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Seven Samurai
Drama, Action, Adventure
IMDB rating:
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
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.
Kurosawa can stay at home, for only having done this work summit and go into the annals of cinema. This fresco made on the history of feudal Japan and customs is more than a movie adventure. For nearly four hours, we dive in Japan like we were there, watching the battles, helping farmers, or looking samurai. A monument, a work of love of cinema, a perfect film.

The epic has printed the entire film is undoubtedly its great strength. Assuming that the adventure genre is single-minded and topic, this film already has a plus point. And in his feature film, Kurosawa shows a variety of characters. It gives you time to show us every corner of the samurai, but also of the vast majority of farmers. Kurosawa's intention is that, at the end of the film, we understand why each samurai has accepted the position of defending the peasants, and came to realize that none has the same reasons as the other. His characters are never flat, because we know its past, its present, and what they expect of the future with just a conversation. They are characters who live with their concerns, and a code, Bushido, marked by honor, courage and respect are based. And it is strange in an adventure film, because you could say that Kurosawa "put aside" action. And all this not to mention the extraordinary end the battle. A final scenes full of a truly Fordian lyricism, and that far exceed anything that sometimes mars a movie: a bad end.

But all this must be added the care that puts Kurosawa in Japan show as it was portrayed in the film. It seems almost cool, a photograph taken in the feudal Japan. All customs, feelings, and ideas of the time are reflected on the screen: misogyny, the cowardice of the peasants, samurai courage, friendship and honor, something important in characters filled with so much charisma.

And I no longer remains to talk about the direction of the teacher. Its direction is simple, pure, without cheap sensationalism to give more spectacular. Their intimate scenes are recreated in a lyrical way, but real at the same time, with battle scenes where we know at all times what is happening thanks to Kurosawa, like Master Ford, do not move the camera to not be necessary, based on the subtlety of telling the facts, as when rescue a child without knowing what happens. Without a frenzied assembly, always we know what happens, because it raises the choreography as a true samurai would plan the battle. And for this he had a unique cast, headed by his two favorite actors: Mifune and Shimura, reaching in this movie performing a supreme heights.
I hate my attention span
As a child of late-20th Century cinema, I am unfortunately cursed with a terribly short attention span. As such, I didn't enjoy this 200-minute classic as much as I would have liked, because it totally exceeded the amount of time I can bring myself to spend with a movie. This is, of course, through no fault of Kurosawa or his brilliant cast and crew. I've not seen the cut-down 140-minute version, but the thought of shortening this film horrifies me because everything here is so vitally important and tremendously beautiful. To remove a minute of "Seven Samurai" is to destroy dozens of those cool little film techniques and acting nuances that separate the wonderful films from the merely good. I personally just have to watch it one tape at a time...
Amazing power to entertain
All I have to say is that I first saw this movie in an auditorium with about 150+ other first-year film students. It was required viewing for a class. I, as well as many other students I talked to then, were none too anxious to watch a 3 1/2 hour, foreign, nearly 50-year-old movie. I had only vaguely heard of Akira Kurosawa before.

After the showing, I walked outside and it was like I was stuck in a daze. I didn't know what to do, I couldn't believe what I had just seen. This movie would eventually lead me to change the way I saw movies, and what constituted a great one. Now, about two years later I have seen nearly every single Kurosawa film (everyone I talked to that first saw this with me, have ALL done so, it will happen to you if you watch and enjoy this film). I have also seen this movie about ten more times, each time introducing it to someone who has never seen a Kurosawa film before. Everyone I showed it to, regardless of their movie taste, has at the least been entertained by it.

What amazes me though is how the 10th viewing of this film was just as powerful and exciting as my very first. I know no other movie I can say that of.
The Masterpiece
Seven Samurai is Akira Kurasowa at his best. The guy really knows how to put a scene together, and makes every scene to look at interesting. There's always something happening in the frame.

Watching the movie, you'll find yourself getting more immersed as you go an, you feel the same nervousness that plagues the Seven Samurai. These tense feelings can lead into some explosive battles, that will cause you to get on the edge of your seat. The performances really help me look into each individual character and their role in the squad. It was really cool and is kind of like watching a superhero movie.

Overall, this movie is a masterpiece of visual setpieces and story telling of a long epic story.
Complex Beauty
Donald Richie thought it was Kurosawa's finest, and suggested that it might the best Japanese film ever made.

It is a film that rewards casual viewing and careful viewing and repeated viewing and viewing over time. Isn't that rather like a wonderful book, that rewards you every time you pick it up? I suppose that is the definition of greatness.

How was this greatness achieved? (This is not a rhetorical question. It truly astonishes me how this film creates meaning...cutting across all boundaries of nationality, language, and culture to become a meaningful personal experience for those who view it). This creation of greatness may be a mystery, but we can point to the some features of the film's excellence:

The artistic achievement: The music, the cinematography, the extensive set design, the editing and the acting in the service of a moving story all conspire to create a world that becomes ours on a deeply personal level. It is a film which influences later films and filmmakers.

The narrative achievement: Based on an original concept of Kurosawa's which began as a "day in the life" documentary of a samurai's existence, Kurosawa developed the idea into this breathtaking film of samurai who save a village. This simple but complexly nuanced human story involves us in different social classes in an historical framework. We come to know individual peasants and samurai, and feel that we know significant things about them, their motivations, hopes and fears.

The achievements of the actors: These are characters you will love, people you need to have in your life: the characters of Kyuzo, Heihachi and the unforgettable Bokuzen Hidari as a bewildered peasant..! Takeshi Shimura, as the leader of the samurai, Gambei, is the embodiment of wisdom, and calm in the storm. And, saying that Toshiro Mifune has star power is like saying the noonday sun sheds a little warmth.

Toshiro: It's the cut of his jawline when he asks the village patriarch, "Got a problem, grandad?", and the most charming look of confusion and embarrassment playing over his face when he is told by Heihachi that he is the triangle on the samurai flag. It's his energy, speed and agility and power and intelligence. Mifune sniffing out the fuse of a gun in the woods, bouncing through the brush half-naked in an abbreviated set of armor, or carrying his ridiculously oversize sword on one shoulder, Mifune crying over a baby, and the incomparable scene of his embarrassment that turns to rage when Mifune accuses the samurai of creating the farmer's condition.

Toshiro Mifune represents with extraordinary physicality the spirit of a man desperate to prove his worth: Mifune's got the animal sexuality, the physical response to emotional situations, the expressive face, the humorous and varied vocalisms to make us feel deeply what his character experiences: his struggles, his growth.(His drunken burblings as the last "samurai" to audition are nothing short of hilarious, and his "fish singing" is eerie and funny, too...also the grunted "eh?" that he often uses to show confusion, and the "heh" of disgust..such wonderful sounds, and so expressive!) Mifune's acting is wild and alive, even more than 50 years after the film's original release.

Takashi Shimura: You will trust him with your life. His great, open heart, his mature calm, his honesty and compassion make him one of the greatest of all samurai on film.

Fumio Hayasaka's music: Kuroasawa was lucky to have such a brilliant composer as collaborator. Themes introduce characters, and the samurai theme is surprising and memorable. If you have viewed the film, chances are, the samurai theme is playing in your mind with just a mention of the music. Hayasaka's music is muscular and nuanced: creating humor, or a counterpoint to the action, or deepening our sympathy for and understanding of the characters.

Muraki's scenography: There is no doubt that the places shown in the film are real. The achievement of Kurosawa's longtime collaborator provide a real world for the action.

The filmography is ground-breaking: the multiple cameras, slow-motion and attention to light and composition make each frame worthy of an 8X10 glossy. How can individual moments of such beauty be sustained throughout the movement of the film? It is an astonishing feat. And, best of all, no image degenerates into interior design or vacuous prettiness...everything forwards the movement of the cinematic experience. When the film ends, we feel as if we have lived it!

It is with great respect and humility that I offer my thanks to the memory of Mr. Kurosawa. His great work leads us to treasure humanity and its struggles, to develop our own abilities to feel compassion, encourages us to try to make good choices, to be socially and morally responsible, to embrace life.
This film can be described in one word...Awesome!!
This is my favorite Kurosawa film, the man was a true master of the cinematic arts. If you have never seen a Kurosawa film definetly make this your first. Though extremely long at about 3 1/2 hours it is well worth the time spent.

To quickly summarize, a poor Japanese village hires 7 Samurai to protect it from being raided by bandits. Don't get me wrong there is way more to it than that, I just dont want to give anything away. This is an intense and emotional movie that hooks you from the first scene and keeps you on the line till it is all over. The battle scene at the end is in true Kurosawa form. The acting is outstanding by everyone involved from the main characters all the way down to the very last extra. Of course the best way to see any film, especially a Kurosawa film is on the big screen if you are able to. Beautifully filmed, in black and white, anyone familiar with Kurosawa's work has to wonder visually how much more gorgeous it could have been had Kurosawa had the option of color in 1954.

The camera use is brilliant and every scene is balanced visually. This film is also the first one to use "the wipe" as a way of changing from one scene to another. This technique was later used by George Lucas in his Star Wars movies. I would also recommend the DVD version that has the commentary option by the Japanese cinema expert if anyone is interested in a deeper understanding of the "hows" and "whys" of Kurosawa's film making. Any man, woman, boy or girl who just wants to see a really, really great movie, THIS IS THE ONE! An A+++ in my book.
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.
One of my favourite films of all time
The only other Akira Kurosawa film I had seen before this was Rashomon, which I watched for the first time last week. After hearing much about The Seven Samurai, I also decided to watch this film today for the first time.

The first thing I noticed when I started watching the film is the incredibly long length: 3 hours and 27 minutes. I must admit that I initially wasn't terribly excited at the prospect of sitting through a single film for such a long period of time. Nevertheless, by the time the first half-hour of the film had passed, I found myself hooked.

I'm not really sure where to begin, but I guess Kurosawa's superb direction might be a good place to start. Like Rashomon, the direction for The Seven Samurai was well ahead of its time. In terms of cinematography, he made effective use of some of the techniques he had previously pioneered in Rashomon, one of his most influential examples being the way in which he points the camera up towards the sun, with the sunlight glaring onto the screen. I found these shots impressive in Rashomon and am equally impressed by them here in The Seven Samurai.

The story itself was also well ahead of its time. The now-common plot element of recruiting and gathering a ragtag group of protagonists for a specific goal began with this film and went on to inspire many later films, though none of them were able to surpass the original. I had already seen some of those inspired films beforehand, but what sets The Seven Samurai apart is its greater sense of realism, something which later inspired films seem to be lacking. The realistic aspect of the film truly shines during the battle sequences in the last hour of the film. They are possibly the most realistic and yet exciting battle scenes I have ever seen on film. There wasn't much melodrama either and most of the film barely has a background score to it (some scenes did have it but I found the music largely forgettable), and yet the film was powerful and incredibly moving, especially the ending.

As for the acting, Toshiro Mifune was again impressive just like he was in Rashomon. While I thought his acting was slightly more versatile in Rashomon, his performance as 'Kikuchiyo' in The Seven Samurai was much more moving and really made me care for his character. Some of the other leading actors in Rashomon also returned in The Seven Samurai, such as Minoru Chiaki and Takashi Shimura, who gave a very impressive performance as the group leader Kambei. Other memorable performances in the film came from Seiji Miyaguchi and Isao Kimura. The only issue with the cast is the obvious lack of female characters, with the only notable one being Shino, who was portrayed reasonably well by Keiko Tsushima.

Overall, Kurosawa has shown a lot of improvement with this film, as I found The Seven Samurai to be a superior film to Rashomon in nearly every way. In fact, The Seven Samurai is now one of my favourite films of all time, second only to Satyajit Ray's 'The Apu Trilogy' (1955-1959), which also happen to be from the 1950s. In my opinion, it was quite possibly the greatest decade for films, with 'The Apu Trilogy' and 'The Seven Samurai' being the finest examples from that era.

Quick Reviews!!
Kurosawa's most famous film, and arguably the most famous film ever to come out of Japan over 50 years after its release. Endlessly influential, often touted as the first action movie, and full of rich cinematography, brilliantly constructed set-pieces, humour, sorrow, and some timeless characters portrayed by excellent performances. The Seven Samurai is still seen today by fans and critics alike as one of the best films ever made, almost flawless in every department and still as appealing and relevant as it was 5 decades ago.

The film begins by telling us that Japan over 400 years ago was a place of fighting and poverty, with Samurai and bandits wandering the countryside, some with honour, some stealing from the poor. We meet a group of 40 bandits who travel from village to village through the year ransacking and taking whatever they can find. In the past they have murdered farmers, raped their wives and daughters, and taken their livelihood. The decide to raid one village once it is time for the farmers to harvest. A few villagers over-hear this and tell everyone else so they can prepare. Some believe they should fight, some say they should plead with the bandits, others say they should just give in as always or they will be killed. Eventually their Patriarch Gisaku says they should go and hire some help, Samurai who will help them in exchange for food. This seems like an outrageous plan as Samurai are proud, but a small group of farmers led by Rikichi leave with some food to find such Samurai in the hope that their village will be saved, the alternative being worse. They struggle at first and we see how there is no pity for them, that most people are too busy with their own affairs. Just as they give up hope they witness Kambei, a Samurai performing a selfless deed. They follow him and ask for help. Joining Kambei is a young apprentice Samurai Katsushiro who also saw Kambei's deed, and following them is a fiery man who claims to be a samurai-Kikuchiyo. Kambei listens to them and eventually agrees, believing they will need a total of seven Samurai. He and Katsushiro make two, and they begin to look for and test others. Kambei's old friend Schichiroji who he believed was dead arrives making 3. A woodcutting, quirky Samurai called Heihachi joins as well as masterful swordsman Kyuzo making 5, and a man nicknamed strongman makes 6. They leave for the village, followed by Kikuchiyo who wants to be part of their group even though no-one believes he is a Samurai. He proves himself and makes 7 when the villagers do not come to welcome their rescuers. We see how the Samurai and farmers as two different kinds of people mix, and we see mistrust and fear. Many emotions come out adding a depth so rarely seen in action films, there is a love story between Katsushiro and Shino, many twists, prejudices and hidden truths. As the bandits approach, the farmers are trained and a plan is made, but there will be many casualties.

As so many books have been written on this film alone I can only offer a summary. Each actor is excellent, with Mifune standing out. Shimura, Miyaguchi, Tsuchiya, and Kimura all give emotive performances and when a character dies or feels sorrow we genuinely grieve with or for them. There is so much going on and so many story lines that we are completely pulled into the lives of each character. Kurosawa's direction cannot be faulted, and although it is slow at times and the search for Samurai takes up much of the film, we are captivated throughout. The action scenes, groundbreaking for their time still manage to create awe today simply because they are filmed so beautifully. This is an immortal story of winners and losers, of truth and honour, of love in all its guises, and of overcoming personal prejudice which will stay in the mind forever.

10 out of 10
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