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The Blind Swordsman: Zatoichi (2003)

Zatôichi (original title)
The blind masseur/swordsman comes to a town in control of warring gangs, and while bunking with a farming family, he meets two women with their own agenda.

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21 wins & 10 nominations. See more awards »

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Cast

Cast overview, first billed only:
... Zatôichi / Ichi (as Beat Takeshi)
... Hattori Genosuke
Michiyo Yasuda ... Aunt Oume (as Michiyo Ohkusu)
Taka Guadalcanal ... Shinkichi
Daigorô Tachibana ... Geisha Seitaro 'Osei' Naruto
... Geisha Okinu Naruto
Yui Natsukawa ... O-Shino, Hattori's Wife
Ittoku Kishibe ... Boss Inosuke Ginzo
Saburô Ishikura ... Boss Tashichi Ogi
Akira Emoto ... Tavern Owner Pops
Ben Hiura ... Tavern Gramps
Kohji Miura ... Lord Sakai
Hideboh ... Dancing Farmer (as The Stripes)
Ron II ... Dancing Farmer (as The Stripes)
Suji ... Dancing Farmer (as The Stripes)
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Storyline

Blind Zatoichi makes his living by gambling and giving massages. But behind his humble facade, Zatoichi is a master swordsman, gifted with lightning-fast draw and strokes of breathtaking precision. Zatoichi wanders into a town run by sinister gangs and a powerful samurai. He's destined for violent showdowns when he stumbles on two beautiful geishas avenging their parents' murder... Duels, wit and a touch of zen! Cult anti-hero Zatoichi is back in a sword-fighting adventure written, directed and starring Takeshi Kitano. Written by intlpress@aol.com

Plot Summary | Add Synopsis

Taglines:

His Sword Made Him a Hero... His Courage Made Him a Legend. This Summer, Justice is Blind.


Motion Picture Rating (MPAA)

Rated R for strong stylized bloody violence | See all certifications »

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Details

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Language:

Release Date:

6 September 2003 (Japan)  »

Also Known As:

The Blind Swordsman: Zatoichi  »

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Box Office

Opening Weekend:

$2,424,807 (Japan), 7 September 2003, Limited Release

Opening Weekend USA:

$61,104, 25 July 2004, Limited Release

Gross USA:

$853,718, 26 September 2004
See more on IMDbPro »

Company Credits

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Technical Specs

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Sound Mix:

Color:

Aspect Ratio:

1.85 : 1
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Did You Know?

Trivia

"Zatô" was the lowest of the four official ranks (kan'i) within the Tôdô-za - the Kyôto-based guild for the blind established early in the Muromachi Period (1336-1573), and abolished in 1871 (the fourth year of the Meiji Restoration). The three other ranks, in ascending order, were "kôtô", "bettô", and "kengyô" - as in Agent Shiranui (1960). See more »

Quotes

Aunt Oume: This must be quite a sight! I'm guiding a masseur, who's carrying my vegetables.
Zatôichi: Wish I could see that!
See more »

Connections

Version of Zatôichi: The Last (2010) See more »

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User Reviews

 
'Beat' Takeshi's sweeping interpretation of the Zatoichi saga...
17 May 2005 | by See all my reviews

Kitano's update on the legacy of one of Japan's most iconic cinematic figures is an exhilarating watch, the more tender moments conflicted by a barrage of bloody violence. Takeshi remains true to his source, undergoing the sedate transformation to play the blind swordsman and part time masseuse Zatoichi himself, as well as co-ordinating the action. His purists will no doubt abhor the witty sense of fun laid on thick in certain characters (a gambling sidekick and an insane neighbour) and the little nuances of irreverent genius (a drum dancing soundtrack and a ho-down finale orchestrated by Japanese dance troupe 'the Stripes'), but this isn't the Yakuza bloodletting of his earlier films, rather a more charming reflection on feudal life, with a distinct post-modern twist. Further confirmation of this is provided by Takeshi's story, which focuses more on the plight of two avenging Geishas (one male) hunting for the prestigious killers of their parents, rather than the motivation for our titular hero, yet Zatoichi does leap into action when he agrees to assist the siblings. Each frame is a Kurosawa-esquire masterstroke. This is Zatoichi for a new era, and with such a breathtaking start, it will be hard for Kitano not to return to his new-found alter ego any time soon.


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