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Samurai Assassin (1965)

Samurai (original title)
February 17 to March 3, 1860, inside Edo castle. A group of assassins wait by Sakurada Gate to kill the lord of the House of Ii, a powerful man in the Tokugawa government, which has ruled ... See full summary »


Kihachi Okamoto


Shinobu Hashimoto (screenplay), Jiromasa Gunji (novel)
1 nomination. See more awards »


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Cast overview, first billed only:
Toshirô Mifune ... Tsuruchiyo Niiro
Keiju Kobayashi Keiju Kobayashi ... Einosuke Kurihara
Michiyo Aratama ... Okiku / Kikuhime
Yûnosuke Itô Yûnosuke Itô ... Kenmotsu Hoshino
Eijirô Tôno ... Masagorô Kisoya
Tatsuyoshi Ehara Tatsuyoshi Ehara ... Ichigoro Hayama
Tadao Nakamaru Tadao Nakamaru ... Shigezo Inada
Kaoru Yachigusa Kaoru Yachigusa ... Mitsu
Haruko Sugimura ... Tsuru
Nami Tamura Nami Tamura ... Yae
Shirô Ôtsuji Shirô Ôtsuji ... Kaname Kojima
Yoshio Inaba Yoshio Inaba ... Keijiro Sumita
Akihiko Hirata ... Sohei Masui
Hideyo Amamoto ... Matazaburo Hagiwara
Ikio Sawamura Ikio Sawamura ... Tatsukichi Bisenya


February 17 to March 3, 1860, inside Edo castle. A group of assassins wait by Sakurada Gate to kill the lord of the House of Ii, a powerful man in the Tokugawa government, which has ruled Japan for 300 years. They suspect a traitor in their midst, and their suspicions fall on Niiro, an impoverished ronin who dreams of samurai status, and Kurihara, an aristocratic samurai who befriends Niiro. Niiro longs to identify his father, knowing he is a high-ranking official who will disclose himself only if Niiro achieves samurai status. With American ships in Japan's harbors, cynicism among the assassins, and change in the air, Niiro resolves to reach ends that may prove ephemeral. Written by <jhailey@hotmail.com>

Plot Summary | Add Synopsis

Plot Keywords:

samurai | japan | ronin | father | 1860s | See All (23) »


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Release Date:

5 March 1965 (USA) See more »

Also Known As:

Samurai Assassin See more »

Company Credits

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Technical Specs


Sound Mix:


Aspect Ratio:

2.35 : 1
See full technical specs »

Did You Know?


The film takes place from February 17 to March 3, 1860. See more »


Tsuruchiyo Niiro: In order to stay dry, you've got to cross bridges, no matter how dangerous.
See more »


References Sanjuro (1962) See more »

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User Reviews

Samurai classic
16 August 2015 | by colayaSee all my reviews

I guess it's a mystery why this film is not well-known. As I write this, there are only other 1,338 IMDb users that have rated it. A small group of fortunate viewers. If you have not seen it and you are reading this---perhaps you are exploring the possibility because of some samurai or classic movie interest?---then just watch it. It's just impossible to like classic samurai action and not to love this movie. And if you are new to classic samurai movies, this is a good start. All major ingredients are here.

But if you need reasons. Well, what's not to like? Mifune at his best. The beautiful cinematography of Okamoto. An all-star cast from every major samurai movie (the only one missing is Nakadai). Political intrigue in the decay period of the samurai cast. A series of Rashomon-like flashbacks for learning, slowly, the dimensions of a tragedy. Spectacular samurai action in the snow. A drum that beats, slowly, fate. And endless themes to think about: fate vs. caprices of life, love vs. duty, friendship vs. personal ambition, the quest for finding ourselves a place in the world, and so and so.

The other mystery is the rating of this movie. It should be above 8,0 by all means, to say the least. I disagree with other reviewers that talk about a "convoluted" plot. I found the plot easy to follow, despite the names involved. And the director is very efficient and artistic for delivering the story in a 2-hour mark. It just needs to build tension for the great finale. It's a matter of enjoying.

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