Seven Samurai

Seven Samurai

4.6 48
Director: Akira Kurosawa

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

     
 

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Akira Kurosawa's epic tale concerns honor and duty during a time when the old traditional order is breaking down. The film opens with master samurai Kambei (Takashi Shimura) posing as a monk to save a kidnapped farmer's child. Impressed by his selflessness and bravery, a group of farmers begs him to defend their terrorized village from bandits. Kambei agrees, although… See more details below

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Overview

Akira Kurosawa's epic tale concerns honor and duty during a time when the old traditional order is breaking down. The film opens with master samurai Kambei (Takashi Shimura) posing as a monk to save a kidnapped farmer's child. Impressed by his selflessness and bravery, a group of farmers begs him to defend their terrorized village from bandits. Kambei agrees, although there is no material gain or honor to be had in the endeavor. Soon he attracts a pair of followers: a young samurai named Katsushiro (Isao Kimura), who quickly becomes Kambei's disciple, and boisterous Kikuchiyo (Toshiro Mifune), who poses as a samurai but is later revealed to be the son of a farmer. Kambei assembles four other samurais, including Kyuzo (Seiji Miyaguchi), a master swordsman, to round out the group. Together they consolidate the village's defenses and shape the villagers into a militia, while the bandits loom menacingly nearby. Soon raids and counter-raids build to a final bloody heart-wrenching battle.

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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:
09/05/2006
UPC:
0715515019927
Original Release:
1954
Rating:
NR
Source:
Criterion
Region Code:
1
Presentation:
[B&W]
Time:
3:27:00
Sales rank:
6,863

Special Features

All-new, restored high-definition digital transfer, with an optional Dolby surround soundtrack; Two audio commentaries: one by the film scholars David Desser, Joan Mellen, Stephen Prince, Tony Rayns, and Donald Richie; and one by Japanese film expert Michael Jeck; Theatrical trailers and teaser; Gallery of rare posters and behind-the-scenes and production stills; New and improved English subtitle translation; A 50-minute documentary on the making of Seven Samurai created as part of the Toho Masterworks series Akira Kurosawa: It Is Wonderful to Create; My Life in Cinema, a two-hour video conversation between Akira Kurosawa and Nagisa Oshima from 1993, produced by the Directors Guild of Japan; "Seven Samurai": Origins and Influences, a new documentary looking at the samurai traditions and films that impacted Kurosawa's masterpiece; Plus: a booklet featuring essays by Kenneth Turan, Peter Cowie, Philip Kemp, Peggy Chiao, Alain Silver, and Stuart Galbraith IV; tributes from Arthur Penn and Sidney Lumet; and a reminiscence by Toshiro Mifune

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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

Disc #1 -- Seven Samurai: The Film, Pt. 1
1. Main Titles [3:09]
2. "Is There No God to Protect Us?" [7:17]
3. Shopping for Samurai [6:41]
4. Death of a Thief [7:49]
5. A Master and His Disciples [7:58]
6. Samurai Auditions, Part I [7:34]
7. Samurai Auditions, Part II [9:20]
8. The Seventh Samurai [11:20]
9. Frightened Village [8:33]
10. False Alarm [4:29]
11. Making Plans [8:24]
12. "Still a Child" [3:52]
13. Samurai Armor [7:43]
14. The Secret Garden [6:10]
15. Training [6:13]
16. Intermission [5:14]
1. A Masterpiece/Time Period [3:09]
2. The Setup/Groups [7:17]
3. Lenses/Historical Models [6:41]
4. Izu No Kamu/Modern Movie Violence [7:49]
5. Tragic View of History/Kikuchiyo [7:58]
6. Shooting and Cutting [7:34]
7. Ellipses/Zen-Like Swordsmen [9:20]
8. Toshiro Mifune/Long Shots [11:20]
9. Social Chaos/Ways of Seeing [8:33]
10. Camera Movement/Kikuchiyo and Heihachi [4:29]
11. Process [8:24]
12. Teen Romance/What Makes a Samurai? [3:52]
13. Kurosawa's Position/Intersecting Subplots [7:43]
14. Repeated Motifs/Visual Foreshadowing [6:10]
15. Anti-High Noon/A Rejected Idea [6:13]
16. Reinventing the Jidai-Geki/Influences [5:14]
1. Opening Comments [3:09]
2. Kurosawa's Shooting and Editing Techniques [7:17]
3. Kurosawa as Orchestrator [6:41]
4. Mifune's Acting Style [7:49]
5. Musical Theme [7:58]
6. The Viewer as Omniscient Observer [7:34]
7. Shots for Dramatic Effect [9:20]
8. Extremes [11:20]
9. Dynamism in Shooting [8:33]
10. Pacing [4:29]
11. Compositions of Three [8:24]
12. Coming of Age [3:52]
13. Passion Directed Just Past the Lens [7:43]
14. Samurai Film Themes [6:10]
15. Mifune's Biography [6:13]
16. (No Commentary) [5:14]
Disc #2 -- Seven Samurai: The Film, Pt. 2
1. Harvesting [3:30]
2. Night Watch [3:35]
3. Building Barricades [5:51]
4. The Scouts [7:16]
5. The Surprise Attack [7:54]
6. Funeral [2:16]
7. The First Battle [11:07]
8. Night Skirmish [7:37]
9. The Second Battle [7:47]
10. Behind the Lines [11:28]
11. That Night [13:12]
12. The Last Battle [8:57]
13. Finale [4:24]
1. Rikichi's Secret [3:30]
2. Character Formation [3:35]
3. Film Language [5:51]
4. The Unit/Mifune [7:16]
5. Soviet Sensibility [7:54]
6. Same Theme Repeated [2:16]
7. Known Tropes/Silent Roots [11:07]
8. Anonymity/Master-Disciple Relationships [7:37]
9. Heir to Eisenstein [7:47]
10. Guns/Solidarity [11:28]
11. Character/Criticism [13:12]
12. History Unfolding [8:57]
13. Elegy to Samurai Values [4:24]
1. Critical Reception of Mifune's Character [3:30]
2. Kurosawa's Mentor [3:35]
3. Kikuchiyo [5:51]
4. Kurosawa's POV Style [7:16]
5. Production History [7:54]
6. Parallells [2:16]
7. The Most Imitated Shot [11:07]
8. Kurosawa's Early Biography [7:37]
9. Kurosawa's Later Biography [7:47]
10. The One Technical Mistake [11:28]
11. The Japanese Film Industry [13:12]
12. Tension and Release [8:57]
13. Seven Samurai's Success [4:24]
1. It Was All There in the Script [3:52]
2. The Abandoned First Scene [1:35]
3. Hiring Samurai [7:23]
4. The Samurai Theme [1:51]
5. The Personalities of the Seven Samurai [11:32]
6. Capturing Light in the Eyes [1:41]
7. Problems Burning Down the Water Mill [1:48]
8. Tragedy at the Bandits' Fortress [6:11]
9. The Truth Behind the Battle in the Rain [13:10]
Disc #3 -- Seven Samurai: The Supplements
1. Childhood [5:40]
2. Painting and Illustrating [3:59]
3. Entering the Film Industry [4:17]
4. Life as an A.D. [7:19]
5. Scripts and Screenplays [5:46]
6. Toward a More Dynamic Cinema [5:13]
7. Facing the Censors [6:31]
8. Scripts, Drinks, Directors, Misinterpretations [6:49]
9. Special Exemption From the Military [5:11]
10. "Just Tell a Story" [5:28]
11. The Weight of Dostoyevsky [7:51]
12. Writing With Others [5:26]
13. A Day on the Set With Kurosawa [7:58]
14. Actors and Period Films [6:25]
15. Fumio Hayasaka [6:49]
16. Precomposed Music, Preconceived Notions [5:16]
17. Starting His Own Studio [6:39]
18. The Beauty of Free Rein [5:49]
19. "One Word at a Time" [7:16]
1. The Samurai Tradition [14:04]
2. Early Samurai Film Influences [12:23]
3. The Samurai Film Reinvented [27:52]

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