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The Shogun's Samurai (1978)

Yagyû ichizoku no inbô (original title)
Following the death of the second Tokugawa shogun, it is revealed that he was poisoned by retainers of his son Iemitsu in hopes of gaining him the shogunate despite the stammer and ... See full summary »


Kinji Fukasaku

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5 nominations. See more awards »


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Cast overview, first billed only:
Kinnosuke Nakamura Kinnosuke Nakamura ... Yagyu Tajima-no-Kami Munenori (as Kinnosuke Yorozuya Nakamura)
Shin'ichi Chiba ... Yagyû Jûbê (as Sonny Chiba)
Hiroki Matsukata Hiroki Matsukata ... Tokugawa Iemitsu (Older Prince)
Teruhiko Saigô Teruhiko Saigô ... Tokugawa Tadanaga (Younger Prince)
Reiko Ôhara Reiko Ôhara ... Okuni (Singer)
Yoshio Harada ... Sanza Nagoya (Flute Player)
Etsuko Shiomi ... Yagyu Akane (Yagyu Sister) (as Etsuko Shihomi)
Kentarô Kudô Kentarô Kudô ... Yagyu Matajuro (Yagyu Brother)
Jirô Yabuki Jirô Yabuki ... Yagyu Samon (Yagyu Brother) (as Jiro Yabuki)
Hideo Murota Hideo Murota ... Sagenta Nogero (Leader of Negoro Clan)
Mayumi Asano Mayumi Asano ... Mon (Fighter of Negoro Clan)
Hiroyuki Sanada ... Hayate (Fighter of Negoro Clan)
Ichirô Nakatani ... Gyobu Amano (Masterless Samurai)
Tetsurô Tanba ... Ogasawara Gensinsai (Tajima's Rival)
Etsushi Takahashi Etsushi Takahashi ... Matsudaira Izu (Iemitsu's Chamberlain)


Following the death of the second Tokugawa shogun, it is revealed that he was poisoned by retainers of his son Iemitsu in hopes of gaining him the shogunate despite the stammer and birthmark which undermine his respect. Iemitsu and his brother Tadanaga become bitter rivals for the shogunate, and the land is split into factions, eventually erupting into warfare. Iemitsu's mentor, his fencing instructor Yagyu, is fixated upon securing Iemitsu the shogunate and ends up betraying everyone, even his own family, in pursuit of the goal. Written by Jim Beaver <jumblejim@prodigy.net>

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Release Date:

7 December 1984 (USA) See more »

Also Known As:

The Shogun's Samurai See more »

Company Credits

Production Co:

Toei Company See more »
Show more on IMDbPro »

Technical Specs


Sound Mix:




Aspect Ratio:

2.35 : 1
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User Reviews

I am not sure I like it
28 January 2011 | by tiger86-2See all my reviews

I love samurai movies. Really. I love history movies. I love adventure movies. And I found this movie... 'Shogun's Samurai' I though it was going to be great. There are great actors here. Etsushi Takahashi, for example. He was amazing in 'Kill!' and 'Akage'. Hiroyuki Sanada is also great. So is Sonny Chiba. I don't mention Toshiro Mifune because his role here is just a cameo.

Well... The movie was barely watchable. There were lots of problems with it. First, there is the story. It is ridiculously complicated but not compelling enough. Many characters appear but they are not developed at all. Hence I didn't care about their deaths at all. You know, it is quite sad, actually. You see somebody dying violently. You know you are supposed to feel sorry about him. But you don't feel anything because this character is a total stranger to you. I felt sorry for not feeling sorry about the characters.

And here is the second problem with this movie - it is filled with pointless death. Many people die. Men get killed. Women get killed. Kids get killed. Why? Nobody knows. I am not afraid of a little violence but this was just pointless. The story would be absolutely the same without so many killings. And since you don't know the characters at all their deaths have absolutely no emotional impact on you. The character's deaths can only disgust you.

The next problem with this movie is the fights. You know, that's what many people are watching samurai films for - sword fighting and action. But... Some of the fights are really nicely choreographed, there are some incredible moves and so on. But... Most of the fights are actually quite messy due to the bad camera work. The camera is shaking constantly and you can't see anything. It is not like Paul Greengrass directed the movie but still it isn't what one would expect from a samurai movie.

The camera work is a bit strange in my opinion. Sometimes you may see amazing landscapes. There are some very nice shots. Yet when it comes to fighting or some dynamic scene you can barely see anything. Yes, it is a problem. A big problem.

On the other hand there is the acting. It is excellent. Really. A few of the characters are actually well developed and you can care about them. It is mostly because of the actors. They did a really good job with what they are given.

But that's not enough because they are not given much. 5/10. And I really wanted to like the movie.

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