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First time I've seen this film and I loved it. It is quite dark about human nature, unlike The Seven Samurai, Rashomon, and The Hidden Fortress. It is more graphically violent than these previous film, but not intolerably so. It is a story of how a samurai successfully pits two groups of gangsters in a small town who have been quarreling against each other already. The samurai, who resembles a drifter in an American western (e.g., Shane or The Searchers), once arrives to the town concocts his plan to destroy these rivaling gangs to give the town a new beginning. It is a film that has influences from American films and has also influenced other American films, particularly Sergio Leone's Man with no Name saga.
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on April 19, 2000
Akira Kurosawa's YOJIMBO is a samurai movie set in Japan in 1860. That period was characterized by political turmoils and deep social changes. Samurais found no masters anymore and had to survive by selling their wit and their arms if they didn't want to turn into ronins, into mad warriors. In the far country, they could appear as substitutes of the law officers who didn't dare to show up.
Toshiro Mifune stars as the no-name samurai who will benefit from the war going on between two gangs in one of these out-of-the-law towns. At this point, if you're an average movie lover, you will have recognized in YOJIMBO several themes used two or three years later by numerous italo-american filmmakers responsible for the revival of the western genre between 1962 and 1970.
In fact, while I was admiring the skill of Toshiro Mifune, I couldn't refrain myself from counting the numerous situations borrowed by Sergio Leone in his Eastwood trilogy. Close-ups of the ugly faces of the outlaws, use of the widescreen format in order to film in the best possible way the streets duels, a musical score which haunts your mind and is part of the action, bloody details (the hand in the dog's mouth...) and a great sense of humor.
I love Sergio Leone's movies but I think that it's of the utmost importance or simply by politeness to remember that YOJIMBO is the first Spaghetti western and that Akira Kurosawa has practically invented the myth of the no-name stranger.
A scene access, colour bars and a trailer as bonus features. Great sound for a great musical score but, unfortunately, a master copy with such defaults as lines or white and black spots.
A pre-Clint DVD.
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on January 9, 2018
There were many, many beautifully filmed scenes, and unforgettable characters. I can only imagine the fun they had figuring out who would wear what costume, how many times Mifune would scratch himself and who would wear what grimace on his face. So well done!
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on March 26, 2002
I recently ordered this film on DVD,though I have seen it more than once on IFC (Independent Film Channel) and I have always found Kirosawa's films to be reflective of real life situations. People are basically a cross between good and evil, with some variations of extremes between the two. The ronin in this film is like a robinhood type slash heroic type knight who certainly takes advantage of the stupid feud between two dominant houses but also he helps a young couple escape certain doom, however his plans backfire and...well I am not going to tell the whole movie. I think Akira Kirosawa was the best filmmaker that has ever lived, next to Kubrick and I dare say Lynch. If you have never seen this film before you should see it without a doubt, some of the best films are in monochrone black and white so don't let that bother you. This is a humorous and insightful film, dealing with human nature and how ridiculous people look when they go to extremes. It pays to just sit back and be a clearful observer, taking advantage from people guided solely by emotion.
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on March 7, 2015
this is classic samurai theater at its best. toshiro is amazing as the 2 timing samurai who pits the 2 ganga of criminals against one another. this is akira -sama a this best as a director its has all the aspects of samurai theater with humor, double dealing , and classic sword fighting.. I can see why fellow legendary director Sergio leoni used this story as ma guide to his classic film with A FISTFULL OF DOLLARS.
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"Yojimbo" may be Akira Kurosawa's most approachable film. On one level, it is pure entertainment. Mifune is perfect as the grubby super samurai. He embodies the anti-hero, the man-with-no-name who is not cultured or pure but still uses his strength on the side of the right. The bad men are clearly bad, and identify themselves as such. The fight scenes are flashy, unlike the realistic sword fights of "The Seven Samurai."
On another level, "Yojimbo" shows Kurosawa's feelings about the encroaching capitalism and it's effect on Japanese culture. The businessmen have replaced the outlaw bandits and the villains. In a normal world, the corrupt Yakuza would swarm over the innocent workers and corrupt their children. Here, Kurosawa embodies a force of resistance. A samurai who can pit sword against pistol and out-fight ten men at once. He is a hero.
It is precisely these metaphors that lifts "Yojimbo" beyond a simple chambra (swordfight) flick, and make it a Kurosawa movie. I highly recomend this film.
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on August 1, 2003
A masterless samurai, by the name of Sanjuro, shows up one day and finds the town in the grasp of two evil clans. Both clans wish to run the town and its businesses. As you know, when a town has two bosses it has one boss too many...oh, you've seen this movie before? A Fistful of Dollars? Well, you're right. That was one of the remakes of THIS film, right down to the unhappy inn keeper, the main character scratching his chin a lot and even an exchange of a son and a mistress. Lots of sword fighting, humor and great art. While I like Eastwood, just check out my reviews of his older movies, I would have to say this is the better verison of the story. The DVD is in Japanese with optional subtitles in English, Chinese, Thai and Malay. It also has the original trailer and is shown in letterbox format, so you don't miss any of the action.
Sit down with some fried rice, a bottle of sake (don't forget to warm it) and ENJOY!
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on August 23, 2011
For those who are looking for an old action film from when they were humorous and not as over the top or "gritty" as most newer films tend to lean towards I would recommend this movie.
I won't go into a plot synopsis as Amazon has already done that for me but I will say simply point out that it is true that anyone who liked "A Fist Full of Dollars" or the later "Last Man Standing" from the nineties couldn't really go wrong with this film storywise. The only sticking point I can see that some might have a problem with is the issue of it being a fifty year old movie with subtitles to which I really don't know what to say if this is the case.
The technical aspects of the film are about what one would expect, there are no artifacts or any glaring faults but for those who are sticklers it obviously isn't going to light up the room with its sharper than life qualit either.
On a side note, if the Yojimbo/Sanjuro collection has come down in price by this time (I bought this version awhile ago and only recently watched it)to be more comparable with with Yojimbo alone; bearing in mind that comparable with Criterion Collection movies is fairly subjective I would recommend getting that one instead.
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on November 9, 2004
Yojimbo is great entertainment. What's not to like about this rootless ronin, wandering..who knows where? I love the opening scene with Toshiro's mighty back, his face toward the mountain. How oddly Paramount-ish the film is..anybody remember the Indiana Jones scene with Indy's back...Indy looking at the mountain. Spielberg said that, as a kid, he used his own crayola version of the mountain logo (Spielberg means "play-mountain" in German).

We know how much he and Lucas loved Kurasawa films..they point to the Hidden Fortress, but, heck, what about Yojimbo? Oh, I think they took a page from Kuraswa's notebook, don't you? Check the two scenes against one another. You'll see.

Yeah, It's influential. I won't go into the American Westerns influenced by the film. Let's say this: It's fabulous dark entertainment, and, after viewing other Kurasawa films, perhaps Yojimbo gains a certain depth. One recognizes characters from other's like seeing family members in a whole new light with new skills that surprise you, make you respect them. Ok. Maybe not Toshiro Mifune. He's always cool. I always love him. He's always compelling to watch, even when he isn't really doing anything. There's always the potential for action that thrills.

Hey, and what cooler scene in any movie than the dog walking down the street with a human hand in its mouth, then the pan to Mifune, and his reaction?

Absolutely priceless.
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on October 20, 2017
Great flick that inspired many later films. Such as Last man standing and A fist full of dollars.Some of the characters did not mesh with my personal tastes, but i can forgive that.
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