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Overall Rating
4.69

Awesome86.42%
Worth A Look: 5.56%
Average: 3.09%
Pretty Bad: 0.62%
Total Crap: 4.32%

5 reviews, 132 user ratings


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Seven Samurai , The
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by Brian McKay

"Honor, Laughter, and Toshiro Mifune with a big-ass sword"
5 stars

Arguably Kurosawa's best work, "The Seven Samurai" became the touchstone for the entire Samurai genre, as well as the inspiration for several western films (for more information, see my article "Shadow of the Samurai" in the features section of this site). Though old, subtitled, and in grainy black and white, the film continues to endure because it is an epic, and epics never die.

"Seven Samurai" tells the tale of a Japanese village in the 1600's, during a time of social upheaval after wars have taken their toll on the land, leading to a collapse of order. Bandits roam the countryside, many of them former Samurai warriors who, now masterless and without employment, must find a new way to eat. One such village has been targeted by this group of bandits, who will be returning when the harvest is ripe to take their cut, leaving precious little for the already undernourished villagers.

On the advice of the village elder, a few of the men go into the nearest town to hire Ronin, or masterless Samurai, to defend their village. Though most of the wandering Ronin turn them down, Kambei Shimada (Takashi Shimura), an older and seasoned Samurai, takes pity on their plight and agrees to fight for them, recruiting six more warriors along the way. Among their number is Kikuchiyo (Toshiro Mifune), a gleefully maniacal warrior with stolen papers declaring his supposed Samurai lineage. Though a belligerent drunkard and incorrigible smart-ass, he walks softly and carries the biggest fucking katana I have ever seen. He is much more than comic relief, however. In many ways he is the backbone of the this band of warriors, with Kambei serving as its head.

The film is well over 3 hours long, and depending on which version you rent, may not have the best translation (many times the characters would be speaking without accompanying subtitles, making me wonder just how many bits of choice dialouge I might be missing out on). However, the characters are rich and well-developed, and the story is excellent, delivering a smooth blend of comedy, action, and drama. While it is not as action-packed as its sucessors (there is no spurting blood or dazzling sword coreography ala "Lone Wolf and Cub"), it remains a moving and visually exciting film to this day. Strange that nobody has chosen to do a remake of it, as many times as it has been copied.

The Samurai genre is one of the least known or appreciated by western audiences, which is really quite a shame because watching chop-sake' flicks is a hella good time. Do yourself a favor and watch this film. Yes, I know reading subtitles is sooo hard. You don't have to do it all in one night, but just finish it. Then try out "Yojimbo" and "Sanjuro". Then move on to the "Lone Wolf and Cub" series. I guarantee you'll be hooked.

link directly to this review at http://www.efilmcritic.com/review.php?movie=1449&reviewer=258
originally posted: 07/03/01 18:53:23
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User Comments

4/27/16 Ken One of the best movies made in Japan, if not the best. 5 stars
4/17/15 Potter17 you fool 4 stars
4/16/15 ina not as good as LOTR 4 stars
4/15/15 Hadrianus so overrated. i prefer akira kurosawa RAN than this. 3 stars
4/13/15 trasd the worst akira kurosawa films i have ever seen 1 stars
4/13/15 jokerass lol 1 stars
4/13/15 jokerass lol 1 stars
2/20/15 Chris Jarmick Masterpiece melding of Japanese Samurai and American Western 5 stars
2/15/15 filmiw23 i watch this movie like a shit 1 stars
1/05/15 hakken fantastic 4 stars
10/14/12 austin one of the greatest movies of all-time 5 stars
2/16/12 stanley welles kurosawa's triumphant epic - totally successfully driven by character and story 5 stars
10/19/11 Magic Takes a miracle to make a 3 1/2 hour movie not only not boring, but tightly paced as well. 5 stars
8/04/10 John The film is set in the 16th century, not the 19th, as Chris Parry's review mentions 5 stars
6/01/10 User Name It's run time is almost 3 hours, but it moves quickly, thanks to charactars and photography 5 stars
3/13/10 Chargers Fan One of the greatest films of all time. Period. 5 stars
11/07/09 James Great movie, the actors, story are superb. 5 stars
9/16/09 Christopher one of the best films ever made, has stayed in my mind for years 5 stars
6/29/09 budo One of the GREATEST 5 stars
6/17/09 MP Bartley I was a little suspicious of all the hype...don't make the same mistake, it's amazing. 5 stars
9/15/08 PAUL SHORTT DESPITE IT BEING AN EPIC WORK OF ART, ITS ALSO VIOLENT, ODD, JUVENILLE AND LACKS DEPTH 2 stars
6/30/08 Quigley Epic, masterful filmmaking that everyone who loves the movies should see. 5 stars
3/29/08 Pamela White film is well rounded 5 stars
1/26/08 proper amateur film critic One of the all time greats 5 stars
8/18/07 Jubei Speaks for itself. No one has done samurai films with such regard as Kurosawa did. 5 stars
1/23/07 Eric "Seven Samurai" kicks ass. 5 stars
12/24/06 Todd Wow 5 stars
12/22/06 Eric Phelps This and "Rashomon" are the highlights of Kurosawa's career. 5 stars
12/06/06 §hayne! One of the best movies ever 5 stars
5/20/06 thomas a real movie fun should have watched this movie 5 stars
4/22/06 Reklc One of THE best movies ever made. It has everything! 5 stars
12/01/05 cooler The greatest aspects of any film,stunning cinematography etc.Kurosawa is God 5 stars
10/30/05 Jeanne Yeah, Mifune's hilarious - until he makes you cry. Takashi Shimura is the Uber-Mentor! 5 stars
10/11/05 Sam my favorite movie 5 stars
9/27/05 Anthony Cobban Best Movie Ever Made 5 stars
8/01/05 Brandon DeLanzo Best samurai film ever 5 stars
7/12/05 Jake An amazing Epic. This has been rated as a classic and it's extremely hard to disagree. 5 stars
6/09/05 Agent Sands One of the great epics of all time. 5 stars
5/17/05 Seven Samurai SUCKS worst most boring stupid waste, extinguishing lit matches with my testicles is more fun 1 stars
5/08/05 susan varney seen three will see it again 5 stars
4/24/05 pragni sanghvi too good 4 stars
4/19/05 chethan v s exellent movie,the best i have ever seen 5 stars
3/24/05 matjaž 2001=7 5 stars
3/14/05 pragni sanghvu a visually stunning and encapturing fim. must see for all to-be film ppl 5 stars
3/10/05 Taylor Fladgate are you kidding me??? 1 stars
3/09/05 Los Daddy Aging Classic that is often imitated to this day...This is an epic movie 5 stars
1/29/05 Evil Brain Eater from planet Zolum 5 The greatest Action\Drama\Samurai film ever 5 stars
11/26/04 alien assassin the best action film ever made ? 5 stars
10/15/04 Daniel SWEEEEEEEEEEEET! Mifune kicks ass. 5 stars
10/08/04 Bob Spiegel Incredible movie. Love Toshiro Mifune and Akira Kurosawa 5 stars
9/23/04 matt burgay great 5 stars
9/16/04 Derek Great if you love movies, poor if you only want to see limb-chopping. 4 stars
7/22/04 Minamotono Yoshitsune Incomparable! 5 stars
7/14/04 Hitori Kyo best movie eva 5 stars
6/11/04 herkos akhaion This is the best. It should have inspired "Troy". 5 stars
4/01/04 sansho Magnificent characters, pacing, editing, action; Kurosawa's supreme masterpiece 5 stars
2/17/04 Mr. Blonde Great movie, but the two hour build-up is better than the pay-off. 5 stars
12/20/03 Richard Fritz Bit too long for my taste, but one of Kurosawa's great works. 4 stars
12/17/03 Will fascinating 5 stars
12/14/03 Agent Sands though it's a tad TOO long, there are countless great moments. Mifune & Kurosawa at best. 5 stars
11/28/03 john the battle in the rain is phenomenal- a masterpiece of action and drama 5 stars
11/12/03 Chance Excellent. Would give this 6 stars if I could 5 stars
11/12/03 Mike you cant understand cuz you gave a good rating to joe dirt!!!!!!!!!!! 5 stars
11/09/03 SpyFrog Bushido at it's finest! 5 stars
10/18/03 cris colella excellent movie 5 stars
10/03/03 Saxon Hurray for Kurosawa 5 stars
10/02/03 Burnetsky The best Japan movie ever made 5 stars
10/01/03 Fit_Finley Thank you, Kurosawa 5 stars
9/30/03 Zipper_Knob Japan's greatest movie 5 stars
9/15/03 putski i loved the film really.its the best film ever after the shawshank redemption 5 stars
8/17/03 Michael Schlieper I liked it very much. Great movie. One of the best and with most influence on many other di 5 stars
8/09/03 Francoise Groovy film 5 stars
8/03/03 Putski No Comment 1 stars
7/29/03 DM One of my favorite films, and among the best ever made 5 stars
7/03/03 Sammy Best samurai movie made 5 stars
6/24/03 Pete B Excellent film in Japanese but English speaking idiots cant read subtitles 5 stars
6/17/03 Large Farve My favorite movie, hands down 5 stars
6/06/03 Chris pure classic 5 stars
5/26/03 Vena Stupendous sword fighting, amazing, great character developement 5 stars
5/20/03 Ryan F. My favorite foreign film. 5 stars
4/01/03 Dave Great story, great characters, great acting, but for some reason hard to watch. 4 stars
3/29/03 Goofy Maxwell Unobtrusively allegorical, subtly lyrical, gently comical...& samurais--Yeaaeee! 5 stars
2/13/03 natasha_theobald feels like waking up on the other side of a profound experience 5 stars
2/08/03 Travis R. Sorensen on my top ten list (#10) - if only the criterion transfer weren't so shitty 5 stars
1/28/03 The Aussie Film Reviewer Oft-repeated, much-loved, peerless, flawless, perfect samurai film. 5 stars
1/28/03 Jan Big Movie! 5 stars
1/27/03 Banzai a milestone in film history 5 stars
1/25/03 Jonsi Everytime i see this, it's just brilliant. Makes me want to cry at times. 5 stars
1/21/03 Andy Bronson very good film but its a shame kurosawa hadn't started using widescreen at this point 3 stars
12/12/02 NoRefill Very entertaining, well shot film. A Classic. 5 stars
12/05/02 Gary In my humble opinion, this is the best film ever made. 5 stars
12/03/02 Matt brilliant 5 stars
11/22/02 dead great 5 stars
10/21/02 Jamer Lots of quality development (character and plot) that blends together nicely at the end. 4 stars
9/17/02 Diane Unbeatable. Packs an emotional and visual punch that improves with each viewing. 5 stars
8/20/02 LyonHeart44 And that would be what, Carden? Rubber monsters. Doesn't need 'em. 5 stars
6/18/02 Mr Math Kurosawa had his faults, but overall this is one classic worth hunting down. 4 stars
5/25/02 Charles Tatum The fastest three hours of your life 5 stars
4/29/02 Michael Grimm best Kurosawa film of them all, that is truly saying something!!! 5 stars
4/27/02 Brian beautiful 5 stars
4/23/02 Nicholas Shacklock Fucking Great 5 stars
12/05/01 Skip Young I'm a big kurosawa fan, but this one never does it for me till the battle scene. 3 stars
11/27/01 Ian Barr This film is GOD. 5 stars
11/05/01 Andrew Carden Nice Visual Effects and Creative, but Lacks What Most Japan-Based Films Have. 3 stars
10/22/01 Eric Muller This movie kicked my brain's ass!! 5 stars
10/17/01 The Bomb 69 3 hours of cinematic perfection, Hollywood sucks compared to this 5 stars
10/09/01 Jon The Grandfather of good vs. evil films, a cinematic masterpiece..... 5 stars
9/27/01 Otter O'Doom Never fails to uplift and entertain 5 stars
9/23/01 Larry Smith THIS IS THE CLASSIC and Original Magnificent Seven! 5 stars
9/09/01 Trashman One of my all time favorites, loved it from when I first saw it at age 11. 5 stars
8/28/01 james barton inspiring 5 stars
8/15/01 riverman top ten of all time - produced even a cool US version "Mag Seven" 5 stars
8/07/01 E-Funk This is just amazing. Kirosawa's finest film. 5 stars
7/31/01 DMF Easily one of the ten greatest movies ever made. 5 stars
7/02/01 Boomshanka Any action fan needs to see this, not because it's fast, but because it created the genre. 5 stars
6/29/01 master.node This movie pulls you in. The viewer is a villager, wishing he were one of the seven. 5 stars
6/25/01 Ray Raspberry Excellent Dialog and Acting -- Great Humor too! 5 stars
6/24/01 Monster W. Kung One of the best movies of all time. By the way, the uncut version is better. 5 stars
4/04/01 Jordan Hot Shiest!!!! 5 stars
3/26/01 Rico So intense, emotional, so real. I feel I am IN THERE with the the characters.. 5 stars
2/18/01 The Bomb 69 just watched this and Ran, must go see Yojimbo ASAP!!! 6 hours of enchantment 5 stars
2/17/01 Tyrone One of the original and greatest action adventure moovies. Kurosawa IS MY GOD =) 5 stars
11/18/00 helmet A fantastic film...I was stunned by the end at the craftmanship. Wow. 5 stars
10/31/00 Trisfae good movie in its time but if you are watching it for action don't expect much. 3 stars
9/20/00 Jeff one of the best films i've ever seen 5 stars
7/21/00 Andrew W. Larrison Incredible -- but also incredibly long 5 stars
12/15/99 Dave Wild Awesome. 5 stars
9/17/99 CCGoldrush Not only the greatest Japanese film, but maybe the GREATEST FILM IN HISTORY! Perfect! 5 stars
3/13/99 unstrung whoever said black and white movies suck should be SHOT, Mifune is the man 5 stars
12/27/98 demon_shredder Akira Kurosawa is a movie magician. This movie rocks, BIG time. 5 stars
12/14/98 Binky So worth the time it takes to watch. this is an experience that set film today up as it is. 5 stars
12/14/98 Jules A movie everyone would love if they only took the time and energy to understand it. 5 stars
IF YOU'VE SEEN THIS FILM, RATE IT!
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USA
  24-Apr-1954 (NR)
  DVD: 05-Sep-2006

UK
  N/A

Australia
  N/A (PG)




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