8.0/10
29,697
97 user 75 critic

Kagemusha (1980)

Trailer
1:28 | Trailer
A petty thief with an utter resemblance to a samurai warlord is hired as the lord's double. When the warlord later dies the thief is forced to take up arms in his place.

Director:

Akira Kurosawa
Nominated for 2 Oscars. Another 20 wins & 3 nominations. See more awards »

Videos

Photos

Learn more

More Like This 

Adventure | Drama
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 8.1/10 X  

Lured by gold, two greedy peasants escort a man and woman across enemy lines. However, they do not realize that their companions are actually a princess and her general.

Director: Akira Kurosawa
Stars: Toshirô Mifune, Misa Uehara, Minoru Chiaki
Ran (1985)
Action | Drama
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 8.2/10 X  

In Medieval Japan, an elderly warlord retires, handing over his empire to his three sons. However, he vastly underestimates how the new-found power will corrupt them and cause them to turn on each other...and him.

Director: Akira Kurosawa
Stars: Tatsuya Nakadai, Akira Terao, Jinpachi Nezu
Sanjuro (1962)
Action | Comedy | Crime
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 8.1/10 X  

A crafty samurai helps a young man and his fellow clansmen save his uncle, who has been framed and imprisoned by a corrupt superintendent.

Director: Akira Kurosawa
Stars: Toshirô Mifune, Tatsuya Nakadai, Keiju Kobayashi
Red Beard (1965)
Drama
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 8.4/10 X  

In 19th-century Japan, a rough-tempered yet charitable town doctor trains a young intern.

Director: Akira Kurosawa
Stars: Toshirô Mifune, Yûzô Kayama, Tsutomu Yamazaki
Drama | History
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 8.1/10 X  

A war-hardened general, egged on by his ambitious wife, works to fulfill a prophecy that he would become lord of Spider's Web Castle.

Director: Akira Kurosawa
Stars: Toshirô Mifune, Minoru Chiaki, Isuzu Yamada
Crime | Drama | Thriller
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 8.1/10 X  

A vengeful young man marries the daughter of a corrupt industrialist in order to seek justice for his father's suicide.

Director: Akira Kurosawa
Stars: Toshirô Mifune, Masayuki Mori, Kyôko Kagawa
Dreams (1990)
Drama | Fantasy
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.8/10 X  

A collection of tales based upon the actual dreams of director Akira Kurosawa.

Directors: Akira Kurosawa, Ishirô Honda
Stars: Akira Terao, Mitsuko Baishô, Toshie Negishi
High and Low (1963)
Crime | Drama | Mystery
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 8.5/10 X  

An executive of a shoe company becomes a victim of extortion when his chauffeur's son is kidnapped and held for ransom.

Director: Akira Kurosawa
Stars: Toshirô Mifune, Yutaka Sada, Tatsuya Nakadai
Yojimbo (1961)
Action | Drama | Thriller
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 8.2/10 X  

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
Stars: Toshirô Mifune, Eijirô Tôno, Tatsuya Nakadai
Dersu Uzala (1975)
Adventure | Biography | Drama
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 8.3/10 X  

The Russian army sends an explorer on an expedition to the snowy Siberian wilderness where he makes friends with a seasoned local hunter.

Director: Akira Kurosawa
Stars: Maksim Munzuk, Yuriy Solomin, Mikhail Bychkov
Mâdadayo (1993)
Drama
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.3/10 X  

Following World War II, a retired professor approaching his autumn years finds his quality of life drastically reduced in war-torn Tokyo. Denying despair, he pursues writing and celebrates his birthday with his adoring students.

Director: Akira Kurosawa
Stars: Tatsuo Matsumura, Hisashi Igawa, George Tokoro
Rashomon (1950)
Crime | Drama | Mystery
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 8.2/10 X  

The rape of a bride and the murder of her samurai husband are recalled from the perspectives of a bandit, the bride, the samurai's ghost and a woodcutter.

Director: Akira Kurosawa
Stars: Toshirô Mifune, Machiko Kyô, Masayuki Mori
Edit

Cast

Cast overview, first billed only:
Tatsuya Nakadai ... Shingen Takeda / Kagemusha
Tsutomu Yamazaki ... Nobukado Takeda
Ken'ichi Hagiwara Ken'ichi Hagiwara ... Katsuyori Takeda
Jinpachi Nezu ... Sohachiro Tsuchiya
Hideji Ôtaki Hideji Ôtaki ... Masakage Yamagata
Daisuke Ryû ... Nobunaga Oda
Masayuki Yui ... Ieyasu Tokugawa
Kaori Momoi ... Otsuyanokata
Mitsuko Baishô Mitsuko Baishô ... Oyunokata
Hideo Murota Hideo Murota ... Nobufusa Baba
Takayuki Shiho Takayuki Shiho ... Masatoyo Naito
Kôji Shimizu Kôji Shimizu ... Katsusuke Atobe
Noboru Shimizu Noboru Shimizu ... Masatane Hara
Sen Yamamoto Sen Yamamoto ... Nobushige Oyamada
Shuhei Sugimori Shuhei Sugimori ... Masanobu Kosaka
Edit

Storyline

When a powerful warlord in medieval Japan dies, a poor thief recruited to impersonate him finds difficulty living up to his role and clashes with the spirit of the warlord during turbulent times in the kingdom. Written by Keith Loh <loh@sfu.ca>

Plot Summary | Add Synopsis

Genres:

Drama | History | War

Certificate:

PG | See all certifications »

Parents Guide:

View content advisory »
Edit

Details

Country:

Japan | USA

Language:

Japanese

Release Date:

10 October 1980 (USA) See more »

Also Known As:

Kagemusha See more »

Edit

Box Office

Budget:

$6,000,000 (estimated)

Gross USA:

$4,000,000

Cumulative Worldwide Gross:

$4,017,462
See more on IMDbPro »

Company Credits

Show more on IMDbPro »

Technical Specs

Runtime:

| (International Cut) | (DVD)

Sound Mix:

Dolby | 4-Track Stereo (Japan theatrical release)

Color:

Color (Eastmancolor)

Aspect Ratio:

1.85 : 1
See full technical specs »
Edit

Did You Know?

Trivia

Shintarô Katsu was originally slated to play the lead role but he was dismissed by Akira Kurosawa after Katsu came to a rehearsal with a video camera and said he wanted to document the experience for an acting class he was teaching. Katsu was replaced by Kurosawa acting regular Tatsuya Nakadai. See more »

Goofs

When Kagemusha is being ejected from the Takeda clan compound, he is seen with his left arm in a dark purple-colored cloth sling, which covers most of his hand and forearm. As the camera shot changes to a slightly longer shot, the sling is suddenly much narrower, exposing much more of his hand and forearm. See more »

Quotes

[the double's aides are worried that others will find out he is an impostor]
Masakage Yamagata: Little Takemaru was a problem, but the horse is worse. It can tell. Only the late lord could ride it.
Nobufusa Baba: If the double falls off, everyone will suspect.
Nobukado Takeda: Lord Shingen has been ill. He must refrain from riding.
Masakage Yamagata: Good idea.
Masatane Hara: There are many other problems. We must be careful to keep the late lord's intentions.
Katsusuke Atobe: Tonight he will have to meet the late lord's mistresses. How will he be with them?
Masakage Yamagata: Our master has been ill. He must ...
See more »

Alternate Versions

In the original Japanese version, there are 20 minutes featuring Kenshin Uesugi. For some reason, these scenes were cut out of the USA version. See more »

Connections

Referenced in Les Associés (2009) See more »

Frequently Asked Questions

See more »

User Reviews

 
World's Best Movie Ever--Especially in Cultural Context (SPOILER ALERT)
27 November 2011 | by riolamaSee all my reviews

This is the best movie I have ever seen. In any language from any culture. I thought so when I first saw it thirty years ago and I still think so now, despite not being able to see it in its original mind- blowing wide-screen form. It is not just one of the most visually beautiful films ever done. The positive reviews are all accurate, but many focus too much on Kurosawa in general rather than on the particular theme of this film, which is closely tied to Japanese history and ideals, and which unites all the specific beauties of text and technique. This is not simply a film about historical belatedness (a lament that the ancient idea of heroes is now exposed by the modern world to be a hollow fantasy, as Ebert and other suggest), or the Shakespearian tragedy of inevitable discrepancy between individual and historical role, as in Henry V), although the film includes something of these elements. It is more--a beautiful elegy to a positive feudal ideal of leadership that goes beyond individual power to sacrifice for country--embodied in the figure of Takeda Shingin. Great tactician, unsurpassed "rider" of horses and women, inspiring and fearsome military leader, he is also a student of the Sutras and a man who "stepped right into people's hearts," as one of his aides says. The opening scene shows he listens to criticism and has a sense of irony about himself; when the thief who is to play his "double" accuses him of being a murderer, he agrees but says he will do anything to unite the country in order to prevent endless war and bloodshed. The same actor plays the lord and his double with incredible depth and subtlety. Shingin is killed (by a gun) early in the movie; as he is dying he tells his generals not to let anyone know he's dead for three years--to let the thief replace him, so as to give the clan time to prepare for confrontation with the western- armed enemy--and, given that his clan is not armed with western firearms, not to move out of its own territory. The double or "shadow warrior" who takes his place begins to identify with the role and finds out that literal crucifixion (for theft) would have been nothing compared to the loneliness at the top where the weight of the world is on the leader's shoulders. Every moment of his existence requires that he sacrifice everything personal to a role that no one can ever fill perfectly, and that is now bereft of the one man who came closest to doing so. The kagemusha doesn't have Shingin's "riding ability" or his wounds or the depth of self-understanding to fill the lord's role and, when he cockily believes he can do so for a moment, he is discovered and thrown out. Neither he, nor any modern man trying to live an identity larger than himself--including the artist who, like the kagemusha, is creating a shadow of the ideal--can replace this feudal ideal which was superseded (literally, massacred at the end) starting over 400 years ago by Christianized and technologized decadence, represented by Nobunaga and Ieyasu. The kagemusha learns slowly, as we do, what the ABSENCE of the irreplaceable Shingin means to his people and symbolically to Japan. Many scenes build up as if to a great battle or political confrontation, and the generals keep the show going, but it is all hollow--the leader is gone. Shingin's ambitious and over-eager son then leads the Takeda clan out of the mountains--to a destruction by western technology reminiscent of Hiroshima and Nagasaki (especially since the historical battle was at a place named Nagashino). The point of the film is to show a lost ideal of the past which can never be regained and without which everything afterward is a shadow, like the kagemusha ("shadow warrior"). The double (like the artist) seems possessed with Shingen's ghost in the last scenes as he watches in horror while the son, in a self-centered Oedipal frenzy, destroys the flower of his people by moving beyond the legitimate limits of his territory and his scope, and the double can only throw a futile spear at the modern weaponry which destroys him. But a shadow identity from a meaningful past is better than none at all (Kurosawa shores these fragments against modern ruins at least as well as T.S. Eliot in "The Waste Land").


7 of 7 people found this review helpful.  Was this review helpful to you? | Report this
Review this title | See all 97 user reviews »

Contribute to This Page



Recently Viewed