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Yojimbo (1961)

Yôjinbô (original title)
Not Rated | | Action, Drama, Thriller | 13 September 1961 (USA)
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:

Writers:

(story), (screenplay) | 1 more credit »
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Top Rated Movies #114 | Nominated for 1 Oscar. Another 4 wins & 1 nomination. See more awards »
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Cast

Cast overview, first billed only:
...
...
Unosuke - Gunfighter
...
Nui
...
Orin
Daisuke Katô ...
Inokichi - Ushitora's Rotund Brother
...
Seibê - Brothel Operator
...
Tokuemon - Sake Brewer
Hiroshi Tachikawa ...
Yoichiro
Yôsuke Natsuki ...
Kohei's Son
...
Gonji - Tavern Keeper
...
Tazaemon
Ikio Sawamura ...
Hansuke
Atsushi Watanabe ...
The Cooper - Coffin-Maker
Susumu Fujita ...
Homma - Instructor Who Skips Town
Kyû Sazanka ...
Ushitora
Edit

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:

Better if all these men were dead. Think about it!

Genres:

Action | Drama | Thriller

Certificate:

Not Rated | See all certifications »

Parents Guide:

 »
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Details

Country:

Language:

Release Date:

13 September 1961 (USA)  »

Also Known As:

Yojimbo  »

Filming Locations:

 »

Company Credits

Show detailed on  »

Technical Specs

Runtime:

Sound Mix:

(Westrex Recording System)

Aspect Ratio:

2.35 : 1
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Did You Know?

Trivia

Akira Kurosawa: [weather] Like in most Kurosawa films, rainy weather is present in a few scenes, increasing the effect of the characters' discomfort. The windy weather all throughout the film represents the chaotic life in the town. See more »

Goofs

When Sanjuro practices throwing the knife at a leaf, the wire on the knife is clearly visible (the scene was filmed backwards; the knife was actually pulled off the leaf by the wire). See more »

Quotes

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

Connections

Remade as Sukiyaki Western Django (2007) See more »

Frequently Asked Questions

See more (Spoiler Alert!) »

User Reviews

 
Average Akira
7 July 2005 | by (Milwaukee, WI) – See all my reviews

"Yojimbo", Japanese for "bodyguard" is the story of Sanjuro Kuwabatake, (Mifune) a samurai without a master or anyone to protect who walks into a small Japanese village that is rife with violence caused by two feuding groups. The boss of each group tries to hire Sanjuro, who decides to solve the village's issues by pitting one side against another. Problems arise for Sanjuro when the son of one of the bosses shows up, who brandishes a gun and absolutely is not afraid to use it.

"Yojimbo" was later remade into "A Fist Full of Dollars", featuring Clint Eastwood, and the similarities are certainly prevalent, particularly with their respective "heroes". Mifune, a great actor who is able to be extremely expressive without the benefit of a lot of dialogue, is once again excellent in this film. The story itself is a good one, and the film was entertaining overall. I fear, however, that I may have either tried to watch too much Kurosawa in a short period of time, or that I may have seen his three best too early, because there wasn't a lot that excited me in this film as opposed to say, "The Seven Samurai", "Rashomon" or "High and Low". At times the film seemed to drag a little, and Unosuke, the guy with the gun, became kind of a joke because after awhile the way he was acting menacing with his gun was really pretty humorous. I kept thinking about the Simpsons episode when Homer joins the NRA and was using his gun for everything, including turning on the television, and I don't think that was the reaction that Kurosawa intended.

I'm not panning the film as a whole; I just think that "Yojimbo" is perhaps not one of Kurosawa's great films. Every great director has some films that don't seem to be in the same league as their masterpieces, (though I have yet to watch a Kubrick film that hasn't left me breathless with admiration) and I'm certain that Kurosawa is no exception. Because the film was decent, but not great, I'm giving it a decent, but not great rating – an average 5/10.

--Shelly


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