8.3/10
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173 user 155 critic

Yôjinbô (1961)

A crafty ronin comes to a town divided by two criminal gangs and decides to play them against each other to free the town.

Director:

Akira Kurosawa

Writers:

Akira Kurosawa (story), Akira Kurosawa (screenplay) | 1 more credit »
Reviews
Top Rated Movies #117 | Nominated for 1 Oscar. Another 4 wins & 1 nomination. See more awards »

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Cast

Cast overview, first billed only:
Toshirô Mifune ... Sanjuro Kuwabatake / The Samurai
Tatsuya Nakadai ... Unosuke - Gunfighter
Yôko Tsukasa ... Nui
Isuzu Yamada ... Orin
Daisuke Katô Daisuke Katô ... Inokichi - Ushitora's Rotund Brother
Seizaburô Kawazu ... Seibê - Brothel Operator
Takashi Shimura ... Tokuemon - Sake Brewer
Hiroshi Tachikawa Hiroshi Tachikawa ... Yoichiro
Yôsuke Natsuki Yôsuke Natsuki ... Kohei's Son
Eijirô Tôno ... Gonji - Tavern Keeper
Kamatari Fujiwara ... Tazaemon
Ikio Sawamura Ikio Sawamura ... Hansuke
Atsushi Watanabe Atsushi Watanabe ... The Cooper - Coffin-Maker
Susumu Fujita Susumu Fujita ... Homma - Instructor Who Skips Town
Kyû Sazanka Kyû Sazanka ... Ushitora
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Storyline

Sanjuro, a wandering samurai enters a rural town in nineteenth century Japan. After learning from the innkeeper that the town is divided between two gangsters, he plays one side off against the other. His efforts are complicated by the arrival of the wily Unosuke, the son of one of the gangsters, who owns a revolver. Unosuke has Sanjuro beaten after he reunites an abducted woman with her husband and son, then massacres his father's opponents. During the slaughter, the samurai escapes with the help of the innkeeper; but while recuperating at a nearby temple, he learns of innkeeper's abduction by Unosuke, and returns to the town to confront him. Written by Bernard Keane <BKeane2@email.dot.gov.au>

Plot Summary | Plot Synopsis

Taglines:

Venice Festival Award Winner. See more »

Genres:

Action | Drama | Thriller

Certificate:

12 | See all certifications »

Parents Guide:

View content advisory »
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Details

Country:

Japan

Language:

Japanese

Release Date:

25 April 1961 (Japan) See more »

Also Known As:

Yojimbo See more »

Filming Locations:

Japan See more »

Company Credits

Show more on IMDbPro »

Technical Specs

Runtime:

Sound Mix:

Perspecta Stereo (Westrex Recording System)

Aspect Ratio:

2.35 : 1
See full technical specs »
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Did You Know?

Trivia

This film brought Akira Kurosawa his greatest domestic success. See more »

Goofs

When Sanjuro smites his opponent arm off you can see the arm moving under the poncho. See more »

Quotes

[first lines]
Farmer: [in Japanese] Wait, son.
Traveler: [in Japanese] Let me go, father. It's my chance.
See more »

Alternate Versions

Some US releases add English credits, titling the film YOJIMBO - THE BODYGUARD, as well as a brief text prologue explaining the time period the film takes place in. This text comes on right after Kurosawa's directing credit. See more »

Connections

Spin-off Zatôichi to Yôjinbô (1970) See more »

Frequently Asked Questions

See more »

User Reviews

Sensational!
11 November 2001 | by TigereyesSee all my reviews

If I had to choose only one movie for film students to learn from, this would be it. Other films may be more profound, or their imagery more groundbreaking, but this one is so tightly constructed that nothing - not a frame, word, or gesture - is extraneous.

Toshiro Mifune, one of the world's most charismatic actors, is perfection as a tough loner of a samurai who takes it upon himself to clean up a town corrupted by two gambling clans. Swirling through and around him is a story that is both technically flawless and profoundly moving.

Kurosawa meticulously infuses every detail with meaning; there's a purpose behind every shot, and aspiring directors should pay close attention (why is the camera slightly tilted? why are there concubines in the background?). His economy of style was never more amazing; watch as the samurai rides into town, and the director establishes the atmosphere with exactly one jaw-dropping shot. And the story is equally well-crafted, with no plot holes and no inconsistencies.

A wonderful tale that rolls beautifully from start to finish. See it, see it, see it!!


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