details

Country:

Japan

Language:

Japanese

Release Date:

13 September 1961 (USA) See more »

Also Known As:

Yojimbo See more »

Filming Locations:

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
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Company Credits

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Technical Specs

Runtime:

Sound Mix:

Perspecta Stereo (Westrex Recording System)

Aspect Ratio:

2.35 : 1
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