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Rashomon (The Criterion Collection) (1950)

Toshir˘ Mifune , Machiko Ky˘ , Akira Kurosawa  |  Unrated |  DVD
4.5 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (207 customer reviews)

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Product Details

  • Actors: Toshir˘ Mifune, Machiko Ky˘, Masayuki Mori, Takashi Shimura, Minoru Chiaki
  • Directors: Akira Kurosawa
  • Writers: Akira Kurosawa, Ryűnosuke Akutagawa, Shinobu Hashimoto
  • Producers: Masaichi Nagata, Minoru Jingo
  • Format: Multiple Formats, Black & White, NTSC, Special Edition, Subtitled
  • Language: Japanese
  • Subtitles: English
  • Region: Region 1 (U.S. and Canada only. Read more about DVD formats.)
  • Aspect Ratio: 1.33:1
  • Number of discs: 1
  • Rated: Unrated
  • Studio: Criterion
  • DVD Release Date: March 26, 2002
  • Run Time: 88 minutes
  • Average Customer Review: 4.5 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (207 customer reviews)
  • ASIN: B00003CXC6
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #41,175 in Movies & TV (See Top 100 in Movies & TV)
  • Learn more about "Rashomon (The Criterion Collection)" on IMDb

Special Features

  • New high-definition digital transfer with restored image and sound
  • Video introduction by Robert Altman
  • Excerpts from The World of Kazuo Miyagawa, a documentary film about Rashomon's cinematographer
  • Reprints of the Rashomon source stories, Ryunosuke Akutagawa's "In A Grove" and "Rashomon"
  • Akira Kurosawa on Rashomon: a reprinted excerpt from his book Something Like An Autobiography

Editorial Reviews

Brimming with action while incisively examining the nature of truth, Rashomon is perhaps the finest film ever to investigate the philosophy of justice. Through an ingenious use of camera and flashbacks, Kurosawa reveals the complexities of human nature as four people recount different versions of the story of a man's murder and the rape of his wife. Toshiro Mifune gives another commanding performance in the eloquent masterwork that revolutionized film language and introduced Japanese cinema to the world.

Customer Reviews

Most Helpful Customer Reviews
182 of 191 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Truth & Illusion. March 30, 2002
Format:DVD|Verified Purchase
If you have never seen this film, you will come to it and find it very familiar. That's because Rashomon has become part of the world's consciousness & lexicon. It's story of an action involving several participants, each with their own differing version of the truth, has been elaborated and riffed-on by many others since it appeared on the world's stage in the 50's.

So, it is an old movie, often imitated. And yet, I found it fresh and involving and well worth a look. As Robert Altman says on the DVD extras, many of the camera techniques, particularly shooting directly at the sun and allowing lens flare, were taboo-breaking and radically new when this film appeared. Now, that is put in as a joke in Shrek.

So you come to Rashomon not to be overwhelmed with its "newness" and the refreshing change of first encountering Japanese cinema and acting styles. No, you come to Rashomon as to an old master, to appreciate its lasting impression of the universality of human foibles and passions and the illusory nature of truth.

A rape and murder have occured in a woods. We hear and see different versions of the same encounter. Who is telling the truth? Is there an absolute objective truth, or does every teller of the tale inherently only tell the truth as he sees it? And if everyone is a "liar" and there is no absolute truth, what is the point of anything?

Don't let the heavy questions mislead you. Rashomon moves quickly, fluidly and gracefully, telling its story with economy and, to me, humor. Much is made of the dark philosophy underneath the theme, but I find great sardonic humor in the film.
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137 of 147 people found the following review helpful
Length: 0:27 Mins

Criterion's 2012 Region-A Blu-ray of RASHOMON is the result of a 2008 digital restoration of the 1951 Japanese classic. The original negative of the film was destroyed in the 1970s. The next best surviving material is a 1962 35mm print, which was used for this restoration. The print was digitally scanned at 4K resolution in 2008, followed by a frame-by-frame digital cleanup. The result, as presented on the 2012 Blu-ray and its corresponding DVD, is an improvement in terms of better-looking black and white level, less flickering, a little more picture on all four sides of the screen (about 30 pixels more on the left and right sides, and less on top and bottom), and, of course, more details on the high-def picture on the Blu-ray. The cleanup of the blemishes and scratches yielded a very nice picture, but then the old 2002 Criterion DVD looks pretty clean already. One major improvement from the old DVD to the new Blu-ray/DVD is the audio. As I wrote in my original review, the 2002 DVD sounds very hissy. The 2012 Blu-ray/DVD, however, has that remedied big time. I uploaded a video clip comparison (see comment section for the link) so you may listen for yourself. The new editions have very little hiss. But the underlying audio is still showing its age. Dialogs are still not the crispest, even though a high bit-rate LPCM 1.0 is used.

The 2012 Blu-ray & DVD include all the old bonus features, and a booklet with all the essays found on the 2002 DVD. On the Blu-ray, all the video extras are presented in hi-def 1080i picture, even though the source material seems to be originally in standard-def (hence, upconversion).

Two new bonuses are on the 2012 Blu-ray/DVD.
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62 of 64 people found the following review helpful
Format:DVD|Verified Purchase
Somewhat curiously, Japanese critics were not enthusiastic about RASHOMON when it was released in 1950 Japan. Today, however, RASHOMON is generally considered to be the film that introduced both master director Akira Kurosawa and Japanese cinema to the west; it is also often cited as the film that prompted The Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences to create an award for Best Foreign Language film. It is widely regarded as a masterwork of world cinema.

Set in 12th Century Japan, the film's premise is at once both very simple and very complex. A man is found dead in a forrest, and several people are brought forward to give testimony in the matter. In some respects their accounts agree--but in numerous others, some obvious and some very subtle, their stories differ. As each character gives his or her version of events, the various differences pile higher and higher, leaving the viewer to wonder at the motivations involved.

Has each person simply interpreted the same facts in different ways? Do they deliberately lie in order to protect themselves? Are the differences in their stories deliberate or subconcious? The film offers no easy answers. Some have criticized the film for seeming to state that there is no such thing as ultimate truth, but RASHOMON is more complex than this: it is essentially a meditation on our inability, be it deliberate or unintentional, to reach more than an approximation of ultimate truth due to the very nature of humanity itself.

Much has been written about the look of the film, which is indeed memorable. Filmed by Kazuo Miyagawa, it presents the forrest as a living, breathing entity; the images are powerful, the editing remarkable.
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Most Recent Customer Reviews
5.0 out of 5 stars Five Stars
Great classic film
Published 22 days ago by Bill
5.0 out of 5 stars Excellent
Just three words : Kurosawa and Mifune. I must have about 7 or 8 of their films set in the Samurai era and several more in modern times. Can't be beat.
Published 1 month ago by Molly
5.0 out of 5 stars Toshiro's the man
Love Kurosawa movies and adore Toshiro Mifune. The added commentary provides insight into the genius of Kurosawa. I have five Kurosawa/Mifune movies and watch them over and over.
Published 1 month ago by Nancy L.
5.0 out of 5 stars Rashomon
Fine tale told from four observers, which are, naturally, all different!
Published 2 months ago by Michael Richardson
5.0 out of 5 stars Five Stars
A definite must for the collection of the world lit professional.
Published 2 months ago by D. S. Kempf
5.0 out of 5 stars Great
Great movie. I stopped reading the subtitles after a while and just watched it. Great acting, fast paced, and easy to understand why it's a classic.
Published 3 months ago by Rockharpered
4.0 out of 5 stars A Period Piece
This movie clearly was groundbreaking in its day. You must understand the sexism of the time along with the needs of duty and loyalty of the Japanese. Read more
Published 3 months ago by Carolyn
5.0 out of 5 stars Timeless Classic
I would think most movie buffs have either seen or at least know the story of Rashomon. The film brilliantly tells the story of a murder of a man and the rape of his wife from the... Read more
Published 4 months ago by Brent Siegel
5.0 out of 5 stars One of Kurusawa's Best
This is a Classic film about how people deviate from the truth because of various ulterior motives ( a real who done it ?). Everyone has a different story about the same incident. Read more
Published 4 months ago by (Mr.) Rene Pineda
5.0 out of 5 stars Thank God for Criterion!
I'm currently replacing all my old VHS tapes and older DVD's of great Japanese movies. I saw a lot of these films when they were in first release in the US! Read more
Published 4 months ago by DAVID E HALL
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Topic From this Discussion
Has anyone compared a Criterion DVD to one of the new Janus "Art House...
I have seen both versions of several movies, and the movie itself is exactly the same quality. The only difference is the Janus "Art House Essentials" releases are cheaper because they do not have all the extras that the Criterion releases have. In fact, Criterion is the same company... Read More
Aug 6, 2012 by Baron von Charizard |  See all 3 posts
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