3 user 10 critic

The Great Killing (1964)

Dai satsujin (original title)
Not Rated | | Action, Drama | 3 June 1964 (Japan)
A Shogunate Elder connives to rule Japan by making his puppet, the Shogun's brother Tsunashige, the next Shogun. The best strategist in Japan, Yamaga, leads a plot to stop the Elder, but ... See full summary »


Eiichi Kudô


Kaneo Ikegami


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Cast overview, first billed only:
Takayuki Akutagawa Takayuki Akutagawa ... Narrator
Kôtarô Satomi Kôtarô Satomi
Chôichirô Kawarasaki Chôichirô Kawarasaki
Mikijirô Hira
Nami Munakata Nami Munakata
Minoru Ôki
Shirô Ôsaka Shirô Ôsaka
Hideo Sunazuka Hideo Sunazuka
Yoshio Inaba Yoshio Inaba
Tôru Abe Tôru Abe
Rin'ichi Yamamoto Rin'ichi Yamamoto
Kôshirô Harada Kôshirô Harada
Yuriko Mishima Yuriko Mishima
Kayako Sono Kayako Sono
Shunji Kasuga Shunji Kasuga


A Shogunate Elder connives to rule Japan by making his puppet, the Shogun's brother Tsunashige, the next Shogun. The best strategist in Japan, Yamaga, leads a plot to stop the Elder, but his cabal is betrayed and most of the conspirators are captured and tortured. Written by Anonymous

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Plot Keywords:

samurai era | See All (1) »


Action | Drama


Not Rated






Release Date:

3 June 1964 (Japan) See more »

Also Known As:

The Great Duel See more »

Company Credits

Production Co:

Toei Company See more »
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Technical Specs

Sound Mix:


Aspect Ratio:

2.35 : 1
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User Reviews

The Great Duel
26 June 2008 | by chaos-rampantSee all my reviews

The second chapter in Eiichi Kudo's Samurai Revolution trilogy bears so many similarities to its predecessor, Thirteen Assassins, that it might as well be a re-imagining of the same story. In the spirit of the anti-establishment sentiment that was prevalent in the jidai-geki of the early 60's, The Great Duel revolves around a group of revolutionaries who hatch a plot to ambush and assassinate a chancelor in an attempt to keep a corrupt, power-hungry minister from taking control of the Shogunate. The austere, very disciplined style is enhanced by beautiful black and white cinematography, sparse use of music and a pacing that doesn't rush to its final conclusion but takes time to examine and shed light on the characters. Kudo might be little known to the west, but certain scenes in The Great Duel reveal him to be a skillfull craftsman. Mis-en-scene is utilized to such effect that when a poor samurai has to murder his family (off screen), you'd be forgiven for completely missing it. The ambush in the finale is similar in many respects to the one from Thirteen Assassins; more loud and messy than stylized. In some ways, it anticipates Kinji Fukasaku's chaotic style from the early 70's. But what realism is achieved that way is diluted by the occasionally silly swordfighting (extras just waving swords at each other) and the bodyguards' hard effort not to kill our heroes. All in all it is a solid jidai-geki that combines politics, drama and an action-packed finale but doesn't quite rise to the cream of the crop.

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