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Seven Samurai (1954)

aka Seven Samurai

"The Mighty Warriors Who Became the Seven National Heroes of a Small Town"

Directed By: 
Details: 207 mins · Japanese

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Cast:

Small Kikuchiyo
Small Kambei Shimada
No_movie_poster Gorobei Katayama
No_movie_poster Kyuzo
Small Heihachi Hayashida
No_movie_poster Shichiroji
No_movie_poster Katsushiro Okamoto
No_movie_poster Shino
No_movie_poster Rikichi's Wife
No_movie_poster Manzô - Father of Shino
No_movie_poster Mosuke
No_movie_poster Yohei
No_movie_poster Rikichi
No_movie_poster Gisaku, the Old Man
No_movie_poster Kidnapper
No_movie_poster Gisaku

Crew:

Small Akira Kurosawa Director
No_movie_poster Shinobu Hashimoto Screenplay
No_movie_poster Hideo Oguni Screenplay
No_movie_poster Sôjirô Motoki Producer
Small Akira Kurosawa Writer
Small Akira Kurosawa Editing

Taglines:

"The Mighty Warriors Who Became the Seven National Heroes of a Small Town"

Plot:

A gang of marauding bandits approaches a mountain farming village, but their chief recognizes they have ransacked this village before, and decides it is best to spare it until the harvest in several months. A villager overhears this. The farmers go to their elder, who declares that they should hire samurai to help defend the village. Since they have nothing to offer but food, the elder tells them to "find hungry samurai."

Several men go to the city, but are turned away by every samurai they ask. They watch as an experienced samurai, Kambei, deftly rescues a young boy taken hostage by a thief. Impressed, a young samurai named Katsushir? asks to become his disciple. Kambei insists that he walk with him as a friend. The farmers are overjoyed when Kambei agrees to help them. With Katsushir?'s assistance, he recruits four more masterless samurai: Gorobei Katayama, clever and good natured; Heihachi, a good-humored samurai with mediocre swordsmanship; Shichir?ji, an old friend of Kambei's; and Ky?z?, a taciturn master swordsman. Although Kambei had judged that seven samurai would be necessary, time is running short. The villagers beg him to take Katsushir? and, after some prodding, he agrees. The jokester Kikuchiyo, whom Kambei had rejected, follows them, ignoring their attempts to drive him away.

When the samurai arrive, the villagers cower in their homes. The samurai feel insulted by their cold reception. Suddenly, the alarm is raised; the villagers, fearing that the bandits have returned, beg the new arrivals to protect them. Kikuchiyo, who raised the false alarm, rebukes the villagers for their poor behavior. The samurai accept him, bringing their number to seven. The villagers offer white rice to the samurai, the best they have, while they eat millet.

As they prepare, the two groups slowly come to trust each other. However, when the samurai discover that the villagers have murdered and robbed fleeing samurai in the past, they become angry. Kikuchiyo castigates his comrades for ignoring the hardships that the farmers have to overcome to survive, including harassment from the warrior class. This reveals his origins as a farmer's son to Kambei. The anger the samurai felt turns to shame.

They construct fortifications and train the farmers for battle. Katsushir?, the youngest samurai, begins a relationship with Shino, who had been forced to masquerade as a boy by her father to protect her from the supposedly lustful samurai.

As the time for the raid approaches, two bandit scouts are killed, while another is captured and forced to reveal the location of their camp. Three of the samurai, guided by Rikichi, strike preemptively. Many bandits are killed, but Heihachi is slain by gunfire. When a woman emerges from the bandits' burning house, she sees Rikichi and runs back inside to perish in the flames. Rikichi reveals that this was his wife, who had been kidnapped and raped.

When the bandits attack, they are confounded by the new fortifications. Several are killed attempting to scale the barricades or cross the moats. However, they possess three dangerous muskets. Ky?z? sets out on his own and returns with a musket. A jealous Kikuchiyo later abandons his post to get another musket, leaving his contingent of farmers leaderless. Although he succeeds, the bandits attack his post, overwhelming and killing some of the farmers. Kambei is forced to send reinforcements, leaving the main post undermanned when the bandit chief leads a charge against this position. Although they are repelled, Gorobei is shot and killed. Yohei is also slain.

Kambei's stratagem is to allow one bandit to enter through a gap in the fortifications, block the rest with a "wall" of spears, and kill the lone enemy. This succeeds several times.

On the second night, Kambei instructs them to prepare for a final, decisive battle. However, in the midst of planning Shino's father, Manzo, catches her with Katsushir? and beats Shino until Kambei intervenes and questions Manzo. Katsushir? hangs his head in shame while the rest of the Samurai and villagers look on. As it begins to rain, everyone goes back to their posts. When morning breaks, Kambei orders his forces to allow the remaining bandits in. Most of the attackers are killed, but their leader takes refuge in a hut unseen. In what is portrayed as a dishonorable act, he shoots Ky?z? from the hut, killing him. A despondent Katsushir? seeks to avenge his hero, but an enraged Kikuchiyo charges ahead of him, only to be shot himself. Kikuchiyo kills the bandit chief before dying. Kambei and Shichir?ji sadly observe "we've survived once again".

Afterward, the three surviving samurai watch the villagers happily planting the next crop. They reflect on the relationship between the warrior and farming classes: though they have won the battle, they have lost their friends with little to show for it. "Again we are defeated," Kambei muses. "The winners are those farmers. Not us."

Release Dates:

Theatrical : 1956-11-19 : United States of America