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Yojimbo (The Criterion Collection) (1961)

Toshir˘ Mifune , Eijir˘ T˘no , Akira Kurosawa  |  Unrated |  DVD
4.5 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (257 customer reviews)

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Yojimbo (The Criterion Collection) + Seven Samurai (The Criterion Collection) + Rashomon
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Product Details

  • Actors: Toshir˘ Mifune, Eijir˘ T˘no, Tatsuya Nakadai, Y˘ko Tsukasa, Isuzu Yamada
  • Directors: Akira Kurosawa
  • Writers: Akira Kurosawa, Ryűz˘ Kikushima
  • Producers: Akira Kurosawa, Ryűz˘ Kikushima, Tomoyuki Tanaka
  • Format: Black & White, Dolby, Letterboxed, Subtitled, Widescreen, NTSC
  • Language: Japanese (Dolby Digital 2.0 Mono)
  • 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: Criterion
  • DVD Release Date: September 28, 1999
  • Run Time: 110 minutes
  • Average Customer Review: 4.5 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (257 customer reviews)
  • ASIN: 0780022513
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #139,954 in Movies & TV (See Top 100 in Movies & TV)
  • Learn more about "Yojimbo (The Criterion Collection)" on IMDb

Special Features

  • Luminous Tohoscope transfer
  • New & Improved English Subtitle Translation

Editorial Reviews

This semi-comic 1961 film by legendary director Akira Kurosawa (Rashomon, Ran) was inspired by the American Western genre. Kurosawa mainstay Toshir˘ Mifune (The Seven Samurai) plays a drifting samurai for hire who plays both ends agai

Customer Reviews

Most Helpful Customer Reviews
42 of 45 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Death in the Dust and the Wind December 6, 2003
Although it lacks the scope of THE SEVEN SAMURAI, THRONE OF BLOOD, and other more widely known films by the celebrated Akira Kurosawa, the 1961 YOJIMBO (also known as BODYGUARD) is one of the most important films of the second half of the 20th Century--and a film that was deeply influenced by American film. Even so, YOJIMBO stands on its own merits: it's a magnificent piece of cinema that will fascinate even those who normally turn up their noses at "movies with subtitles."

In theory, the film is based on the 1929 Dashiell Hammett novel RED HARVEST--but transports the basic story to a period in Japan when the Samurai class has fallen on hard times and must seek employment as common body guards. Sanjuro Kuwabatake (brilliantly played by Toshiro Mifune, who appeared in several Kurosawa films) is such a one, a scruffy looking and aging warrior who finds himself caught between warring factions of a Japanese village and responds by playing the two against each other.

One of the film's greatest assets is its visual style. Kurosawa is very clearly influenced by the look of the American western here, and most particularly so, in my opinion, by HIGH NOON. Consequently, YOJIMBO leaps the cultural divide with considerable ease--but Kurosawa uses the images of empty streets and the lone warrior to considerably different effect, presenting him as a dangerous figure who emerges from the dust and the wind to rip wide his foes. But the film does not rely on visual style alone: there is plenty of hard substance here, too. The plot is tightly wound, action-intensive, and laced with a dry and very black humor, and the cast is superlative throughout.
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31 of 33 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars good films,but a poor release February 25, 2010
Format:DVD|Verified Purchase
As there is so much written about this Box I want to share my opinion on it too !
First of all you already know that these DVDs are plain film,no extras!For a price around 300 dollars that's absolutely unacceptable,even though the films themself are pure masterpieces!
So my 5 Star-Rating only concerns the films,but not this poor release.
But even if the films don't contain any bonusmaterial,why are they also don't feature optional soundtrack-versions like a few of the individual Criterion-Releases have?
For instance the individual Release of "Rashomon" (Spine No. 138)also contains an optional english dubbed soundtrack.
The individual Criterion-releases of "The Hidden Fortress" (Spine No.116) , "Yojimbo" (Spine No.52) and "Sanjuro" (Spine No.53) also contain an optional 3.0 Soundtrack,while the releases in this box are only monaural. The individual release of "Throne of Blood" (Spine No. 190) contains 2 different subtitles to choose. One from japanese film translator Linda Hoaglund,the other from Donald Richie.The DVD in this box only features the Donald-Richie-Subtitles.
And of course the film "Dodes'ka-den".....While in 1995 released on Criterion-Laserdisc (LD 291)with a 1,66/1 format,the later DVD-Release was cut to a 1,33/1 format (The individual release (Spine No. 465) as well as the DVD in this box)!
And don't let anyone fool you by telling you how good the quality of the picture and sound are.The 4 early films that are released here for the first time ("Sanjiro Sugata part 1 and part 2","The Most Beautiful" and "Those who Tread on the Tigers Tail")have a poor picture and sound quality.In fact even someone who's able understanding the japanese language can't watch the films "Sanjiro Sugata Part 1 and 2" without subtitles.
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76 of 87 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Awesome... but falls short. January 12, 2010
Format:DVD|Verified Purchase
Thank you so much Criterion for releasing all of their licensed Akira Kurosawa films in a single boxset! This is one epic collection in every sense of the word!

Most arm-chair critics do not take into account or acknowledge companies like Criterion need to pay royalties for the right to release films! And the royalty often come with an expiration date. An example of this is Kurosawa's 1985 film RAN was released on DVD and was scheduled to be released on Blu-ray only to have the rights expired. It was reverted back to Studio Canal, who eventually decided to release their own Blu-ray/DVD instead (at the time of this writing). Royalties/licenses are primary reasons why the following 5 titles are missing from this collection to make it COMPLETE:

The Quiet Duel
Dersu Uzala
Rhapsody in August

I'm not an industry insider nor do I work for Criterion so I do not know the business decisions those 5 films aren't included in this collection. Remember, Criterion is business first, film purist second. My guess is it is not for the lack of trying to obtain the rights to release those 5 in this boxset. It's possible that either the license/copyright owners want too much money or there might not have been a great film print to begin with and it would take even longer for a set like this to be released! It's not like Criterion is sitting around with nothing to do =P. So, it isn't really Criterion's fault for not including every single film Akira Kurosawa has directed! This boxset is already monumental for the fact that Criterion took the time to do it in the first place! For that, I am grateful!
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Most Recent Customer Reviews
5.0 out of 5 stars Five Stars
One of my favorite movies. A more light hearted man with no name adventure.
Published 10 days ago by Aaron
4.0 out of 5 stars Four Stars
Classic Japanese cinema!
Published 26 days ago by Leonard Roos
5.0 out of 5 stars A masterpiece.
Thinking that the American knock-off, "A Fistful of Dollars", would be worth watching, I went on YouTube. The first scene, and the last were all I needed to watch. Read more
Published 1 month ago by Fred Elgin
1.0 out of 5 stars A worthless distortion of an excellent film.
This is a poorly made version of the film dubbed into English. Given the fact that voice is a key part of acting, listening to Toshiro Mifune speaking English is weird. Read more
Published 1 month ago by S. Gonzalez
5.0 out of 5 stars Five Stars
Good old movie
Published 2 months ago by Yo
5.0 out of 5 stars Superior entertainment.
Another classic film from Akira Kurosawa. Toshiro Mifune recreates his powerful, crafty, masterless samurai, Sanjuro, who helps a group of well-meaning, but foolish and inept,... Read more
Published 2 months ago by Elaine Bourne Kent
5.0 out of 5 stars Wonderful film, arrived on time in the best of ...
Wonderful film, arrived on time in the best of shape, great to have this as part of my collection. THANKS
Published 2 months ago by Robert Leonard Moran
5.0 out of 5 stars Haba-yo!
This film is fantastic! Amazing story, music, art direction, acting, pure grittiness! A samurai walks into a town of death with two dueling families, there’s destruction... Read more
Published 3 months ago by Surferofromantica
5.0 out of 5 stars Amazing
Awesome, the best box I have purchased. As a Kurosawa fan, I am honored to have this set for my collection.
Published 5 months ago by franz hernandez
4.0 out of 5 stars akira kurosawa is a superb director
COMPLAINT; The rental film is too old. Choppy and the sound doesn't come thru and the picture was jerky(?) at times. Read more
Published 6 months ago by wayson shikiya
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