(Akira Kurosawa, Japan, 1961) 110 minutes


Director: Akira Kurosawa
Producer: Tomoyuki Tanaka, Ryuzo Kikushima
Screenplay: Ryuzo Kikushima, Akira Kurosawa
Photography: Kazuo Miyagawa
Art Direction: Yoshiro Muraki
Music: Masaru Sato
Toshiro Mifune (Sanjuro)
Eijiro Tono (Gohji)
Seizaburo Kawazu (Seibei)
Isuzu Yamada (Orin)
Hiroshi Tachikawa (Yoichiro)
Tatsuya Nakadai (Unosuke)
Kamatari Fujiwara (Tazaemon)

Reviews and notes

The world and its troubles are so much with us that Kurosawa took the extraordinary step of laughing at them in YOJIMBO. This extremely funny period comedy laughed at personal ambition, personal involvement, and the whole feudal mess. Since the alternative to laughter is tears, and since Japanese film has been rich to satiation in the latter, this refreshing Kurosawa picture became one of his most popular. The hero is no better than his adversaries, but he, at least, knows how to make evil gobble up evil.
- Donald Ritchie, The Japanese Movie, Secker & Warburg, 1972.

YOJIMBO and Sanjuro ...both embrace some kind of social comment and are dominated by the presence of Toshiro Mifune as the unwashed, cynical, resourceful samurai who cleans up towns rather in the manner of the legendary Western hero. In fact, Kurosawa's basic approach to his material reflects his affection for the Western genre, not least in the physical appearance of the town (a fully built-up set complete with wide street), where the wind is perpetually stirring up dust and leaves and partly obscuring the scurrying figures of the rival gangs as they line up to attack one another.
-John Gillett, Monthly Film Bulletin.

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