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

  • SKU: 8229464
  • Release Date: 01/23/2007
  • Rating: NR
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Ratings & Reviews

Overall Customer Rating:
100% of customers would recommend this product to a friend (2 out of 2)

Special Features

  • All-new, restored high-definition transfers
  • Optional Dolby Digital 3.0 soundtracks, preserving the original Perspecta simulated stereo effects
  • Audio commentaries by film historian and 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 trailers and teasers
  • Stills galleries of behind-the-scenes photos
  • New and improved English subtitle translations
  • Booklets featuring essays by critics Alexander Sesonske and Michael Sragow and notes from Kurosawa and his cast and crew


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

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

Cast & Crew

  • Toshiro Mifune
    Toshiro Mifune - Sanjuro Tsubaki
  • Yuzo Kayama
    Yuzo Kayama - Ioti Izaka
  • Tatsuya Nakadai
    Tatsuya Nakadai - Hanbei Muroto
  • Keiju Kobayashi
    Keiju Kobayashi - Spy
  • Image coming soon
    Reiko Dan - Chidori, Mutsuta's daughter

Overall customer rating

would recommend to a friend
  • Rating: 5 out of 5 stars

    Chanbara at its best

    • Top 100 ContributorTop 100 Contributor

    Akira Kurosawa is best known in the US for his samurai eipcs, and these are two of his best. 'Yojimbo' and 'Sanjuro' are part of the 'Chanbara' genre, and such films focus on action (the word 'Chanbara' is based on the sound of clashing swords). Both movies are played for humor rather than for drama. These two films follow a drifter played by the legendary Toshiro Mifune. We never learn anything about his past and he identifies himself as 'Sanjuro' (probably not his real name). In 'Yojimbo' (which means Bodyguard), he comes upon a small village plagued by to rival crime bosses. Sanjuro engineers various situations to bring the conflict to a head in an effort to get them to destroy one another. In 'Sanjuro', the sequel to 'Yojimbo', Sanjuro helps a group of samurai rescue thier kidnapped lord. Both films feature exciting sword duels with Sanjuro against a large number of sword swinging enemies. The duels are all deftly executed featuring brilliant directing and fight choreography. All of the action scenes show Kurosawa's amaing skill with the camera. In addition to the exciting action scenes, there is a lot humor in both movies, ranging from dark humor to scenes of incompetent criminal henchmen and none too bright samurai. Sanjuro himself is brilliantly portrayed by the great Toshiro Mifune, possibly one of the finest actors who ever lived. Mifune's screen presence is both electrifing and captivating. The extras in both movies give some keen insights into the making of both films. 'Sanjuro' features a segment on how the sound effects were created and both sets of DVD extras have inerviews with cast and crew members and other Kurosawa contemporaries. There are a few problems with the source material in a few places, but these problems are not persistent. The restoration process on both films was very well done, and the picture and sound is clear throughout all of both movies. But there are a couple scenes where the condition of the source material is apparent. This will not affect your enjoyment of either movie. These problems are just in a few isolated segments and not throughout. I recommend this for fans of Kurosawa or of Japanese cinema in general as well as for fans of action movies.

    I would recommend this to a friend

  • Rating: 5 out of 5 stars

    Akira Kurosawa classics!

    • Verified PurchaserVerified Purchase
    • My Best Buy® MemberMember

    No movie collection would be complete without these classics from Akira Kurosawa! Yojimbo & Sanjuro are easily 2 of the top 100 films of all time! Beautifully packaged and we'll worth the price!

    I would recommend this to a friend

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