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Kagemusha (1980)

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

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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 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
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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 »
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Details

Country:

Japan | USA

Language:

Japanese

Release Date:

10 October 1980 (USA) See more »

Also Known As:

Kagemusha See more »

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Box Office

Budget:

$6,000,000 (estimated)
See more on IMDbPro »

Company Credits

Show more on IMDbPro »

Technical Specs

Runtime:

| (International Cut)

Sound Mix:

Dolby | 4-Track Stereo (Japan theatrical release)

Color:

Color (Eastmancolor)

Aspect Ratio:

1.85 : 1
See full technical specs »
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Did You Know?

Trivia

After Kurosawa fired Shintarô Katsu from the leading double role, the American producers requested that a internationally known star be cast instead. Because Kurosawa had distanced himself from Toshirô Mifune more than a decade earlier, Tatsuya Nakadai was his only viable option. Mindful of the situation Nakadai accepted the part without even reading the script. He later admitted that the decision was not easy because he had been on friendly terms with Katsu. Purportedly Katsu did not speak to Nakadai for several years after the whole incident. See more »

Goofs

When Kagemusha is being ejected from the Takeda clan compound, he is seen with his left arm in a dark purple-colored cloth sling, which covers most of his hand and forearm. As the camera shot changes to a slightly longer shot, the sling is suddenly much narrower, exposing much more of his hand and forearm. See more »

Quotes

Masakage Yamagata: [Rainbow appears, causing the advancing Takeda army to halt] My lord, what do you think that light is that is barring your path?
Katsuyori Takeda: [Gives it a quick glance] A rainbow.
Masakage Yamagata: You're wrong! It is your late father's instructions not to proceed. He's telling you to stay in your domain and guard it. Those were your father's last words. If you do that, nothing can harm us.
Katsuyori Takeda: Harm? An ominous word. Since the time of our ancestors, the Takeda have never run from a fight.
Katsuyori Takeda: [Addressing his army] Forward!... Forward!
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 »

Frequently Asked Questions

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User Reviews

 
A Great Mature Kurosawa Film
15 November 2004 | by george-bSee all my reviews

I am a fan of Kurosawa and have seen many of his films many times. There is a sweep and an ache to Kagemusha that is genuine and has remained in my heart's memory. Unlike Ran, it is not Shakespearean. Unlike Seven Samurai, my favorite all-time film and I believe the best film ever made, it is not a western.

Although epic, it is about a sweet and rueful soul swallowed by karma and history. It is redemptive without overt sentiment, and the lead performance by Tatsuya Nakadai is nuanced and unforgettable.

I will always remember this film, not for its complexity or savagery, but for the simplest moments between Lord and subject, between the highest self and the lowest self, and most particularly, the very real pain of a man caught in the vise of his own life and death.


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