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| With: Takashi Shimura, Toshiro Mifune, Yoshio Inaba, Seiji Miyaguchi, Minoru Chiaki |
| Written by: Akira Kurosawa, Shinobu Hashimoto, Hideo Oguni |
| Directed by: Akira Kurosawa |
| MPAA Rating: Unrated |
| Language: Japanese with English subtitles |
| Running Time: 207 |
| Date: 26/04/1954 |
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The Magnificent Kurosawa
By Jeffrey M. Anderson No other Japanese filmmaker so inspired, or was inspired by, Western culture more than Akira Kurosawa. Perhaps that's why Seven Samurai (1954), an epic, 3 1/2 hour action movie remains so popular in the US.
The movie takes place in a small farming village that is continually being raided by brigands. The villagers try to hire a band of warriors to help defend them. Unfortunately, they have nothing to offer but a bit of rice. Once Takashi Shimura (Ikiru) signs up, the other six samurai protectors fall into place, including the legendary Toshiro Mifune (Rashomon, Hell in the Pacific).
The action scenes in this movie are virtually unequaled by any other movie in history, even if some of the "waiting-around" scenes grow tiresome. Toshiro is great to watch, but look for Takashi's understated performance as well, rubbing the back of his shaved neck absently while deep in thought. Make sure to stick around for the last 10 minutes and the final battle that takes place in the rain and mud with Toshiro's battle-crazed devil-gleam in his eyes.
Seven Samurai is an amazing film, but ranks slightly below the brilliant Rashomon and Ikiru. The Criterion Collection's essential DVD marks the first time home viewers can watch the entire film without changing tapes or turning over laserdiscs. It comes with a commentary track by scholar Michael Jeck and a trailer. In 2010, Criterion released a deluxe Blu-Ray edition.