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Yojimbo (1961)

Yôjinbô (original title)
Not Rated | | Action, Drama, Thriller | 13 September 1961 (USA)
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 »
Reviews
Popularity
3,909 ( 271)
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

Akira Kurosawa asked his sound engineer Ichirô Minawa to come up with a sound effect to be used when a sword is cutting, and killing, someone. After testing out slicing a sword into beef and pork, he finally found the perfect sample--putting two wooden chopsticks inside a raw chicken, then hacking it with a sword. See more »

Goofs

The wire used to pull the Yakuza's cut kimono off can be seen as he gets up from the ground. 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!
See more »

Alternate Versions

The initial US release ran only 75 minutes, 35 minutes shorter than the original version at 110 minutes. See more »

Connections

Referenced in Brainscan (1994) See more »

User Reviews

 
"I'll get paid for killing, and this town is full of people who deserve to die."
13 April 2017 | by elvircorhodzicSee all my reviews

YOJIMBO is an action drama about a rōnin who finds himself at the center of a conflict between the two crime lords.

A hungry and tired rōnin wanders through a desolate Japanese countryside. Soon, he arrives in a small town. A local caterer advises him to leave because, two local clans fight every day on the streets. However, a stranger decides to stay. The situation in a town is very good for one rōnin. This is a good chance that he earns some money. However, he does not need a bloody money. He wants to destroy local crime lords...

This tense story is full of lies, doubt, turning, pranks, blackmails and excellent fights. A careless and seemingly insensitive samurai is actually a peaceful and good man. Mr. Kurosawa has, under the influence of a western and noir, made a very exciting and visually impressive film. Of course, he has not neglected the significant situations that are related to the Japanese culture and tradition.

Close-ups, almost perfectly, reflect an evil, arrogance, fear, invincibility and contempt on faces of some of the protagonists. There is a large number of villains, which are quite different in character.

Toshiro Mifune (Kuwabatake Sanjuro) is a resourceful, interesting and determined as a wandering rōnin and master swordsman. He, apparently, enjoys in his machinations, however, his goal is extremely benevolent. He's kind of a lone hero, regardless of a tactical evil and theatrical swagger in his character.

His support are Tatsuya Nakadai as Unosuke a wild and insolent gunslinger and the biggest threat to a samurai. He is interesting because he is a completely different character from Sanjuro. Kyū Sazanka (Ushitora) and Seizaburo Kawazu (Seibei) are fairly inconclusive as crime lords. However their primary relationship "of a teacher and his student", could be interesting. Isuzu Yamada as Orin is the the wife of Seibei. She is perhaps an initiator of conflicts. Daisuke Katō as Inokichi is a visually the most memorable character. A character, who is capable to commit a vicious murder, but also make the greatest stupidity.

Simply, Mr. Kurosawa has managed to combine several styles in a small masterpiece.


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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
See more on IMDbPro »

Company Credits

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Technical Specs

Runtime:

Sound Mix:

Perspecta Stereo (Westrex Recording System)

Aspect Ratio:

2.35 : 1
See full technical specs »

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