Yojimbo/Sanjuro: Two Samurai Films by Akira Kurosawa [Criterion Collection] [2 Discs] [Blu-ray]

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Special Features

  • Audio commentaries by Kurosawa scholar Stephen Prince
  • Documentaries on the making of Yojimbo and Sanjuro, created as part of the toho masterworks series Akira Kurosawa: it is wonderful to create
  • Theatrical teasers and trailers
  • Stills galleries of behind-the-scenes photos
  • Plus: booklet featuring essays by film writers Alexander Sesonske and Michael Sragow and comments from Kurosawa and members of his cast and crews


Toshiro Mifune portrays a Samurai who finds himself in the middle of a feud-torn Japanese village. Neither side is particularly honorable, but Mifune is hungry and impoverished, so he agrees to work as bodyguard (or Yojimbo) for a silk merchant (Kamatari Fujiwara) against a sake merchant (Takashi Shimura). He then pretends to go to work for the other, the better to let the enemies tear each other apart. Imprisoned for his "treachery," he escapes just in time to watch the two warring sides wipe each other out. This was his plan all along, and now that peace has been restored, he leaves the village for further exploits. Yes, Yojimbo was the prototype for the Clint Eastwood "Man with No Name" picture A FISTFUL OF DOLLARS (1964). The difference is that Fistful relies on Eastwood for its success, whereas Yojimbo scores on every creative level, from director Akira Kurosawa to cinematographer Kazuo Miyagawa to Mifune's classic lead performance. ~ Hal Erickson, Rovi

Set in the mid-19th century when the disintegration of a rigid social structure was turning the once wealthy into paupers, or vice-versa, this kinetic drama by acclaimed Akira Kurosawa features the hero Sanjuro (Toshiro Mifune), one of many samurai whose once traditional positions were fast disappearing. In this tale of false perceptions and truth, of honor and dishonor, Sanjuro is a character who captures and holds attention from the moment he appears on screen. When he arrives in a small city, he discovers that a band of nine men are anxious to overthrow the corrupt ruling elite. Physically strong and agile, mentally sharp and clear-headed, Sanjuro still has an deep commitment to justice and honor underneath his dirty, abrasive, and cynical exterior. The nine men may doubt his nobility, but that is because they are only looking skin deep. While the sword fighting and action scenes are memorable, it is Toshiro Mifune's characterization and Kurosawa's camera eye that enhance the story. ~ Eleanor Mannikka, Rovi

Cast & Crew

  • Toshiro Mifune
    Toshiro Mifune - Sanjuro Kuwabatake
  • Eijiro Tono
    Eijiro Tono - Gonji the Sake Seller
  • Tatsuya Nakadai
    Tatsuya Nakadai - Unosuke
  • Isuzu Yamada
    Isuzu Yamada - Orin
  • Image coming soon
    Seizaburo Kawazu - Seibei

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