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Zatoichi (1989)

Zatôichi (original title)
Not Rated | | Action, Drama | 4 February 1989 (Japan)
Older, wiser but still a wandering loner, the blind, peace-loving masseur Ichi seeks a peaceful life in a rural village. When he's caught in the middle of a power struggle between two rival... See full summary »

Director:

Shintarô Katsu

Writers:

Tatsumi Ichiyama (screenplay), Shintarô Katsu (screenplay) | 3 more credits »
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More Like This 

Action | Drama
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.2/10 X  

Zatoichi returns to his home village for the first time in over ten years to find much has changed and that corruption abounds.

Director: Kimiyoshi Yasuda
Stars: Shintarô Katsu, Yukiyo Toake, Eiji Okada
Action | Adventure | Drama
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.2/10 X  

Zatoichi promises to deliver a maiden safely home but finds two dangerous gangs have a mysterious interest in the young girl.

Director: Kimiyoshi Yasuda
Stars: Shintarô Katsu, Shiho Fujimura, Ryûzô Shimada
Action | Adventure | Drama
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7/10 X  

After accidentally causing an old lady's death, Zatoichi seeks out her daughter to atone for the tragedy, consequently getting into all sorts of trouble.

Director: Shintarô Katsu
Stars: Shintarô Katsu, Kiwako Taichi, Kyoko Yoshizawa
Action | Adventure | Drama
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.3/10 X  

Two of Japan and China's greatest heroic swordsman find themselves caught in a plot to protect a young child. But will national distrust and simple misunderstanding keep the two kindred spirits apart?

Director: Kimiyoshi Yasuda
Stars: Shintarô Katsu, Jimmy Wang Yu, Watako Hamaki
Drama | Action | Adventure
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.1/10 X  

On the road, Zatoichi meets a dying pregnant woman and delivers the child moments before she passes. Honor bound, he sets out to find the next-of-kin who he discovers have their own problems.

Director: Kazuo Mori
Stars: Shintarô Katsu, Rentarô Mikuni, Hisaya Morishige
Drama | Action | Adventure
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.1/10 X  

Zatoichi tries to unrest the mob rule over a small village all while the gang leader's bodyguard is actually the Yojimbo, secretly taking the gang down from the inside. Will the two heroes realize in time that they are on the same side?

Director: Kihachi Okamoto
Stars: Toshirô Mifune, Shintarô Katsu, Ayako Wakao
Action | Adventure | Drama
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.6/10 X  

The adventures of a blind, gambling masseur who also happens to be a master swordsman.

Director: Kenji Misumi
Stars: Shintarô Katsu, Masayo Banri, Ryûzô Shimada
Drama | Adventure | Action
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.6/10 X  

After an artist is threatened by the yakuza into creating valuable but highly illegal pornography, the law aims to execute him. Zatoichi, having been honor bound to protect the man and his family, must now run against the law.

Director: Kenji Misumi
Stars: Shintarô Katsu, Jûshirô Konoe, Miwa Takada
Drama | Adventure | Action
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.4/10 X  

Zatoichi meets an infamous blind leader of a gangster organization as he contends with a gloomy ronin widower.

Director: Kenji Misumi
Stars: Shintarô Katsu, Reiko Ôhara, Pîtâ
Action | Adventure | Drama
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.3/10 X  

The blind swordsman tries to locate a girl's missing father.

Director: Kimiyoshi Yasuda
Stars: Shintarô Katsu, Miwa Takada, Eiko Taki
Action | Adventure | Drama
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.2/10 X  

In a town where debt-ridden peasants are being ruthlessly exploited, Zatoichi is forced to take sides between a cruel yakuza boss and his seemingly altruistic rival.

Director: Satsuo Yamamoto
Stars: Shintarô Katsu, Rentarô Mikuni, Kô Nishimura
Drama | Adventure | Action
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.3/10 X  

A yakuza gang targets the blind masseur Zatoichi after he defeats their group in a wrestling match. Meanwhile a long lost love of Zatoichi's returns to his life.

Director: Tokuzô Tanaka
Stars: Shintarô Katsu, Miwa Takada, Masayo Banri
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Cast

Credited cast:
Shintarô Katsu ... Zatôichi / Ichi, a zatô in the Tôdô-za
Kanako Higuchi Kanako Higuchi ... Boss Han Bosatsu
Takanori Jinnai Takanori Jinnai ... Inspector Hanshu
Ryûtarô Gan Ryûtarô Gan ... Boss Goemon (as Takehiro Okumura)
Yûya Uchida Yûya Uchida ... Boss Akabei
Toyomi Kusano Toyomi Kusano ... Ume
Tsurutarô Kataoka Tsurutarô Kataoka ... Tsuru
Miho Nakayama
Ken Ogata Ken Ogata ... Rônin / Masterless samurai
Norihei Miki Norihei Miki ... Zatoichi's friend
Rest of cast listed alphabetically:
Naonori Aihara Naonori Aihara
Ryo Akashi Ryo Akashi
Buntaro Aoyanaki Buntaro Aoyanaki
Yosuke Ara Yosuke Ara
Gô Awazu Gô Awazu ... Kame
Edit

Storyline

Older, wiser but still a wandering loner, the blind, peace-loving masseur Ichi seeks a peaceful life in a rural village. When he's caught in the middle of a power struggle between two rival Yakuza clans, his reputation as a deadly defender of the innocent is put to the ultimate test in a series of sword-slashing showdowns. Written by Tokyo Shock

Plot Summary | Add Synopsis

Taglines:

Darkness is his ally [USA] See more »

Genres:

Action | Drama

Certificate:

Not Rated | See all certifications »
Edit

Details

Country:

Japan

Language:

Japanese

Release Date:

4 February 1989 (Japan) See more »

Also Known As:

Shintaro Katsu's Zatoichi See more »

Company Credits

Production Co:

Katsu Production See more »
Show more on IMDbPro »

Technical Specs

Runtime:

Sound Mix:

Stereo

Color:

Color

Aspect Ratio:

1.85 : 1
See full technical specs »
Edit

Did You Know?

Trivia

The last Zatoichi film to star Shintarô Katsu (who also produced, wrote and directed this film). See more »

Connections

Follows Zatoichi's Flashing Sword (1964) See more »

Soundtracks

Tsugaru Jongara Bushi
Sung by Kazuko Matsumura
See more »

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User Reviews

 
Rich, beautifully crafted film from a master of samurai cinema
6 November 2005 | by houseofjamesSee all my reviews

Shintaro Katsu is an actor who needs no introduction. Having played the rascal Zatoichi, the Blind Swordsman, in 26 films, he knew exactly what made those films so indelible. Though he had directed a few smaller films in the past (including Zatoichi in Desperation), this was his largest budgeted and most personal work.

Zatoichi: Darkness is his Ally, is a breathtakingly beautiful film, shot with almost totally natural lighting. In fact, the photography of the film is near brilliant in it's lighting and set-up. Katsu's handling of the action scenes is absolutely top-notch. Kudos must be given to the final set piece, which I dare-say may be one of the best sword battles in Chanbara film history.

But it is Katsu's moving, final performance as the wandering swordsman, that gives this film it's weight. His mere presence is so compelling, and his carrying of even the smallest of scenes so capable, that you wish the film would just continue forever, just to bask in a master actor's radiance that much longer.

Some people may balk at the slightly episodic (and convoluted) storyline, but there are so many beautifully handled scenes, you can easily forgive any of the films flaws. Samurai film fans, take note, this is one movie you don't want to miss.


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