Set in the mid-19th century when the disintegration of a rigid social structure was turning the once wealthy into paupers, or vice-versa, this kinetic drama by acclaimed Akira Kurosawa features the hero Sanjuro (Toshiro Mifune), one of many samurai whose once traditional positions were fast disappearing. In this tale of false perceptions and truth, of honor and dishonor, Sanjuro is a character who captures and holds attention from the moment he appears on screen. When he arrives in a small city, he discovers that a band of nine men are anxious to overthrow the corrupt ruling elite. Physically strong and agile, mentally sharp and clear-headed, Sanjuro still has an deep commitment to justice and honor underneath his dirty, abrasive, and cynical exterior. The nine men may doubt his nobility, but that is because they are only looking skin deep. While the sword fighting and action scenes are memorable, it is Toshiro Mifune's characterization and Kurosawa's camera eye that enhance the story.