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Seven Samurai
Year:
1954
Country:
Japan
Genre:
Drama, Action, Adventure
IMDB rating:
8.7
Director:
Akira Kurosawa
Takashi Shimura as Kambei Shimada
Toshirô Mifune as Kikuchiyo
Yoshio Inaba as Gorobei Katayama
Minoru Chiaki as Heihachi Hayashida
Daisuke Katô as Shichiroji
Isao Kimura as Katsushiro Okamoto
Yukiko Shimazaki as Rikichi's Wife
Kamatari Fujiwara as Manzo, father of Shino
Yoshio Kosugi as Mosuke
Yoshio Tsuchiya as Rikichi
Kokuten Kodo as Gisaku, the Old Man
Storyline: A poor village under attack by bandits recruits seven unemployed samurai to help them defend themselves.
Type Resolution File Size Codec Bitrate Format
720p 960x704 px 7680 Mb h264 4829 Kbps mkv Download
Reviews
One of those films to watch before you die!
When you have undergone a journey, you feel, that a change has occurred, that there is some growth, some learning and development within you that was absent at the start. Many films you watch, start at point A, and after the end, bring you back to point A. This film however, carries you along with it, so you feel part of the events that have unfolded before your eyes. At the beginning, you are thrust into the suffering of the village folk, their pain and desperation. As the film progresses, you get to know them, that they are more multi-faceted than first perceived. At the end, however, it is the samurai than you connect with, and like them, the euphoric singing of the farmers seems alien and distant to you. So you start the journey with the farmers, and finish it off with the samurai. Yes there is a melancholic feel that is not freed from the film; what's more is that it is what we can connect to better than any joy displayed in bouts. Such is the mood of the film that the ambivalence of life is inextricably linked to it.

There is little else anyone can say about this film, beyond what has been said already. The pace of the film, which I was slightly wary of before watching it, was perfect I thought. The depth and detail of the plot required a painstaking build-up, if only for verisimilitude's sake. The interactions between the farmers and the samurai, two different strata of society, reveal the blatant similarities they share, concealed beneath the veil of social standing. Toshiro Mifune's character is the bridge between the two, and tellingly sacrifices his life, for the love of his ancestry, and to prove himself a true samurai. His acting is wonderful, along with Takashi Shimura's and the rest of the principal cast. Shimura who looked pathetic, decrepit in Ikiru, is a strong, canny leader here, particularly to Katsushiro. The film itself of course, can also be seen as the coming-of-age story of Kutsushiro, from a novice samurai 'child' to a war hero and lover. There is little the samurai could take away from the battle, but his growth could be one.

For us though, there is a milestone in film-making to take away, something that will remain with us for a very long time. We experience an EPIC, in every sense of the word, and watch every other film, in comparison to this masterpiece!
2007-02-10
It Helped Define Film
This is a movie that makes over three hours seem like a few minutes. As with a great work of art, it appreciates on multiple viewings. This is a classic tale of an oppressed village under siege from enemies. They are plundered and attacked by murderous thieves and have little hope. Enter the good guys who aren't always seen as good guys. Yes, it is a classic plot, but there the comparison ends. The way Kurosawa frames his scenes, the action sequences, the close ups, the emotions expressed are seldom matched. This has everything: a massive spectacle with battle scenes unmatched, incredible acting by Kurosawa's stable, including his star Taoshiro Mifune. In the "High Noon" tradition, it has the theme that we need to help ourselves and not depend on others to help us. The Samurai, who have ruled for a long time, have fallen into disfavor and so there's a tension: Why should they fight if the villagers are only interested in keeping what is there's, even if it means constant raids and attacks. There are greater reviewers who have done justice to this film. I can only say that I am a huge fan.
2009-09-02
necessary film
general statement of principle; I am sick to death of commercial filmmakers preying on the young by obscuring the fact that, as filmmakers, they have nothing original to say or do, by chewing up the past and spitting it out again with "new, improved" special FX.

yet, judging from some of the reviews i read here the sad fact is that many young viewers are not only ignorant of film history, they earnestly wish to remain ignorant.

what could possibly be gained by a surrender to one's own ignorance. an ignorant man has to be told what to do and what to think. simply rejecting the advice of one's elders does not constitute freedom of thought - it is exactly when we reach a decision contrary to that of our peers that we discover what it may mean to become an individual.

this means, of course, that statistical arguments concerning the uselessness of history are wholly unconvincing. to say that 'most people agree with me on this point' doesn't say that the point is well-made; possible everyone in agreement with it is simply wrong.

to assert one's independence and then turn around and say that the 'majority agree' is self-evidently contradictory. to abide by such statements despite evidence and reasonable disproof, is not simply exposing ignorance m- which can be corrected through education - it is simply stupid.

furthermore, since an ignorant person has to be told what to think, it follows that such a person is a victim waiting for a crime to happen. such people seem proud of their ability to thumb their noses at people who reach out to help - but they easily and quickly fall victim to con-artists, who usually know how to make such people feel good about the victimization.

knowledge of history means; not getting scammed for want of it. it means deepening one's awareness of the strengths and faults of those we admire. it means that we learn the tricks used to produce something of value, thus making it easier to find and judge value.

in film it is also well to bear in mind that good film-makers are precisely those who have studied film history the most. this gives them a stock of film-techniques developed by others on which to draw for increased effectiveness of their own films. i find it unclear, why it is young viewers of today wish to remain in ignorance of where the contemporary film-maker draws inspiration.

this fact blasts away the commonly proffered assertion, 'we do things better now than anything they did 'back when'. if that were true, then the film-makers of today would not need such inspiration; but they do.

finally, it is simply a fact that those who profess ignorance - as a desirable quality - are simply incapable of saying anyone might be able to learn. they always get basic facts wrong.

the seven samurai; is not an action film, it is a period adventure film with both action elements but also, and more importantly, elements of serious drama.

i read one young reviewer say that the character development in the seven samurai is unimportant. obviously this person just doesn't like people; so i supposed he will eventually betray his friends or get betrayed.

because the importance of the character development in the first half of this film is that some of us happen to like human beings and want to understand better what makes them do the things they do - and what makes some of their actions mistakes - sometimes fatal mistakes.

as the remarks of the lead samurai imply, the biggest mistake this men made was becoming samurai. but that being the hand life has dealt them, they need to play it out as best they can - and as gracefully as they can.

Hemingway once remarked that what truly made a man was 'grace under fire' - and i seem to recall he admitted that he had heard of this as a volunteer with the Italian army during the first world war, that this was the quality the Italians admired most about Americans.

well, that's what this film is about - not the action, but the 'grace under fire' that the samurai learn about themselves, and also teach the villagers. or those villagers willing to be taught. when someone is not willing to be taught, that one is not worthy of teaching - in which case bandits can rape, rob, and slaughter them, and no one would care.

finally one must point out the tasteless ignorance of insisting that a film is weak because - heaven forbid - it's not in color. that's sort of like saying 'your father's a fag because he hasn't gotten your mom pregnant in years'. - it is wholly irrelevant to any movie whatsoever, to be sure, a director can handle color well - but he or she can handle black and white lighting and composition equally well.

there is no 'nature photography' in the seven samurai. there are stunningly beautiful and haunting images in black and white.

if you care about film, you owe it to yourself to see the film; had it never been made, neither would any contemporary films that you enjoy today, or that you may enjoy tomorrow.

and if that doesn't sink in - then, screw it - i've no patience for fools.

still one of the best films in the history of cinema, and still a film necessary to see and appreciate.
2006-08-01
A Solid Defense of Art
Spoilers herein.

We are all villagers through whose small world great artists pass.

This is so clean, so effortless -- the originality is hard to appreciate because so much has been absorbed into the vernacular, but it still amazes.

My idea of genius is when someone can show you something you have never seen, but show it to you in such a way that you believe you knew it all along.

This is a work of genius.
2001-11-27
Thrilling, interesting, beautiful, and unexpectedly funny.
Coming in at over three hours, and being set in 1500s feudal Japan, Seven Samurai is a true historical epic. It may not have gone many exotic places, much of it in one tiny village, but hey, neither did Titanic. But it's epic status is not what sets it apart from the rest; no, rather is its dramatic storyline and subplots, as well as very likable leads. Kurosawa's script (also a writer here) doesn't play this up as a period piece, thankfully refraining from anachronisms, and it says fresh in 2012 (although it was probably re-subtitled with the DVD release a few years ago). It also shows the Japanese humor that Kurosawa eagerly portrays in some scenes--genuinely funny, I might add--even if not full on comedy quality (it is a drama after all).

After the opening credits, which features great drum based music, showcasing Japanese culture and the action element of Seven Samurai, we see a group of bandits about to pillage a village positioned in a basin with sides made of mountains, frequently demanding that the villagers pay them to keep them safe. A farmer from this small farming town overhears their conversation to come back when the harvest is over. A leader from the village suggests hiring samurai to protect them, ones that will take rice and shelter as compensation. So we see a down-on-his-luck veteran-samurai negotiating and freeing a child from harm, and a representative from the village asks for help. After much persuading the samurai accepts, but says the job will require at least seven. Next, we track down four more, a good natured one that is often the source of comic relief, and a master swordsman, who's quiet, yet well spoken, with philosophical lines. A villager is accepted to the brotherhood. Finally, a clown of a man, seldom not drunk at the beginning, who begs to come along, and they reluctantly accept.

After this rich exposition, the committee tasked with finding the samurai return victorious, and you next expect a great celebration, possibly even a feast (this is a town where the villagers seldom eat rice out of season, only millet). Much to the chagrin of the seven, there is no outpouring, not even people in the streets. The men with daughters and/or wives, are protecting them from who they think are going to rape them. The rest are simply afraid. So the wild card, the fool among masters, sounds the alarm bells in the village square. After all the peoples fear the worst and come out to defend themselves, the samurai delivers a wonderfully pointed speech about how they did not come to be feared and hated by the townspeople, but to provide a great service for below minimal payment scolding them for indecency and generalizations, and more than anything, whining about it, too.

The next half hour or so, is showing the village and collected samurai readying for defense (traps, positioning, and the like), and teaching the villagers how to defend themselves with a sword or spear. And a lovely romance too scandalous for public approval, this is the only part that would gain a significant amount if in color. The picturesque setting with its wonderful fall setting, with leaves on the ground, a small stream and presumed cherry blossoms for this great love story: Technicolor would have just made your heart sing.

But of all the things in this movie that are good, nothing beats the last hour, an all out battle: bandits versus the magnificent seven (yes, this is where that came from). I can't overstate it enough, of all the movies I've seen with battles or even wars in it, nothing, not even the brilliant western shootouts from The Good, the Bad, and the Ugly, can top this, not one second could be beaten by almost any other fights in the history of cinema. You may not like the long, suspense and plot building drama that precedes it, but no one can deny the masterpiece that is this battle. As a stand-alone movie, it would still be pretty good (and probably not too short, either).

Long movie short, Akira Kurosawa's rich character development and perennially likable personalities (it seems as though a different person wrote each part, they're really that built up), along with what is the all time greatest battle I've ever seen, easily and gracefully earns Shichinin no samurai a high place in anyone's movie collection. http://woltzpictures.wordpress.com/
2012-07-10
Why Attack a Defended Village?
I really like this movie and have seen it several times, but each time I have to question why the bandits would attack a defended village. They had pillaged it before an unknown number of times and each time would have just ridden in and taken what they wanted. This time was radically different. Gone were the straightforward accesses and in place were flooded areas, stout fences, and Samauri. I would have to say the bandit leader was lacking in marbles. Why not just ride on to the next village and plunder that one? Why engage a formidable enemy and risk losing any men at all? At any rate had I been a rider I would have ridden the other way once the fighting began and not stick with an idiot who called himself the leader.
2009-12-05
Greatest film of all time
Akira Kurosawa made "Seven Samurai" because he wanted to make a real "jidai-geki," a real period-film that would present the past as meaningful, while also being an entertaining film. Kurosawa considered "Rashomon," the film rightfully credited with making the West aware of the Japanese cinema, with being neither. But in his attempt to make a truly "realistic" film, Kurosawa redefined the conflict at the heart of Japanese films. Before "Seven Samurai" this conflict was that of love versus duty, where the central character is compelled by fate to sacrifice what he loves in the name of duty. In "Seven Samurai" the focus remains on duty, yet the conflict is now between the real and the pretended. Calling yourself a samurai does not make you one, something proved time and time again in the film, from the test of skill turned deadly between Kyuzo (Seiji Miyaguchi) and the tall samurai to the first appearance of Kikuchiyo (Toshirô Mifune), with his stolen pedigree. Like Katshushiro (Ko Kimura), the youngster who wants to learn from the master, Kambei (Takashi Shimura), the audience is educated as to the true nature of the samurai.

For me this film deals with the heroic, albeit in realistic terms. I have shown the film in World Literature classes, after students have read Homer's "Iliad" and as they begin reading Cervantes' "Don Quixote." Within that context, compared to the brutal arrogance of Achilles and the gentle insanity of Quixote, the heroic qualities of the seven samurai become clear. Their inspiration extends to some of the villagers. Manzo (Kamatari Fujiwara) is crazed with fear over the virtue of his daughter, Shino (Keiko Tsushima), and Rikichi (Yoshio Tsuchiya) fights to avenge the disgrace of his wife and his precipitating the death of Heihachi (Minoru Chiaki), but it is the comic Yohei (Bokuzen Hidari), who finds within himself the ability to fight, a die a tragic death, who is the true barometer for what the samurai mean to the village. But the greatest tragedy is that despite this most noble effort and the bodies buried in honor at the top of the village cemetery, this has been but a temporary union between the villagers and the samurai. When Kambei declares, "We have lost again," he redefines the battles: it was not to kill all the bandits, it was to find a true place in the world. Yet we should have already known this, for the painful truth was driven home when Kyuzo, the master swordsman, is gunned down from behind. No better proof is needed in this film of the bitter truth that the world is not fair.

Mifune is the maniacal spirit of this film, as the faux-samurai Kikuchiyo, the dancing whirlwind whose emotions overwhelm everything including himself. But it is Shimura as Kambei, who embodies the mentor mentality with a minimum of effort, evoking more by rubbing his hand over his shaved head or giving a single piercing look than by any spoken dialogue. Even in a strong ensemble these performances stand out, for clearly different reasons. To fully appreciate Kurosawa's mastery in "Seven Samurai" you need to watch the film several times to better appreciate the way he constructs scenes, using contrasting images, evocative music and varying the length of cuts to affect tempo. For example, look carefully at how the early scene of the farmers searching the streets for samurai and the later sequence where Katsushiro watches Kyuzo and Kikuchiyo waiting for the bandit scouts to return to their horses. Both of these scenes are superb primers to Kurosawa's style.

For years we had to put with the 160-minute version of the film that was made for export, which was actually called "The Magnificent Seven" until John Strugis's Western remake. Fortunately, "Seven Samurai" has been restored to full 208-minute glory, saved from being a lamentable cinematic tragedy on a par with "Greed," "The Magnificent Ambersons," and "Ivan the Terrible." There is a sense in which "Seven Samurai" is truly my favorite film, because it was the one that instilled in me a love of cinema, of the craft and art of movie making, of compelling me to understand intellectually how Kurosawa was skillfully manipulating my emotions. The final battle sequences, fought and filmed in a torrent of rain, exhausting characters and audience alike with its increasingly relentless tempo, is given its potency because of the human elements that have been established in all that has taken place before hand. "Seven Samurai" is a magnificent film against which the vast majority of epics pale in comparison. Not even Kurosawa scaled these heights ever again.
2013-12-01
Iconic influential movie
It's early 16th century and Japan is in the midst of civil wars. A poor village faces constant harassment from bandits. A villager overhears that bandits are planning to come back after the harvest. After a debate, the village elder proposes to hire samurai. The villagers have little to offer. They witness heroic ronin Kambei rescue a boy. Young Katsushirō is desperate to be his disciple. Kambei reluctantly agrees to help the villagers but he determines that the defense needs at least seven samurai.

This is simply one of the best movies ever. It is influential in so many other movies. The characters are funny and compelling. They are iconic in their simple characteristics. Modern audiences may find the over 3 hour running time a bit too long.
2014-12-10
Awesome
In 1954, Kurosawa made foreign film history with Seven Samurai. Everything about this film is just absolutely terrific. The film lasts around 3 1/2 hours, and every minute of it is unbelievable filmmaking. Kurosawa's blend of stellar craft, captivating cinematography, ravishing art direction, and unforgettable characters makes this one of the most intelligent films ever made. The first hour is devoted to devoloping the many four-dimensional characters which inhabit the film throughout. When watching the film, the audiece cares for, trusts, mourns and ultimately believes every single attribute the characters have. Samurai set up the way that many action films are made today; films like Predator and Alien still work within it's boundaries. The battle scenes are terrific and the fast-paced editing is ground-breaking. If people have a problem with subtitles and long movies, then see this and your opinions will change. The sheer filmmaking of Kurosawa will not disappoint. Also see Yojimbo and High & Low.
2001-02-03
Great stuff by often drags.
You want Samurai? We've got seven of them and they're all recognisable and nuanced in their own memorable way. As a side-note, I literally just looked up what the plural of the word Samurai was because I just wasn't sure. The embarrassing thing is that I really should have been sure considering I spent three and a half hours watching a film whose title has the pluralised form of Samurai displayed for the world to see. Clearly, I am not an observant person.

I am not opposed to films being long as long as all the scenes within them at least seem necessary to the plot and characters. When your film has a black screen that says, 'INTERMISSION' on it, it's safe to say that you are pushing it a little. With a run time of 206 minutes Kurosawa's epic lives up to that weighty noun. While I could criticise it for being over-bloated, almost all the scenes were necessary to making the film what it is.

The film has three long phases. The first phase is the formation of the titular Samurai boy band of death in their quest to protect a village of farmers from a barrage of bandits. Each of the characters has ample screen time devoted to them (which considering the amount of time available to assign). They are all full to brim with character; an important trait when considering the film is pre-colour. With the power to use colour to immediately recognise the characters stolen from the film, it is forced to use physical mannerisms to show which character is which at a glance… that and silly hairstyles.

I have never really understood Japan to its full extent and hopefully never will. Throughout the film, the statuses, jobs and relationships of farmers and Samurai are given. It was made very clear exactly the context of these historical occupations and how they interact with one another. I always thought that Samurai were the knights of feudal Japan. It seems, however, that they are more akin to today's mercenaries. The way that the contextual statuses are woven within the film adds to how believable the film is. I was taken by how little these characters seemed like actors playing roles and rather actual Samurai.

It is important to mention the runtime once more. I know I may be lingering slightly but so did the movie so take it up with Akira Kurosawa. I you were using this review as a recommendation and weren't expecting a gargantuan epic; I honestly couldn't recommend this film to you. While it was an enjoyable story, it is not a film that I will ever willingly return to. There are huge pacing issues making the film often drag a black and white cinematic parachute.

I would recommend you watch this film once. Mainly so that you can show off that you watched a 3+ hour film that isn't any of the Hobbit films (this is a much better film than any of those). The characters are some of the best put on film in history and the story is dense with plot. However, it did very well to deter me from a second viewing.
2015-05-17
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