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Harakiri (Criterion Collection)

4.9 out of 5 stars 8 customer reviews

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Product Details

  • Actors: Tatsuya Nakadai, Akira Ishihama, Shima Iwashita, Tetsurô Tanba, Masao Mishima
  • Directors: Masaki Kobayashi
  • Writers: Shinobu Hashimoto, Yasuhiko Takiguchi
  • Producers: Gin'ichi Kishimoto, Makoto Naitô, Tatsuo Hosoya, Tsugio Saitô
  • Format: Black & White, Closed-captioned, DVD-Video, Subtitled, NTSC
  • Language: Japanese
  • Subtitles: English
  • Region: Region 1 (US and Canada This DVD will probably NOT be viewable in other countries. Read more about DVD formats.)
  • Aspect Ratio: 2.35:1
  • Number of discs: 2
  • MPAA Rating: UNRATED
  • Studio: Criterion
  • Release Date: Aug. 30 2005
  • Run Time: 133 minutes
  • Average Customer Review: 4.9 out of 5 stars 8 customer reviews
  • ASIN: B0009WIE2A
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: #53,029 in DVD (See Top 100 in DVD)
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Product Description

Product Description

Following the collapse of his clan, unemployed samurai Hanshiro Tsugumo (Tatsuya Nakadai) arrives at the manor of Lord Iyi, begging to commit ritual suicide on his property. Iyi's clansmen, believing the desperate ronin is merely angling for charity, try to force him to eviscerate himself—but they have underestimated his honor and his past. Winner of the 1963 Cannes Film Festival's Special Jury Prize, Masaki Kobayashi's Harakiri is a scathing denouncement of feudal authority and hypocrisy.


Dramatically compelling and emotionally intense, Harakiri is a certified classic of Japanese film, and a riveting study of samurai codes of honor. Unlike Kurosawa's rousing samurai epics, this is an uncompromisingly tragic tale, exposing the hypocrisy of 17th-century Japanese society with its story of a family destroyed by the cruelty of feudalism toward warriors in peacetime. The film is truly Shakespearean in its emotional scope, embodied by the unforgettable performance of Tatsuya Nakadai (star of Kurosawa's Ran) as an elder warrior seeking revenge for the unnecessary seppuku (ritual suicide) of his beloved son-in-law. Director Masaki Kobayashi begins at story's end, then recounts the narrative (adapted from a novel by Yasuhiko Takiguchi) as told by Nakadai's character. The effect is almost unbearably suspenseful, leading to an explosive climax of supreme defiance and samurai swordplay, erupting from a battle of wills, called bluffs, and hotly defended honor. For connoisseurs of samurai action, Harakiri is not to be missed. --Jeff Shannon --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.

Customer Reviews

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Top Customer Reviews

Format: DVD Verified Purchase
I had been wanting to see Seppuku (harakiri) for some time, and as my first rental with zip.ca I was quite exited. I turned it on, and was simply stunned by its sheer power, realism and quality. It featured little of what Kurosawa had brought to the genre, but rather offered a heartwrenching portrait of the futility of a lifestyle that preys upon the helpless. I sat there mesmerized by the brilliance of Kobayashi's direction and Nakadai's performance, together they provided a level of realism that I didn't think was possible with such a robust genre.

I felt almost the same way I had after viewing The Wild Bunch. I mean this film totally changes the way I think of a samurai picture, but at the same time it does not detract from anything from the likes of The Seven Samurai or Sanjuro. To say the least I found Seppuku to be an impressive film. I don't give very many 10/10s, but it certainly does deserve that rating.

What The Seven Samurai is to The Searchers, Seppuku is to The Wild Bunch. 10/10.
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Format: DVD
I had the opportunity to see this at a movie theater and loved it. Apart from the technical aspects, the one thing that I found most powerful about this film is that it forces you to look at how you react to things (this is rare in a film of any genre or period). Without giving away the story, during the beginning when the young man goes to the school, I, along with I think everyone else in the audience judging by their reaction, felt that he was lying about leaving then coming back, and almost felt like he deserved the fate the samurai force upon him. However, as the story unfolds, you realize he was telling the truth, and your opinion of the man completely changes. You find out why he was going to leave, and definitely sympathize with him and his family. Although I love Kurosawa and Ozu's films, I don't recall ever being struck by any of their work as emotionally as I was while watching this film.
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Format: VHS Tape
I had never seen this film until I found a copy at a local Hollywood outlet in Albuquarque, New Mexcio, a few years ago. I took it home, saw it, and was absolutely bowled over by it. Kobayashi's view of Harakiri bespeaks the age when the film was made as it is quite a materialistic interpretation of Harakiri but nonetheless truthful for that. (Forget the cheap eulogy of samurai-death in the recent Last Samurai.)
This is a film-making elevated to the realm of art. The serenity of a Noh play and the theatrical panache of Kabuki are combined to create this absolutely engrossing masterpiece. This is arguably the finest Japanese film ever made. It is perverse that this work, perhaps outshodowed by numerous Kurosawa films, is almost never talked about in Japan.
This is one of those films that cry out for a release in a DVD format ( It is already available in Japan).
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Format: Blu-ray Verified Purchase
I just recieved my blue ray copy of Harakiri from Amazon, I bought 2 other films in blue ray as well, all films are over 2hrs long so it was a long but great day for me untill i saw this movie,the others being Sword Of Doom and Kagemusha, Harakiri suffered a huge audi flaw for me, the natural sounds and music is very crisp and loud,,BUT everytime someone spoke i thought my speakers cracked,then noticed its the disk, i cleaned it,brought it to a friends place to play on his system and its the same there, i own this on VHS and the difference is amazing but everytime someone talks it just gets on my nerve,imagine max headrom in japanese. its that bad.
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