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Samurai Banners

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DVD 1-Disc Version
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Product Details

  • Actors: Toshirô Mifune, Yoshiko Sakuma, Kinnosuke Nakamura, Yûjirô Ishihara, Katsuo Nakamura
  • Directors: Hiroshi Inagaki
  • Writers: Shinobu Hashimoto, Takeo Kunihiro, Yasushi Inoue
  • Producers: Toshirô Mifune, Hiroshi Inagaki, Tomoyuki Tanaka, Yoshio Nishikawa
  • Format: Color, Subtitled, Widescreen, NTSC
  • Language: Japanese
  • Subtitles: English
  • Region: Region 1 (U.S. and Canada only. Read more about DVD formats.)
  • Aspect Ratio: 2.35:1
  • Number of discs: 1
  • Rated: Unrated
  • Studio: ANIMEIGO
  • DVD Release Date: July 12, 2005
  • Run Time: 165 minutes
  • Average Customer Review: 3.7 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (21 customer reviews)
  • ASIN: B00095VKCS
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #403,515 in Movies & TV (See Top 100 in Movies & TV)
  • Learn more about "Samurai Banners" on IMDb

Special Features


Editorial Reviews

The landmark film that ushered in Japan's "golden age" of filmmaking!

Mifune Toshiro stars in this epic adventure story, based on a best selling historical novel. Yamamoto Kansuke (Mifune) is a fearsome warrior who has risen to the position of Clan Chamberlain through trickery and deceit, only to learn the true meaning of honor when he and his Lord, Takeda, fall in love with the same woman.

Set against the background of great conflict, Samurai Banners is one of Mifune's greatest films!

DVD Features:
Aspect Ratio: 2.35:1
Presented in Anamorphic Widescreen
Japanese with English Subtitles

Bonus Material Includes:
Original Theatrical Trailers
Image Gallery
Character Biographies
Interactive Program Notes

Customer Reviews

It got worse as the movie progressed.
David M. Chosid
That in fact becomes a key of Kansuke's relationship to his other blood goal besides the military domination - his love for the Princess Yu.
It's grandiose in scale, costume, and character.
Ronin Dave

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

24 of 24 people found the following review helpful By A Customer on January 11, 2003
Format: VHS Tape Verified Purchase
I liked this movie a lot. It may not have the depth of a Kurosawa samurai epic. But the film's director, Hiroshi Inagaki was no slouch. Anyone who's seen his other movies (Chushingura, Samurai Trilogy, just to name a few) knows he's very adept at handling sweeping dramas with large casts of characters.
The Japanese title of this movie is Furinkazan which refers to the Kanji characters on the banner flown by the Takeda clan. It describes the military strategy of the clan's leader, Shingen - swift as the wind (fu), quiet as a forest (rin), aggressive like fire (ka), and stable like a mountain (zan). I guess that's a little too much to put in an English title!
The battle scenes in this movie are pretty good. But I also liked the story of unrequitted love involving two of the main characters, Kansuke Yamamoto and Princess Yu. Toshiro Mifune plays Kansuke, an actual historical figure who was a military strategist for the Takeda clan. Yoshiko Sakuma gives a spirited performance as the beautiful and sometimes feisty princess. Some Western viewers may find the movie's love story a little strange since there are no open declarations of affection, and no hugging and kissing. This is a typical old-fashioned Japanese romance.
The movie reaches its climax at Kawanakajima, the scene of one of the most famous battles in Japanese history. It was there that Kansuke made a huge military blunder that nearly spelled doom for the Takeda clan.
If you like epic war dramas with a little romance thrown in, then you might want to give this movie a try.
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24 of 25 people found the following review helpful By lordhoot on August 8, 2005
Format: DVD
I am bit surprised to read the two previous reviews. The AnimEigo edition of Samurai Banners proves to be well presented and its subtitles with its different colors to see who's talking proves to be one of the highlights. This movie got excellent subtitles!! Maybe that reviewer who didn't get the subtitles should check his DVD player. He may have turned something off.

I enjoyed watching Samurai Banners despite of its 163 minutes or so length and the fact that its more of a samurai drama film with a war theme then anything else. Toshiro Mifune who have been considered as Japan's verison of John Wayne is well cast in this movie as it followed the destiny of the Takeda clan through many campaigns. For those who may care, Takeda clan also featured in the film, Kagamusha. Mifune's character, Yamamoto Kansuke (real historical figure), joined the clan, and it helped lead it to many victories, gaining the trust and confidence of his lord and along the way, fall in love with his lord's concubine. The movie is well acted, scripted and directed although fans of bloody battles may have to look else where.

Although the movie seem to dragged here and there but overall, despite of the length, the film moves with great deal of interest. The audience will be caught up in the going on of the Takeda clan and its struggles as they faced stronger foes as the movie goes on. For any Mifune fan, this movie should be on the mandatory buy list. Although Mifune's fortune fell after he left his partnership with Kurosawa, this movie still showed him at his best.

There are couple of interesting extras in this package. There is a one about character biographies which should be watch before the movie since it introduced the viewer to all the major characters of the movie.
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16 of 16 people found the following review helpful By Roninsama on January 4, 2005
Format: VHS Tape Verified Purchase
This superb period film does not make the mistake of concentrating on either of the two warring lords Takeda and/or Kagetora but instead focus' on Takeda's most celebrated general Kansuke Yamamoto (Toshiro Mifune), who was the brain behind the victories anyway. His story is much more interesting, both as one of a man driven by a wildly ambitious dream, and also one consumed with tragic love. On either level this film works wonders.

Set in Japan between 1543 and 1562 (the period of Warring States) SAMURAI BANNERS is an epic film! The costumes are impeccable, the film is engrossing and I didn't even realize it was almost three hours long. The battles are nicely done, but not overindulging. (For people who come for the violent samurai films, SAMURAI BANNERS will be sure to disappoint.) Toshiro Mifune is great, even with a shaved head!

The English subtitles by AnimEgo were superb, probably one of the best I've seen, they even had different colors for different characters. They also provided running explanations for some of the terms used in conversation. Very complete, very nicely done, and nary a grammatical error.

I can't wait for this film to appear on DVD, the VHS transfer, although decent, cannot do the colors justice.
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6 of 6 people found the following review helpful By Ernest Jagger on January 1, 2007
Format: DVD
"Samurai Banners," is an epic samurai drama film clocking in at almost 3 hours long. The film, directed by Hiroshi Inagaki, is set in Japan between 1543 to 1562. It is a time of constant strife. Some of the viewers noted that their DVD does not have subtitles. There must have been a problem with their versions, as the one I own has perfect subtitles, which are in different colors to allow the viewer to see who is talking. And although the film is long, it is definitely well worth the purchase. The legendary Toshiro Mifune gives a fine performance as Kansuke Yamamoto: One of Japan's great Generals during the wars of medieval Japan.

Kansuke Yamamoto (Toshiro Mifune) was a military strategist for the Takeda clan. And although the film is based on the life of Takeda Shinken, whose reputation is even greater today in Japan, than that of either Tokugawa or Toyotomi, the film gives a great look at his greatest warrior General: General Kansuke Yamamoto. The films climax is very good, where the battle of Kawanakajima [a historic battle in Japanese history] nearly cost the Takeda clan its power, due to a disastrous mistake by Kansuke Yamamoto. The costumes in the film are great, and compliment the great look of medieval Japan.

The film will give you the viewer a very good look at what the cause of the wars during medieval Japan were like, and why they were fought. Among the DVD specials inside the disc, include a biography of the films characters and another dealing with the wars of medieval Japan. And why they fought. It is advisable to view this prior to viewing the film, as it will give you the viewer a better understanding of the nature of these wars: an overview which will really help you understand the historic events of these times.
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