8.0/10
31,611
110 user 77 critic

Kagemusha (1980)

Trailer
1:28 | Trailer
A petty thief with an utter resemblance to a samurai warlord is hired as the lord's double. When the warlord later dies the thief is forced to take up arms in his place.

Director:

Akira Kurosawa
Nominated for 2 Oscars. Another 20 wins & 3 nominations. See more awards »

Videos

Photos

Edit

Cast

Cast overview, first billed only:
Tatsuya Nakadai ... Shingen Takeda / Kagemusha
Tsutomu Yamazaki ... Nobukado Takeda
Ken'ichi Hagiwara Ken'ichi Hagiwara ... Katsuyori Takeda
Jinpachi Nezu ... Sohachiro Tsuchiya
Hideji Ôtaki Hideji Ôtaki ... Masakage Yamagata
Daisuke Ryû ... Nobunaga Oda
Masayuki Yui ... Ieyasu Tokugawa
Kaori Momoi ... Otsuyanokata
Mitsuko Baishô Mitsuko Baishô ... Oyunokata
Hideo Murota Hideo Murota ... Nobufusa Baba
Takayuki Shiho Takayuki Shiho ... Masatoyo Naito
Kôji Shimizu Kôji Shimizu ... Katsusuke Atobe
Noboru Shimizu Noboru Shimizu ... Masatane Hara
Sen Yamamoto Sen Yamamoto ... Nobushige Oyamada
Shuhei Sugimori Shuhei Sugimori ... Masanobu Kosaka
Edit

Storyline

When a powerful warlord in medieval Japan dies, a poor thief recruited to impersonate him finds difficulty living up to his role and clashes with the spirit of the warlord during turbulent times in the kingdom. Written by Keith Loh <loh@sfu.ca>

Plot Summary | Add Synopsis

Genres:

Drama | History | War

Certificate:

PG | See all certifications »

Parents Guide:

View content advisory »
Edit

Did You Know?

Trivia

This movie set in during the Sengoku Period of Japanese history. Also known as the Warring States Period, it went from around the mid 16th Century (1500s) to the beginning of the 17th Century (1600s). It was a period of constant political turmoil, social rebellion and military war. It eventually resulted in the creation of the Tokugawa Shogunate which unified regional politics and gave political stability to Japan. See more »

Goofs

In the final battle there are at least 100 riflemen shown firing their matchlock rifles in volleys. The smoke generated by the matchlocks almost immediately dissipates. This indicates a more modern gunpowder was used in the matchlocks as the historically correct black powder load would blanket the battlefield with thick smoke after a handful of volleys. See more »

Quotes

Takemaru: Why are you called a mountain, grandfather?
Kagemusha: [Unaware of the legend behind Shingen's nickname] "Mountain"?
Takemaru: Everybody calls you that. Where is the mountain? Is it because we have this mountain in our garden?
Sohachiro Tsuchiya: [Quickly intervening to cover for Kagemusha's ignorance] You know the master's banner. What is printed there?
Takemaru: [Reciting the slogan on the Takeda clan's banner] Swift as the wind... Quiet as a forest... Fierce as fire... Immovable as a mountain.
Sohachiro Tsuchiya: The lord is that mountain. Both in battle and at home, ...
See more »

Alternate Versions

In the original Japanese version, there are 20 minutes featuring Kenshin Uesugi. For some reason, these scenes were cut out of the USA version. See more »

Connections

Referenced in Dave (1993) See more »

User Reviews

 
A grand spectacle of samurais and shoguns.
12 September 1999 | by SamuraiNixonSee all my reviews

What happens to the doppelganger when the original dies? Does he flitter out of existence or does he find his own. Kagemusha (shadow warrior in Japanese) is the story of a thief who is to be hanged, but is saved by a warlord's brother, Katsuyori Takeda, because of a peculiar resemblance to the king Shingen Takeda. Tatsuya Nakadai brilliantly plays both roles of Shingen and the thief. The thief is trained to fill in as Shingen's double, a position previously played by his brother Katsuyori. Shingen receives a mortal wound during a siege and the Takeda Clan retreat. His dying wish is that he wants his death not to be known for at least three years. Kagemusha eventually acquiesces to the role of not just doubling for the king, but being a figurehead twenty-four hours a day.

The intimate circle of Shingen's family and guard knows about the double. They advise him about how to be like Shingen. He plays the part well. Shingen's son Nobukado, who knows that he is the double, is convinced that his father did this to spite him. Nobukado was passed over as king and that position was granted to Shingen's grandson and Nobukado's son Takemaru as soon as he reaches of mature age. Later in the film, we realize that Shingen did this because Nobukado is too aggressive and is not leader material, not to spite him. The backing of Kagemusha helped Nobukado's one great military victory. Nobukado would forever be in Shingen's shadow.

The relationships between the thief and the Lord's men make this a fascinating film. There is a rich tapestry of multidimensional characters. To some critics the action was too slow. It was not as fast paced as The Seven Samurai or Yojimbo. I think it is a mature film from a maturing director who would go on to direct another of my favorite films Ran. This film was nominated for two academy awards and would co-win the grand prize at the Cannes Film Festival. The juxtaposition between the titanic and minute is a favorite concept of Kurosawa. Stolid men have tragic faults. Beggars can be kings.

Kurosawa is one of the world's most famous directors. Yet in the 1980's, he did not get much respect from his home country Japan. He had not had released a film since 1975 -- the beautiful and brilliant Dersu Uzala and he was reportedly suicidal. This film would not have been made if it were not for George Lucas and Francis Ford Coppola whom helped finance this film. Lucas has always been a big fan of Kurosawa. Star Wars was partially influenced by Kurosawa's film The Hidden Fortress. I am a big fan of Kurosawa too. His films always have the most beautiful cinematography, intricate plots and grand characters. Kagemusha is no exception.


37 of 44 people found this review helpful.  Was this review helpful to you? | Report this
Review this title | See all 110 user reviews »

Frequently Asked Questions

See more »
Edit

Details

Country:

Japan | USA

Language:

Japanese

Release Date:

10 October 1980 (USA) See more »

Also Known As:

Kagemusha See more »

Edit

Box Office

Budget:

$6,000,000 (estimated)

Gross USA:

$4,000,000

Cumulative Worldwide Gross:

$4,017,462
See more on IMDbPro »

Company Credits

Show more on IMDbPro »

Technical Specs

Runtime:

| (International Cut) | (DVD)

Sound Mix:

Dolby | 4-Track Stereo (Japan theatrical release)

Color:

Color (Eastmancolor)

Aspect Ratio:

1.85 : 1
See full technical specs »

Contribute to This Page



Recently Viewed