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Rashomon (1950)

Toshiro Mifune , Fumiko Homma , Akira Kurosawa  |  Unrated |  DVD
4.5 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (210 customer reviews)

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Product Details

  • Actors: Toshiro Mifune, Fumiko Homma, Daisuke Kato, Machiko Kyo, Minoru Chiaki
  • Directors: Akira Kurosawa
  • Format: Multiple Formats, AC-3, Black & White, Dolby, NTSC, 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 Collection
  • DVD Release Date: September 9, 2008
  • Run Time: 88 minutes
  • Average Customer Review: 4.5 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (210 customer reviews)
  • ASIN: B001BEK8E2
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #30,365 in Movies & TV (See Top 100 in Movies & TV)

Special Features


Editorial Reviews

Product Description

The murder of a man and the rape of his wife in a forest grove seem from four different perspectives. Toshiro Mifune explodes as the feral bandit who may or may not be guilty of these crimes in Akira Kurosawa's meditation on the nature of truth a classic, humane allegory that transformed narrative cinema as we know it and turned its director into an international sensation.


An artistic achievement of such distinct character that it is difficult to estimate it alongside conventional story films. --New York Times

Customer Reviews

Most Helpful Customer Reviews
183 of 192 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
tutto bene;grazie.
Published 20 days ago by Giuseppe Frega
5.0 out of 5 stars Rashomon = *5* star movie
A Classic plain and simple, the movie tells of the events of a killing but there are
four or five different stories, and everyone involved tells it in a different way
to... Read more
Published 1 month ago by Devils.Advocate666
1.0 out of 5 stars One Star
Bootleg poor quality incomplete copy.
Published 1 month ago by Anna
5.0 out of 5 stars Five Stars
Great classic film
Published 1 month 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 2 months 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 2 months ago by Nancy L.
5.0 out of 5 stars Rashomon
Fine tale told from four observers, which are, naturally, all different!
Published 3 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 3 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 4 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 5 months ago by Carolyn
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Topic From this Discussion
In your opinion how do the "Essential Art House" DVD's compare....
From what I understand it is the same exact transfer as the Criterion versions of the films except it's a bare bone release stripped of all the extras. So it's basically Criterion on a budget. If all you care about is the film itself then it's a good deal.
Jan 13, 2010 by Kimberly |  See all 2 posts
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