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Seven Samurai (Criterion Collection Spine #2)

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Editorial Reviews

Product Description

A desperate village hires seven samurai to protect it from marauders in this crown jewel of Japanese cinema. No other film so seamlessly weaves philosophy and entertainment, delicate human emotions and relentless action. Featuring Japan's legendary star, the great Toshiro Mifune, Akira Kurosawa's Seven Samurai is an inspired epic a triumph of art, and an unforgettable three-hour ride.

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Unanimously hailed as one of the greatest masterpieces in the history of the motion picture, Seven Samurai has inspired countless films modeled after its basic premise. But Akira Kurosawa's classic 1954 action drama has never been surpassed in terms of sheer power of emotion, kinetic energy, and dynamic character development. The story is set in the 1600s, when the residents of a small Japanese village are seeking protection against repeated attacks by a band of marauding thieves. Offering mere handfuls of rice as payment, they hire seven unemployed "ronin" (masterless samurai), including a boastful swordsman (Toshiro Mifune) who is actually a farmer's son desperately seeking glory and acceptance. The samurai get acquainted with but remain distant from the villagers, knowing that their assignment may prove to be fatal. The climactic battle with the raiding thieves remains one of the most breathtaking sequences ever filmed. It's poetry in hyperactive motion and one of Kurosawa's crowning cinematic achievements. This is not a film that can be well served by any synopsis; it must be seen to be appreciated (accept nothing less than its complete 203-minute version) and belongs on the short list of any definitive home-video library. --Jeff Shannon


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None.

Product Details

  • Format: Dolby, NTSC, Black & White
  • 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: n/a
  • Average Customer Review: 4.7 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (784 customer reviews)
  • ASIN: 0780020685
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #68,442 in Movies & TV (See Top 100 in Movies & TV)
  • Learn more about "Seven Samurai (Criterion Collection Spine #2)" on IMDb

Customer Reviews

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

520 of 535 people found the following review helpful By mega Tron on September 13, 2006
Format: DVD
As a huge fan of older films and music, I am very aware of the many attempts of studios and record companies to reissue and re-market a previously released product in a new and improved format. While many of these reissues are often superior to their previously released counterparts, I have never been one to buy into the "upgrades". I feel that you don't need to have the best sound, the crispest picture, or the excess of supplemental materials in order to enjoy a film and have it affect you. In all my years collecting music CD's (particularly jazz) and DVDs, I think I've upgraded no more than three items from my collections.

I had been hearing for a while now about a new version of Seven Samurai coming out on Criterion that was supposed to have a brand new transfer from a recently discovered source that was to be greatly improved from any other previous edition. Being one of the most beloved films of all time (and one of mine as well), this has been creating alot of excitement in the world of film lovers. Being perfectly satisfied with my version of the Seven Samurai DVD from 1998, I had no plans to upgrade, but a side by side comparison on an internet site peaked my curiosity. And yesterday, being at a local retailer, I saw it on the shelf and decided to spring for it.

Let me tell you....if ANY of you are on the fence about this one, particularly those of you who are big fans of this amazing film, I advise you to go for it. The difference between this edition and the previous edition is so drastic that I could not believe my eyes and ears. I have never had this experience with a DVD before, but the improvements in picture and sound quality are SO great that I actually felt like I was watching Seven Samurai for the first time.
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400 of 425 people found the following review helpful By A Customer on December 26, 1998
Format: DVD
Lest anyone be dissuaded from purchasing this masterpiece because they believe it is not presented in its original aspect ratio, it should be known that THE 1:33:1 ASPECT RATIO ON THIS DVD IS CORRECT. Akira Kurosawa did not begin working with the widescreen format until later in the 1950s. Anyone who asserts otherwise is mistaken.
This is a true 5 star films that ANYONE will enjoy. It's particulary recommended to those who would never dream of watching a movie with subtitles. Anyone looking for a great action movie should take a chance on this. Unlike that copy of Armageddon you watched once and is now collecting dust on your shelf, this is something you'll watch again and again. For those who love John Ford-type westerns, The Seven Samurai puts a marvelous spin on that classic genre. Even if you don't like action movies, you'll respond to this movie. It offers genuine human drama with an insight into a different culture and time that becomes increasingly fascinating with repeated viewings.
Of course, it's also recommended to those who already know and love this film. The picture on this DVD is much sharper and crisper than the one you're used to seeing on that worn-out VHS tape. As a bonus, it has a very insightful secondary audio track with commentary from a Japanese film historian that will help you develop a new appreciation for one of your old favorites.
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313 of 334 people found the following review helpful By Lawrance Bernabo HALL OF FAMEVINE VOICE on January 19, 2002
Format: DVD
Akira Kurosawa made "Seven Samurai" because he wanted to make a real "jidai-geki," a real period-film that would present the past as meaningful, while also being an entertaining film. Kurosawa considered "Rashomon," the film rightfully credited with making the West aware of the Japanese cinema, with being neither. But in his attempt to make a truly "realistic" film, Kurosawa redefined the conflict at the heart of Japanese films. Before "Seven Samurai" this conflict was that of love versus duty, where the central character is compelled by fate to sacrifice what he loves in the name of duty. In "Seven Samurai" the focus remains on duty, yet the conflict is now between the real and the pretended. Calling yourself a samurai does not make you one, something proven time and time again in the film, from the test of skill turned deadly between Kyuzo (Seiji Miyaguchi) and the tall samurai to the first appearance of Kikuchiyo (Toshirô Mifune), with his stolen pedigree. Like Katshushiro (Ko Kimura), the youngster who wants to learn from the master, Kambei (Takashi Shimura), the audience is educated as to the true nature of the samurai.

For me this film deals with the heroic, albeit in realistic terms. I have shown the film in World Literature classes, after students have read Homer's "Iliad" and as they begin reading Cervantes' "Don Quixote." Within that context, compared to the brutal arrogance of Achilles and the gentle insanity of Quixote, the heroic qualities of the seven samurai become clear. Their inspiration extends to some of the villagers.
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63 of 65 people found the following review helpful By P. Ferrigno on October 31, 2000
Format: DVD Verified Purchase
After many years of only seeing this timeless work on VHS tape, to finally have and to own " The Seven Samurai " on DVD presented in 1:33:1 format, presented by the reknowned Criterion Collection...it is indeed a true pleasure for this film fan. Plus the bonus of the additional audio commentary by the Japanese film historian, Michael Jeck, provides a much deeper insight into the history of the production, it's messages and themes, Akira Kurosawa's directorial style, and the attitudes of Japanese film making in the early 1950's.
From the very first time I watched this film I was spellbound by it's power and glory....Kurosawa painstakingly assembled a team of actors with wonderful synergy and expression that are at the core of this unforgettable tale of hopes & dreams, death & revenge and honor & trust. Kurosawa's explosive and dynamic battle sequences, some filmed in driving rain, are equally balanced within the films context by the sadness and emotion of the heartfelt scenes, such as where Kikuchiyo (Toshiro Mifune) reveals his upbringings to the rest of the Samurai.
This moving, provacative and challenging film is an epic that still stands head and shoulders over many others nearly 50 years after it's initial release...and a film that you can watch time and time again, and uncover another gem within it's rich tapestry upon each repeated viewing. I've shown this movie to many friends who were either not interested in older black and white productions...or not keen on subtitled movies...and they have all enjoyed it and remarked how they never knew that they could relish a 50 year old movie so much !!
This film truly belongs in any persons movie collection who considers themselves a true afficiando of cinema...an experience in emotion, energy and vision that will not be forgotten by those who view this wonderful work.
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Topic From this Discussion
Should I wait for Blu-ray Edition?
Criterion is reportedly putting all their efforts into the restoration and it's supposed to look astounding. They had planned it for Kurosawa's centennial (which just passed), but they couldn't make the deadline, and instead released Yojimbo & Sanjuro together on Blu-ray. All the Criterion... Read More
Mar 27, 2010 by J. Corbit |  See all 4 posts
Mifune Toshiro
Whilst some of Mifune-san's memories are included in the booklet that comes with this version, the extras amount to an historical documentary about the Samurai and a huge sprawling interview with Kurosawa-sensei that benefits from being done by a fellow Director and fellow Japanese person in that... Read More
Aug 26, 2009 by Iain Howe |  See all 3 posts
Criterion?
www.criterionco.com/ look for the 'about' link.
May 29, 2006 by J in Novato |  See all 5 posts
Is there an English audio track?
Definitely not from Criterion, and I'm not aware of any other DVD or Blu-ray release with an English dub, either.
3 days ago by B. Albert |  See all 3 posts
Is this Blu-Ray version an upgrade from the DVD Box set?
I believe both the 3-disc DVD and the Blu-ray use the same 2K master, so aside from the obvious SD to HD upgrade and the uncompressed audio, they should be about the same.
3 days ago by B. Albert |  See all 2 posts
why has the price gone up- cheaper @criterion.com Be the first to reply
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