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Red Beard (1965)

Akahige (original title)
Not Rated | | Drama | 19 December 1968 (USA)
In 19th century Japan, a rough tempered yet charitable town doctor trains a young intern.

Director:

Akira Kurosawa

Writers:

Masato Ide (screenplay), Hideo Oguni (screenplay) | 3 more credits »
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Nominated for 1 Golden Globe. Another 10 wins & 1 nomination. See more awards »

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Cast

Cast overview, first billed only:
Toshirô Mifune ... Dr. Kyojô Niide
Yûzô Kayama ... Dr. Noboru Yasumoto
Tsutomu Yamazaki ... Sahachi
Reiko Dan Reiko Dan ... Osugi
Miyuki Kuwano ... Onaka
Kyôko Kagawa ... Madwoman
Tatsuyoshi Ehara Tatsuyoshi Ehara ... Genzô Tsugawa
Terumi Niki Terumi Niki ... Otoyo
Akemi Negishi ... Okuni, the mistress
Yoshitaka Zushi Yoshitaka Zushi ... Chôji
Yoshio Tsuchiya Yoshio Tsuchiya ... Dr. Handayû Mori
Eijirô Tôno ... Goheiji
Takashi Shimura ... Tokubei Izumiya
Chishû Ryû ... Mr. Yasumoto
Haruko Sugimura ... Kin, the madam
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Storyline

In a charity hospital, a hard-bitten but honorable older doctor, Dr. Niide, takes a young intern under his guidance through the course of a number of difficult cases. Written by Jim Beaver <jumblejim@prodigy.net>

Plot Summary | Plot Synopsis

Taglines:

What is the key to life - power, prestige or peace? See more »

Genres:

Drama

Certificate:

Not Rated | See all certifications »

Parents Guide:

View content advisory »
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Details

Country:

Japan

Language:

Japanese

Release Date:

19 December 1968 (USA) See more »

Also Known As:

Red Beard See more »

Filming Locations:

Toho Studios, Tokyo, Japan

Company Credits

Show more on IMDbPro »

Technical Specs

Runtime:

Sound Mix:

4-Track Stereo

Aspect Ratio:

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

Trivia

The film is included on Roger Ebert's "Great Movies" list. See more »

Goofs

Niide's uniform is drenched when he arrives at Sahachi's house, but is completely dry when he goes to leave a short time later. See more »

Quotes

Heikichi: I began drinking when I was 9, and I've been drinking ever since. I can't say when I'm sober - but I know what I'm doing when I'm drunk.
See more »

Connections

Referenced in Disciples of Hippocrates (1980) See more »

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User Reviews

 
Kurosawa's Titanic
23 May 2002 | by OttoVonBSee all my reviews

This was the sixth Kurosawa film I ever saw, in a film-viewing binge that began with Seven Samurai and has yet to satiate me. It did, however, mark a turning point for me as it did for him.

Up to then, I had only seen the B&W Samurai classics of the 50s and early 60s. The must-sees: not just Seven Samurai, but Yojimbo and Throne of Blood. The under-appreciated Sanjuro, and the light but enduring Hidden Fortress. This was my first non-samurai film from him. What I did not realise until later was that it was his career apotheosis.

Red Beard is not Kurosawa's best film. Yet when it came out, it was a phenomenon much like Titanic 30 years later. It broke the bank, it was an exercise in unprecedented creative and financial power by a major filmmaker, and it appealed to filmgoers like few filmes before or since. Kurosawa built a hospice and miniature village for his characters to inhabit, and this episodic story of a young star doctor discovering a vocation among the poor under the gruff "red beard" (Mifune) feels all the more authentic for it. It is a film of such deliberate ease and confidence that it could only be made by this director, at this point in his career. It could not be anything less than the fullest exploration of his most cherished themes - social injustice, the redemptive power of human kindness, personal codes. It could also do nothing but foreshadow his decline.

That's a lot of expectation to pile onto the unsuspecting viewer, so what do you get during those 3 hours? You get a first-class drama, Mifune's finest performance, and one of the most beautiful tear-jerkers ever to grace a screen. All the while, countless instances of technical brilliance remind you why this film could only be made by this director: a surgery covered in nothing but an extended closeup of the young doctor, an eerie seduction covered in an almost static, dreamlike wide shot, and, halfway through, the ass-kicking of a life-time and its touching follow-up.

This is an extinct form of filmmaking, one preserved in the ember of its stark black-and-white film stock. The cinematic equivalent of a Tyrannosaurus Rex skeleton: there are ways in which you won't relate, but it is daunting, powerful, and a journey into an intriguing other world well worth spending 3 hours in, and then some.


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