Tuesday, 6 August 2013


Yojimbo (1961) has a sacred status for all Akira Kurosawa and Toshiro Mifune fans. The great Japanese director, Kurosawa's direction plus Mifune's epic acting skills makes this movie stand out among lovers of good cinema.

It is a period film. The story is set in the second half of the 19th century after the fall of the Tokugawa Shogunate. The movie starts with a samurai (Mifune), who finds himself unemployed. He is left without a master and cause. This forces him to wander around searching for a life and income. And incourse of this journey, the samurai comes across a town.

Now this town is in mess and has become a battle ground between the two rival gangs of Seibei and Ushitora. Turns out that Ushitora once used to work for Sebei. But when Sebei announced that he will pass the crime syndicate to his undeserving and foolish son, Ushitora breaks out and forms his own gang. Ushitora has two brothers. Inokichi a timid and somewhat soft man and Unosuke, a dangerous man. Unosuke is the only person in the town who has a pistol and this makes him even more powerful and dangerous.

The samurai after knowing all these, decides to use this situation in his favour. He believes that eliminating these two gangs would be good for the people of the town as well. The samurai then proves his worth and makes his skills known to these gangs. Now both of the gang leaders lobby hard to make the samurai join their respective gangs so that it will be beneficial for them in the war. But the samurai has different plans.

There are various other characters like a resturant owner, a government officer, a woman who has been exploited by Ushitora, etc.The samurai's intentions and his course of actions, the war between the gangs, the role of Unosuke and his gun in all of these form the rest half of the movie.

There was some controversy when Sergio Leone remade it as A Fistful of Dollars (1964) starring Clint Eastwood. After watching A Fistful Of Dollars, Kurosawa sued Leone and wrote to Sergio Leone that it is, "a fine movie, but it was MY movie.”

Yojimbo holds 97% fresh ratings on Rotten Tomatoes. Also it ranks 95 in Empire magazine's list of 500 Greatest Movies Of All Times.

1 comment: