Seven Samurai (1954)

seven samurai poster 1954 movie shichinin no samurai
10 Overall Score
Story: 10/10
Acting: 10/10
Visuals: 10/10

Beautiful, epic, a classic

Very long

 
Movie Info

Movie Name:  Seven Samurai

Studio:  Toho

Genre(s):  Action/Adventure/Drama/Martial Arts

Release Date(s):  April 26, 1954

MPAA Rating:  Not Rated

seven-samurai-six-samurai

So…seven of us against the world (minus one)

A small farming village in rural Japan is menaced by bandits.  When the villagers learn that the bandits plan to return after the next harvest, the villagers decide they have to try to fight.  Setting out only with the offer of food, they try to hire samurai.  When the villagers find a samurai named Kambei Shimada (Takashi Shimura) and his young follower Katsushirō Okamoto (Isao Kimura), Kambei reveals they need seven samurai to defend the village.  Out to recruit, they find Gorōbei Katayama (Yoshio Inaba), Heihachi Hayashida (Minoru Chiaki), Shichirōji (Daisuke Katō), Kyūzō (Seiji Miyaguchi), and a man claiming to be samurai named Kikuchiyo (Toshiro Mifune).  Now, the seven samurai must find a way to gain the villagers’ trust and defend the city against impossible odds.

Directed by Akira Kurosawa, Seven Samurai (七人の侍, Shichinin no Samurai) was critically acclaimed and is often listed as one of the best films of all time.  The movie was the basis for The Magnificent Seven and also inspired other “gathered hero” films like Ocean’s Eleven and The Dirty Dozen or even something like Inception which has a gathering of skilled workers to pull off a crime.  A remastered version of the film was released by the Criterion Collection (Criterion #2).

seven-samurai-in-the-flowers

No one ever has time for flowers.

The film is very long and can pretty much be divided into three parts.  The first part is the gathering of the samurai.  It introduces the villagers and samurai and forces the samurai to agree to come together.  The second part of the film involves the training of the villagers and preparation for the fight.  This part fleshes out the samurai and sets up a romance between Katsushirō and a village girl named Shino (Keiko Tsushima).  The third part is the battle.  The bandits continuously attack and the villagers and samurai defend the city under Kambei, but suffer heavy loses.

The film has a lot of interesting topics, but most revolve around farmers versus samurai and nobility.  The farmers’ fear of the samurai and how the samurais in turn need to fear the farmers (who really have true power when they work together) are explored.  Through Kikuchiyo, the viewer can see the resentment of a farmer toward the samurai, and how being a farmer can be considered shameful.  Then through Katsushirō’s relationship with Shino, you can see how crossing the line of farmer to samurai wasn’t considered, and at the end of the film, you aren’t sure if he and Shiro are going to be together or if they are divided by their classes.

seven-samurai-battle-in-the-rain

I hate killing raiders in the rain!

Like all Akira Kurosawa films, the movie looks fantastic with great framing and perfect cinematography.  From the hilltops to the woods, and the fields of flowers, a movie can’t look better.  I watch the last scene in the rain and realize how miserable it must be to shoot it.  It is worth it however when you see how great it looks on film.

Seven Samurai is one of my favorite films.  It might be extremely long, but it is also fun and great looking.  It is one of those movies that you see new things and new nuances by the actors in the film.  Getting to see it in the theater was one of the best experiences I had…it also makes me wish that there were more director revivals to experience film on the big screen as they were meant to be seen.

Related Links:

The Magnificent Seven (1960)

 

Author: JPRoscoe View all posts by
Follow me on Twitter @JPRoscoe76! Loves all things pop-culture especially if it has a bit of a counter-culture twist. Plays video games (basically from the start when a neighbor brought home an Atari 2600), comic loving (for almost 30 years), and a true critic of movies. Enjoys the art house but also isn't afraid to let in one or two popular movies at the same time.

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