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Cruel Gun Story (1964)

Kenjû zankoku monogatari (original title)
A convict fresh out of prison, with a handicapped sister, is coerced by a wealthy mob boss into organizing an armored racetrack car heist.


Takumi Furukawa


Hisatoshi Kaî (screenplay), Haruhiko Ôyabu

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Cast overview, first billed only:
Jô Shishido ... Togawa (as Joe Shishido)
Chieko Matsubara Chieko Matsubara ... Rie
Tamio Kawaji Tamio Kawaji ... Takizawa (as Tamio Kawachi)
Yuji Kodaka Yuji Kodaka ... Shirai
Minako Katsuki Minako Katsuki ... Keiko
Hiroshi Nihon'yanagi ... Matsumoto
Hiroshi Kondô Hiroshi Kondô ... Kondo
Shôbun Inoue Shôbun Inoue ... Okada
Saburô Hiromatsu Saburô Hiromatsu ... Saeki
Junichi Yamanobe Junichi Yamanobe ... Yanagida
Yûzô Kiura Yûzô Kiura
Zenji Yamada Zenji Yamada
Kôichi Uenoyama Kôichi Uenoyama
Kôtarô Sugie Kôtarô Sugie
Yasukiyo Umeno Yasukiyo Umeno


Businessmen arrange the early release from prison of Togawa, serving time for taking revenge on the truck driver whose carelessness confined Togawa's sister, Rei, to a wheelchair. They want Togawa to hijack an armored truck loaded with 120 million yen; their leverage is to promise him money for surgery for Rei. Togawa consents and plans the heist with three others. The plan is solid, but it doesn't go smoothly. Togawa must improvise, there are traitors somewhere, and double-crosses mount. Can Togawa escape with enough money to help his sister and ensure a passage out of Japan? Loyalty matters. Written by <jhailey@hotmail.com>

Plot Summary | Add Synopsis


Action | Crime



Official Sites:

The Criterion Collection





Release Date:

1 February 1964 (Japan) See more »

Also Known As:

Cruel Gun Story See more »

Company Credits

Production Co:

Nikkatsu See more »
Show more on IMDbPro »

Technical Specs


Sound Mix:

Mono (Westrex Recording System)

Aspect Ratio:

2.35 : 1
See full technical specs »

Did You Know?


After diverting the armoured car with the fake detour signs, the fake cop moves all of the signs while still within sight (in the rear view mirrors) of the truck and escorting police. See more »

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User Reviews

Starring Jô Shishido, the epitome of Japanese cool.
17 March 2011 | by MartinHaferSee all my reviews

"Cruel Gun Story" stars one of the weirder actors of his era, Jô Shishido. I say weird because Shishido actually paid to have surgery to give him bizarre cheeks--making him appear, somewhat, like a human chipmunk! This apparently made him quite popular in Japanese crime films (I didn't realize that Japanese criminals were cursed with this odd facial characteristic!). I've seen him in quite a few films including: "Branded to Kill", "Youth of the Beast", "Detective bureau 2-3" and "Gate of Flesh" and he is the epitome of Japanese cool.

When the story begins, you learn that Shishido's been in prison for killing a man who ran over Sashido's sister. As a result, the sister is wheelchair-bound, so Shishido felt compelled to kill the guy. Now, he's been sprung from prison early--apparently some mob boss wants him lead a team in an armored car robbery. Shishido agrees--as he hopes that the money can pay for some miracle surgery to heal her. Unfortunately, there's more to the plan than Shishido is aware of and perhaps this is NOT a good way to make a fast buck. Can our anti-hero somehow survive this bold caper? I could say more, but it would spoil the film.

This is a very taut and exciting crime film thanks to a great plot, good acting and Shishido's character--a nice mixture of coolness, machismo and, in an odd way, honor. Plus, I sure liked the very dark ending--what a finale. Overall, I'd say this is one of the best examples of Japanese noir I have seen and it's well worth seeing--whether or not you are a fan of the genre.

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