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Sanjuro (1962)

Tsubaki Sanjûrô (original title)
Not Rated | | Action , Crime , Drama | 7 May 1963 (USA)
A crafty samurai helps a young man and his fellow clansmen save his uncle, who has been framed and imprisoned by a corrupt superintendent.


Akira Kurosawa


Ryûzô Kikushima (screenplay), Hideo Oguni (screenplay) | 2 more credits »

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Cast overview, first billed only:
Toshirô Mifune ... Sanjûrô Tsubaki / The Samurai
Tatsuya Nakadai ... Hanbei Muroto
Keiju Kobayashi Keiju Kobayashi ... The Spy
Yûzô Kayama ... Iori Izaka
Reiko Dan Reiko Dan ... Chidori, Mutsuta's daughter
Takashi Shimura ... Kurofuji
Kamatari Fujiwara ... Takebayashi
Takako Irie Takako Irie ... Mutsuta's wife
Masao Shimizu Masao Shimizu ... Kikui
Yûnosuke Itô Yûnosuke Itô ... Mutsuta, the Chamberlain
Akira Kubo Akira Kubo ... Samurai
Hiroshi Tachikawa Hiroshi Tachikawa ... Samurai
Yoshio Tsuchiya Yoshio Tsuchiya ... Samurai
Kunie Tanaka ... Samurai
Tatsuyoshi Ehara Tatsuyoshi Ehara ... Samurai


A wandering samurai, Sanjuro, is drawn into local politics. The Superintendent of a clan is plotting to take over the clan by implicating the Chamberlain in corrupt activities (activities the Superintendent is actually responsible for). Part of the plan involves killing off the Chamberlain's staff and, in protecting them, Sanjuro sides with them. The supporters are massively outnumbered so it will require all of Sanjuro's cunning and swordcraft to ensure the Superintendent does not succeed in his evil plan. Written by grantss

Plot Summary | Plot Synopsis


A fast sword, keen perception used well to SLAUGHTER HIS ENEMIES See more »


Not Rated | See all certifications »

Parents Guide:

View content advisory »






Release Date:

7 May 1963 (USA) See more »

Also Known As:

Sanjuro See more »

Filming Locations:

Toho Studios, Tokyo, Japan

Company Credits

Show more on IMDbPro »

Technical Specs


Sound Mix:

Perspecta Stereo (Westrex Recording System)

Aspect Ratio:

2.35 : 1
See full technical specs »

Did You Know?


This movie was originally going to be a faithful adaption of a Shûgorô Yamamoto novel called "Peaceful Days", and was going to be made before Yojimbo (1961), which is about a group of nine samurai who are helped out by two ronin who are inadequate fighters and have to use their wits to trick two evil opposing sides into disposing of each other. The antagonists were changed to a corrupt government body and the tricking two opposing sides into fighting each over element was used for "Yojimbo". After that film was a success, Toho requested that Akira Kurosawa produce a sequel. He changed the two weak ronin to the powerful Sanjuro character and rewrote the script to match the tone of "Yojimbo". In addition, when this was going to be "Peaceful Days", Kurosawa was only going to write it and Hiromichi Horikawa (his assistant director) was going to direct it and Furankî Sakai and Keiju Kobayashi were to play the two ronin. See more »


Iori Izaka: Let's follow them for now. Circumstances will decide whether we attack or not.
[to Sanjuro, who is lazing by the window, listening to their conversation]
Iori Izaka: What do you say?
Sanjûrô Tsubaki: It's a stupid plan, but some excitement might keep me awake.
[He yawns and hauls himself up to join Izaka and his companions on one of their shenanigans]
See more »


Version of Tsubaki Sanjûrô (2007) See more »

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User Reviews

Sanjuro is the sequel to Yojimbo but better.
19 April 2001 | by info-190See all my reviews

Sanjuro is the sequel to Yojimbo. The anti-hero is once again played by Mifune. He is a roaming "masterless samurai" after the Japanese emperor officially disbanded the samurai. Sanjuro's only mission in life is to survive and live by the unspoken samurai code of honor. In both films, it is only by accident that he combat the oppressive. The opening scene in Sanjuro was a long shot of a temple. It was followed by a jump cut, close-up of the same temple. This is a jarring effect that is a pattern of Kurosawa. He used this very same technique in the opening sequence of Rashomon. Kurosawa's superbly sharpen directorial skills are evident in this film. He uses a narrative economy technique that lets the audience dive right into the story without using a long draw-out exposition. The plot and characters are explained within the first five minutes of this film.

The story begins during a samurai meeting in a house. Sanjuro interrupts this meeting. He's been listening to their conversation. The cocky Sanjuro relaxes their guard because he analyzes their situation. He predicts, and is subsequently correct, that they will be ambushed. The group prepares for their certain death. Quickly, Sanjuro devises a plan and boldly states, "trust me" to his cohorts. This excellent delivery from Mifune lets the audience know that this sequel is going to be just as fun (if not better) as Yojimbo. A hilarious character for this film is the captured guard that was spared because of the rescued woman. His role was tiny but very memorable. He was the comic relief for a few of the tense moments. Towards the end of the film, the flower signal scene is super funny. Sanjuro tricks the three goof balls into putting the flowers in the creek. The neighboring samurai rejoice with excitement. Meanwhile, the captured guard shortly joins the celebration but gets a look from the samurai and returns to the closet. This is reminiscent of the three stooges. I really love this scene.

Reoccurring Kurosawa patterns include the use of multiple film planes. An example of this is the scene in the barn. Sanjuro is lying on the wheel barrel. The camera POV is on the floor shooting upwards. The wheel barrel is the first plane, Sanjuro is the middle plane, and the other samurai with their backs against the wall are the third plane. This abstract framing adds to the film's production value. It also breaks up the predictable framing of the characters. Likewise, framing is consistent in this film as in all Kurosawa film's because all of the players are perfectly in view, no actor is excluded from the camera view. Mifune's character finally arches in this sequel because he is told "killing is a bad habit" by the rescued older lady. He is quick to change internally to her wishes. Although Sanjuro is told once again, "please don't use too much violence", Sanjuro's hand is forced. He is "forced to kill" the numerous bad guys that are guarding the three hostage samurai because of their mistrust. He is hard on himself but harder on the three samurai that he slaps. In addition, this scene is reminiscent of Yojimbo. Sanjuro is entrusted with the lives of the "enemy" but instead slaughter his real enemy. Another example of his arched character in this film occurs in the final scene. Sanjuro does not want to fight the banished samurai. Once again, Sanjuro is force into violence. His last words were, "I am just like him, he was like a sword that should have a sheath". This is a clear sign that Sanjuro does not enjoy the lifestyle of the samurai. Whereas before it seemed like he didn't mind the senseless killing. In all, Sanjuro succeeds as another excellent story by Kurosawa. It is most definitely Hollywood influenced film.

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