7.3/10
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7 user 12 critic

Ninja, a Band of Assassins (1962)

Shinobi no mono (original title)
Not Rated | | Action , Drama | 1 December 1962 (Japan)
Ishikawa Goemon (Ichikawa Raizo), a talented young ninja, becomes ensnared in a twisted scheme to assassinate Oda Nobunaga, an evil warlord bent on ruling feudal Japan with an iron fist. ... See full summary »

Director:

Satsuo Yamamoto
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2 wins. See more awards »

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Cast

Cast overview, first billed only:
Raizô Ichikawa Raizô Ichikawa ... Ishikawa Goemon
Shiho Fujimura Shiho Fujimura ... Maki
Yûnosuke Itô Yûnosuke Itô ... Sandayû Momochi
Katsuhiko Kobayashi Katsuhiko Kobayashi ... Nobuo Oda
Tomisaburô Wakayama ... Oda Nobunaga (as Jô Kenzaburô)
Yôko Uraji Yôko Uraji ... Hinona
Reiko Fujiwara Reiko Fujiwara ... Hata
Chitose Maki Chitose Maki ... Tamo
Kyôko Kishida ... Inone
Takeshi Katô Takeshi Katô
Kô Nishimura Kô Nishimura ... Kizaru
Yutaka Nakamura Yutaka Nakamura
Kuniichi Takami Kuniichi Takami ... Kôtarô
Toshio Chiba Toshio Chiba
Sônosuke Sawamura
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Storyline

Ishikawa Goemon (Ichikawa Raizo), a talented young ninja, becomes ensnared in a twisted scheme to assassinate Oda Nobunaga, an evil warlord bent on ruling feudal Japan with an iron fist. Deceit, treachery, and entire gangs of enemy ninja lurk around every corner as Goemon travels the countryside to complete his task, win back his honor, and save his skin! Written by Anonymous

Plot Summary | Add Synopsis

Genres:

Action | Drama

Certificate:

Not Rated
Edit

Details

Country:

Japan

Language:

Japanese

Release Date:

1 December 1962 (Japan) See more »

Also Known As:

Ninja 1 See more »

Company Credits

Production Co:

Daiei Studios See more »
Show more on IMDbPro »

Technical Specs

Runtime:

Sound Mix:

Mono

Aspect Ratio:

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

Trivia

This movie was seen in Japan in 1963 by author Roald Dahl, from which he got several ideas for the writing of the screenplay to the James Bond movie You Only Live Twice (1967). The scene where Goemon attempts to assassinate Nobunaga with poison was referred to in "You Only Live Twice" and "Grosse Pointe Blank". Several scenes shows Nobunaga petting his cats. This is also done by the villain Blofeld in "You Only Live Twice". See more »

Quotes

Kotaro: Goemon, what does a ninja live for?
[Continues]
Kotaro: Starting as a innocent toddler, he must endure hard training in ninjutsu... then he's sent to serve some warlord in the east or some daimyo in the west... and does so knowing that his life is always at risk. If he is captured, he must endure exquisite tortures, and yet not divulge the truth. Rather than disclose his name, he will intently seek death instead. When escape is no longer possible...
Ishikawa Goemon: [Goemon continues] "He will burn his face with fire... ...
See more »

Connections

Followed by Shinobi No Mono 2: Vengeance (1963) See more »

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User Reviews

 
Good, though it felt hard to connect with the characters
14 September 2009 | by MartinHaferSee all my reviews

Raizô Ichikawa plays Ishikawa Goemon, a legendary bandit hero in this Japanese trilogy set during the reign of Oda Nobunaga--the man who nearly conquered all of Japan during the 16th century (before this, the country was split into many disunited kingdoms). The problem with this is that after I researched about the real life Goemon, I found that very little is known about the man and so over the years Japanese plays and movies have taken great liberties with who the man MIGHT have been. In this movie, Goemon is a ninja--though other sources I read didn't make mention of this nor did I read about him trying to assassinate Nobunaga, but another man (Hideyoshi)--but this isn't even certain.

In this film, the ninjas are not just lone agents of death or spies but are an organized group led by an inscrutable man whose real goals and machinations are a bit hard to follow, as he plays so many different angles. The one fairly constant thing about the boss is his desire to see Nobunaga die, as he apparently represents a threat to their way of life. Initially, Goemon is give great responsibility and power within ninjadom (Is that a word? Well, it should be if it isn't.). However, Goemon is too proud and not especially careful (even though his father warned him) and he falls into a trap--a trap that obligates him to personally murder the seemingly indestructible Nobunaga.

I'll be honest here--the plot was so convoluted and hard to follow at times that I had to struggle to keep watching. This is NOT the easiest Japanese series for a Westerner to follow--not nearly as easy as Ichikawa's "Sleepy Eyes of Death" series or Kitano's "Zatoichi" series. Now this isn't to say it's bad--just a bit tougher to follow--and I already DID know quite a bit about Nobunaga and his dream of forcibly unifying Japan.

Overall, while you'd think this is a big action movie, it isn't. Sure, there's some fighting but the emphasis is much more on the behind the scenes stuff and the conniving--not the battles or even many of the assassination attempts. I liked the movie but was far from in love with it. I will have to see the final two films to see what I think of the overall product, though I do love the idea of a story so big it takes several films to complete (such as the epic "Samurai" series from the 1950s).


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