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The Hidden Fortress (The Criterion Collection) [Blu-ray + DVD] (1958)

Toshirô Mifune , Minoru Chiaki , Akira Kurosawa  |  NR |  Blu-ray
4.9 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (20 customer reviews)

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Product Details

  • Actors: Toshirô Mifune, Minoru Chiaki, Kamatari Fujiwara, Susumu Fujita
  • Directors: Akira Kurosawa
  • Format: Multiple Formats, Blu-ray, Subtitled, Widescreen
  • Language: Japanese
  • Subtitles: English
  • Region: Region A/1 (Read more about DVD/Blu-ray formats.)
  • Aspect Ratio: 2.35:1
  • Number of discs: 2
  • Rated: NR (Not Rated)
  • Studio: The Criterion Collection
  • DVD Release Date: March 18, 2014
  • Run Time: 139 minutes
  • Average Customer Review: 4.9 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (20 customer reviews)
  • ASIN: B00HE01030
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #18,240 in Movies & TV (See Top 100 in Movies & TV)

Editorial Reviews

A grand-scale adventure as only Akira Kurosawa (Seven Samurai) could make one, The Hidden Fortress stars the inimitable Toshiro Mifune (Yojimbo) as a general charged with guarding his defeated clan's princess (a fierce Misa Uehara) as the two smuggle royal treasure across hostile territory. Accompanying them are a pair of bumbling, conniving peasants who may or may not be their friends. This rip-roaring ride is among the director's most beloved films and was a primary influence on George Lucas's Star Wars. The Hidden Fortress delivers Kurosawa's trademark deft blend of wry humor, breathtaking action, and compassionate humanity.

Customer Reviews

Most Helpful Customer Reviews
40 of 43 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars One of my personal favorites of Kurasawa January 11, 2014
I just can't believe there's no review on this amazing movie. Incredible. Please look this movie up elsewhere online and read the reviews you can find. Even Rotten Tomatoes gives it 5 stars. Anything I write won't come close to some of the more insightful reviews on this fantastic movie. I will say this, the hilarious scenes starring the 2 peasants forced to accompany the General (the great Toshiro Mifune giving another one of his amazing performances) and the Princess throughout the movie were the inspiration for R2-D2 and C3PO in Star Wars. Pretty cool trivia fact. If you're put off by sub-titles, that's a shame. You're missing some of the greatest movies ever made by one of history's greatest directors. I can watch this or Kurasawa's Seven Samurai, Yojimbo, Ran, Throne of Blood, Kagemusha and Rashomon all day long. (Sorry, I couldn't pick just one once I started. And I'm know I left some out.) Of course, Seven Samurai is an all day long movie just by
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17 of 18 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Must Own For Any Kurosawa Fan! March 17, 2014
By zeb
Received my pre-order a day early from another retailer who had a better deal. I've been waiting a very long time for Criterion to release a blu-ray edition of this incredibly entertaining film. I must say, they did a stellar job of overhauling the visuals to a level this film has never even come close to. The clarity of the film's widescreen format with an aspect ratio of 2.39:1 is breathtaking. There will be two large black bars on top and bottom of the screen. It seems noticeably brighter and the contrast level is maxed out. You might want to tone down the brightness level a notch or two in order to make it easier on the eyes for the next 2 1/2 hrs. The blacks are deep and the visual integrity is near 3 dimensional. You won't get that fuzzy low rez blur that you get from lower quality formats. The close-ups of faces are incredibly detailed to the point where you can see their pores, sweat, wrinkles, and grunge. The foreground as well as the background is crisp and detailed. It's hard to believe such a dramatic makeover could be possible with a film nearly 60 yrs old. The subtitles are brighter and much easier to read. There is noticeable grain throughout the film which is intended and doesn't detract from the enjoyment rather it's appreciative. Don't see how this film can get any better.

There are 3 audio options; original monaural, 3.0 perspecta simulated surround, and a commentary from the Japanese film scholar Stephen Prince. The commentary is very insightful and highly entertaining. Other options include the making of the film called "It is wonderful to create" and a short interview with George Lucas; how he was influenced by Kurosawa in SD quality.
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18 of 20 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Favorite Japanese movie January 18, 2014
I will probably get the blu-ray version. Already have the DVD. Best Kurosawa movie and one of Mifune's best. I have over 300 Japanese movies and this is my favorite. If you are looking for a samurai movie with a lot of fighting scenes, this isn't the movie for you. Lucas has admitted that he got the basic idea for Star Wars from this movie. The main plot is a general trying to take a princess through enemy territory to get her home with the help of two bumbling peasants. The two peasants provide most the comedy with Mifune playing a stoic samurai leader. Great movie and I highly recommend getting it.
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars The Hidden Fortress March 19, 2014
Verified Purchase
The movie was great, the Cast, Directing, Photography story line, a crystal clear Picture.
What more can you ask of a movie.
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Great! June 26, 2014
Verified Purchase
This is the clearest, sharpest print of this film I have seen, the new 2k scan reveals much more detail, also, the audio is much improved over the DVD release.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Outstanding! August 5, 2014
By grafdog
I was debating whether or not to pick up blu-rays of Mr Kurosawa's films. Since I've seen Hidden Fortress and most of his films on the big screen, and I own the complete collection on dvd, I wondered how many more times could I watch some of these great movies? After picking up HF and high and low, I know i'll be watching them all over again, several times.

The print is the best I have seen, and the 2k resolution is really stunning especially with the revolt of the slaves scene. With Kurosawas deep focus there are so many faces in the background, previously represented by a grey pixel or two on dvd, that now have visible expressions!!

My only thing is the translations for a lot of these movies aren't as good as the old vhs translation subtitles, imo. I would like an option of the old subs along with the new translations.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Glorious Hi-Def Presentation! June 25, 2014
Verified Purchase
Hidden Fortress is extremely entertaining. It offers a mixture of humor, boisterous actions, and moving drama. I already owned the DVD version. But this blu ray edition is a big step up. It showcases clearly the fine details of landscapes and sets along with the expertly staged background activities. It also includes a commentary by Stephen Prince, and a behind the scene documentary which were not available on the previous Criterion DVD.
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2 of 3 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Inspired by the Movies of John Ford March 19, 2014
“The Hidden Fortress” takes place in a war-ravaged feudal Japan. Two peasants, Tahei (Minoru Chiaki) and Matakishi (Kamatari Fujiwara) have escaped from a prisoner-of-war camp and are heading home when they encounter General Rokurota Makabe (Toshiro Mifune). The General tells the men he knows where a large amount of gold can be found, and enlists their help transporting Princess Yuki (Misa Uehara) to safety. With Yuki disguised as a mute farming girl and the gold hidden in bundles of sticks, the small group travels the countryside avoiding enemy soldiers except when the General is forced to take action.

Director Akira Kurosawa’s primary inspiration is American films, particularly those of John Ford. “The Hidden Fortress” is different from many of the director’s films in that it is as much a comedy as an adventure movie. The story is told from the point of view of secondary characters. Tahei and Matakishi are bumbling and greedy and provide lots of the humor. According to George Lucas, these characters were the inspiration for C3PO and R2D2 in “Star Wars.”

Bonus features on the 2-disc Dual-Format Blu-ray/DVD edition include audio commentary, a 2003 making-of documentary, a 2001 interview with George Lucas about Kurosawa, and a booklet featuring a critical essay. The film is in Japanese, with English subtitles. The Criterion Collection releases continue to be the most elegantly packaged with the best quality pictures, particularly of older films.
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Most Recent Customer Reviews
5.0 out of 5 stars Five Stars
Great to have this in Blu-ray!
Published 2 months ago by Rafe Martin
5.0 out of 5 stars Five Stars
Excellent product. Excellent service.
Published 3 months ago by Pyramid
5.0 out of 5 stars A Kurosawa classic
While this isn't my favorite Kurosawa film it is a classic and an eventual must see for fans of his films. The Blu-Ray picture is great and the box is awesome as well. Read more
Published 4 months ago by Brian Lynch
5.0 out of 5 stars A long time ago in a kingdom far, far away...
It surprised me when I re-watched this recently how many set pieces were in a film I didn't used to think of as flamboyant or virtuosic. Read more
Published 4 months ago by The Man in the Hathaway Shirt
5.0 out of 5 stars Love It!
Mifune is outstanding. The Criterion remastering of this classic is outstanding. I very much enjoy this genre of film and this is an excellent representation of the era of film... Read more
Published 5 months ago by G. Warnock
5.0 out of 5 stars Magnifico Kurosawa on stunning Blu-Ray
One of my all-time favorite movies has finally been given the dazzling Blu-Ray treatment that it deserves. Read more
Published 5 months ago by JLR
5.0 out of 5 stars Wow!!
What a great Blu-ray video restoration for a old masterful Kurosawa film!! This is a wonderful Samurai story by Akira Kurosawa that is timeless and stands on its own as a... Read more
Published 5 months ago by Blueman1
Published 5 months ago by david s t saucedo David T. Saucedo
5.0 out of 5 stars The Hidden Fortress
Criterion did a very good job at bringing this up to blu-ray level. The movie itself is one i've bought in VHS format, and then upgraded to DVD and couldn't do without the next... Read more
Published 6 months ago by namwan kalong
5.0 out of 5 stars Another great Kurosawa film - but...
I'd bought the discontinued Criterion 2001 DVD release when it came out, and pre-ordered the BD of this remarkable film as soon as it was advertised. Read more
Published 7 months ago by Doctor John
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