Seven Samurai

Seven Samurai

4.6 48
Director: Akira Kurosawa

Cast: Akira Kurosawa, Takashi Shimura, Toshiro Mifune, Yoshio Inaba

     
 

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One of Akira Kurosawa's most respected films, Seven Samurai is given careful handling on DVD by The Criterion Collection. The image is the standard full-frame 1.33:1 transfer. The Japanese soundtrack is rendered in Dolby Digital Mono. Subtitles are accessible in either Japanese or English. A theatrical trailer is included. Michael Jeck, an expert in JapaneseSee more details below

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Overview

One of Akira Kurosawa's most respected films, Seven Samurai is given careful handling on DVD by The Criterion Collection. The image is the standard full-frame 1.33:1 transfer. The Japanese soundtrack is rendered in Dolby Digital Mono. Subtitles are accessible in either Japanese or English. A theatrical trailer is included. Michael Jeck, an expert in Japanese cinema, provides an insightful and detailed commentary track. This is the type of quality release that has made Criterion one of the most respected names in home video.

Editorial Reviews

Barnes & Noble - Steve Futterman
Director Akira Kurosawa's 1954 masterwork simultaneously works as an action-packed "western," an engrossing character study of individuals in crisis, and a profound examination of the social ties that bind people within communities. The basic story is simple: A beleaguered village decides to face down marauding brigands by hiring the titular mercenaries. These seven men (or The Magnificent Seven, as the hit American remake dubbed them) unite the villagers and fend off the bandits. One of Kurosawa's greatest achievements here is the way he imbues the film's many characters with such distinctive personalities that we come to care deeply for them. Among a slew of memorable performances, both Takashi Shimura as the sage samurai leader and Toshiro Mifune as the uncouth warrior who evolves into a hero, are particularly affecting. The celebrated climactic battle in the rain is a thrilling set piece that has rarely been equaled, thanks to Kurosawa's unique brilliance for conveying motion onscreen. The Seven Samurai stands as a superbly human epic and a glorious celebration of the cinematic experience.
All Movie Guide - Jonathan Crow
Widely considered one of the greatest films ever made, Seven Samurai was both the apex of Akira Kurosawa's long career and the high-water mark of the Japanese period drama. The film's action rivets the viewer in spite of the three-hour-plus running time: the battle sequences, among the best ever filmed, are immediate and visceral; and the characters are complex and so well-rendered that the viewer grieves when one dies. Like few other historical films, it captures not only the physical look of the time but also its essence. Like Jean Renoir's masterpieces Grand Illusion (1937) and The Rules of the Game (1939), Seven Samurai illustrates the collapse of social distinctions and the growing irrelevance of old traditions in dangerous and chaotic times. Kurosawa questions the division between samurai and bandit, between good and evil. In one scene, peasant-born Kikuchiyo heatedly argues that the samurai have been abusing and exploiting the peasants for centuries. In this framework, the samurais' acts of bravery, selflessness, and honor seem absurd, if not pointless. The peasants' choice of the samurai over the bandits is merely one of a lesser evil. Once the bandits are gone, the samurai will no longer be needed. This is underscored in the film's poignant end, when the surviving three samurai leave the village, receiving neither acclaim nor reward, as the villagers plant rice. American audiences were so impressed with Kurosawa's epic masterpiece that it was remade into John Sturges' Magnificent Seven (1960).

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Product Details

Release Date:
08/05/1998
UPC:
0037429121726
Original Release:
1954
Rating:
NR
Source:
Criterion
Region Code:
1
Presentation:
[B&W]
Sound:
[monaural]
Time:
3:27:00
Sales rank:
10,823

Special Features

Optimal image quality, dual-layer edition; Audio commentary by Japanese film expert Michael Jeck; Restored picture and sound; Original U.S. theatrical trailer

Cast & Crew

Performance Credits
Takashi Shimura Kambei, leader of samurai
Toshiro Mifune Kikuchiyo, would-be samurai
Yoshio Inaba Gorobei, wise warrior
Seiji Miyaguchi Kyuzo, swordsman
Minoru Chiaki Heihachi, amiable samurai
Daisuke Kato Shichiroji, Kambei's friend
Ko (Isao) Kimura Katsushiro, young samurai
Kuninori Kodo Gisaku, village elder
Ichiro Chiba Priest
Fumiko Homma Peasant Woman
Eijiro Tono Bandit
Isao Yamagata Samurai
Sojin Minstrel
Kamatari Fujiwara Manzo, Shino's father
Bokuzen Hidari Yohei
Yoshio Kosugi Mosuke
Yoshio Tsuchiya Rikichi, militant villager
Keiji Sakakida Gasaku
Toranosuke Ogawa Grandfather
Noriko Sengoku Wife from Burned House
Gen Shimizu Masterless Samurai
Atsushi Watanabe Vendor
Kichijiro Ueda Bandit
Haruo Nakajima Bandit
Senkichi Omura Bandit

Technical Credits
Akira Kurosawa Director,Editor,Screenwriter
Shigeru Endo Consultant/advisor
Kohei Ezaki Costumes/Costume Designer
Shinobu Hashimoto Screenwriter
Fumio Hayasaka Score Composer
Hiromichi Horikawa Asst. Director
Ienori Kaneko Consultant/advisor
Takashi Matsuyama Production Designer
So Matsuyama Art Director
Shojiro Motoki Producer
Shinobu Muraki Production Designer
Yoshiro Muraki Production Designer
Asakazu Nakai Cinematographer
Hideo Oguni Screenwriter
Yoshio Sugino Stunts

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Scene Index

Chapters
0. Chapters
1. Main Titles [2:58]
2. "Is there no god to protect us?" [7:16]
3. Shopping for samurai [6:40]
4. Death of a thief [5:50]
5. A master and his disciples [9:57]
6. Samurai auditions, part I [7:33]
7. Samurai auditions, part II [9:20]
8. The seventh samurai [11:44]
9. Frightened village [8:08]
10. False alarm [4:29]
11. Making plans [8:23]
12. "Still a child." [3:52]
13. Samurai armor [6:33]
14. The secret garden [7:17]
15. Training [6:15]
16. Intermission [5:14]
17. Harvesting [2:36]
18. Night watch [4:27]
19. Building barricades [5:52]
20. The scouts [7:17]
21. The surprise attack [7:55]
22. Funeral [2:15]
23. The first battle [11:07]
24. Night skirmish [7:37]
25. The second battle [7:47]
26. Behind the lines [11:29]
27. That night [13:11]
28. The last battle [9:02]
29. Finale [4:12]
0. Color Bars

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