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Seven Samurai (Criterion Collection)

Toshirô Mifune , Takashi Shimura , Akira Kurosawa    Unrated   DVD
4.7 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (304 customer reviews)
Price: CDN$ 67.27
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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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Customer Reviews

Most helpful customer reviews
11 of 11 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars a classic that inspired many tributes July 19 2004
Format:DVD
A reviewer once wrote that the most amazing thing about Seven Samurai is that one-and-a-half hours into the movie, we're still in the character development part, and nobody's even noticed the movie has been running that long already. sure, it's not for everybody, especially for those who grew up with mostly Hollywood commercial fare that last 70-90 minutes. but for even the borderline film enthusiast, the Seven Samurai is a treat. Here, some of Japanese cinema's greats (Kurosawa, Mifune, Takashi Shimura) come together at the perfect time, to do the perfect job. Here, possibly, is the greatest movie of all time, and you are watching it.
the best special feature, the commentary track, is very detailed, in fact at some point, it is annoyingly too detailed! but if you want to know why toshiro mifune's acting was over the top, or where he was born (Manchuria), or why millet seems so low compared to rice, or why the light seems to change during the scene where we first see Kanbei Ishima (the bald, dignified leader of the samurai, here portrayed by Takashi Shimura), then the commentary track is indispensable. I've seen this DVD twice, with commentary on, and with commentary off. It's quite easy for me since I don't understand Japanese anyway, so the dialogue comes to me strictly through subtitles. needless to say, I highly recommend watching it in the manner I described.
there have been many "tributes" to this movie, from the obvious (The Magnificent Seven, The 13th Warrior), to the not so obvious (Disney/Pixar's "Bug's Life"). In all of them, the idea that a band of warriors would come to the rescue of an obscure village for nothing more than a bowl of rice (what, not even meat to go with that?
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
By M. B. Alcat TOP 1000 REVIEWER
Format:DVD
"Seven samurai" (1954) is arguably Akira Kurosawa's best film, and my favourite of those made by that wonderful Japanese director. The plot of this movie is simple enough, but it is developed in a way that enriches it, by adding depth to the characters and making the spectator realize that there is more to them than meets the eye. The rigid cast division that characterized 16th century Japan is shown, and the whole period is brought to life thanks to outstanding cinematography and excellent acting.

The story begins when the inhabitants of a very small rural village start discussing what to do about the bandits that attack them from time to time, taking everything of value with them. The farmers have very few resources and hardly any food left, but need to find a solution to their urgent problem or face certain death. An old and wise man proposes an unorthodox idea: to hire wandering samurai in very dire straits to defend the village, paying them only with food.

The others farmers deem that suggestion outlandish but, having no other options, decide to give it a try. That is the point when we accompany them in their quest for salvation to a nearby town, where they look for samurai willing to work for almost nothing. Will they get hold of some? And what kind of people will the farmers be able to tempt with such poor offer?

The answers to those questions, brought to life thanks to Kurosawa's mastery of the silver screen, end up giving us the opportunity to watch one of those very few movies that truly deserve to be called "classics". Highly recommended...

Belen Alcat
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Staggering! Oct. 16 2002
By Samurai
Format:VHS Tape
Steven Spielberg put it best: Kurosawa is every bit the equal of Shakespeare. No one opened our eyes to Eastern mythology, royalty, history and culture quite like Kurosawa. His films are like huge tapestries, both appealing to the eye but also educating the heart and mind to the rich, complex history of Japan.
Seven Samurai is my favorite of Kurosawa's films (next to Dreams) because it is one of the most perfectly balanced films I have ever seen. The cast is superb, the camerawork is legendary, and the script is so full of wisdom and poignancy that by the end of the film you want to become a samurai.
Whether or not it is the greatest film of all time is irrelevant because art is not measured quantitatively. It's about as silly as trying to figure out the greatest painting of all time. This movie is to be appreciated along the same lines as Beethoven's 9th. Simply absorb in the genius of the work and be transformed in your perceptions of what is possible.
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Excellent Blu-Ray Nov. 23 2011
By Kam
Format:Blu-ray
This is an exceptionally strong high-definition transfer. A lot of work has gone into the restoration of Seven Samurai, and it definitely shows - a lot of the daylight scenes, for instance, look quite remarkable; clarity and contrast levels are without a doubt the best I have ever seen. Furthermore, many of the close-ups which traditionally have been very problematic now look fresh and healthy.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Believe the hype Nov. 3 2001
Format:DVD
"Seven Samurai" is one of those movies your hear referred to constantly by full-time film afficionados. Those are the kinds of movies I'm usually leery of. Finally I broke down and rented "Seven Samurai," and found it to be well worth the praise-indeed, worthy of its position as one of the all-time great movies. The story is a rousing one, the cinematography instantly affecting. I liked the dvd so much I purchased a copy. I appreciate Criterion's decision to have commentary from a full-fledged Japanese film fan. He knows the material inside out and provides a wealth of small details, as well as appreciative remarks that no director would feel comfortable making. Highly recommended.
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Most recent customer reviews
5.0 out of 5 stars One of the most influential films ever made
Akira Kurosawa's masterpiece about samurai's duty and honour when traditional order was breaking down.
Published 9 days ago by Mike Moses
5.0 out of 5 stars I believe that this is still the samurai reference movie ...
I believe that this is still the samurai reference movie. I had it in VHS but could not resist buying the DVD , This Kurosawa's movie inspired the american western The magnificent... Read more
Published 11 days ago by michel delisle
5.0 out of 5 stars An amazing classic. If only people would still help out ...
An amazing classic. If only people would still help out those in need without requiring money. Classic Samurai combat and emotionally riveting, this movie is one for any lover of... Read more
Published 2 months ago by Dalton Rabbetts
5.0 out of 5 stars Seven Samurai
I don't know how many times we have watched this movie and enjoyed it each time,l find l learn more each time l see it . Read more
Published 5 months ago by Suzanne Crane
5.0 out of 5 stars The Historical Epic in filmmaking
three and a half hours of bold filmmaking to inscribe the post medieval years of Japan. Definitely a must watch, especially to those who are fans of Kurosawa or Mifune
Published 7 months ago by Anthony Chauvin
5.0 out of 5 stars Love Love Love This Movie...
“Akira Kurosawa’s” the Seven Samurai”is consider one of his best films,and I concur with that,
At Three hours and twenty seven minutes and four second,I was not bored at... Read more
Published 8 months ago by trek fan
5.0 out of 5 stars The Seven Samurai
It was exactly what I needed to help wrap-up my social unit on Japan - perfect quality and great extras that came with the set.
Published on Dec 20 2009 by Corey Makoloski
2.0 out of 5 stars Must be understood to be watched...?
Watching the 'direction' in this movie, and others by this director, is like seeing the first ever 'lace-up' shoe or the first ever internal-combustion engine. Read more
Published on July 7 2004 by Steve Ireland
4.0 out of 5 stars Seven Samurai
Akira Kurosawa's heroic tale of honor and duty begins with master samurai Kambei (Takashi Shimura) posing as a monk to save a kidnapped child. Read more
Published on July 6 2004
5.0 out of 5 stars Incredible film
This is juat an incredible film. Upon learning that their village is going to be plundered, a community of peasants decides to try to enlist the help of some samurai to defend... Read more
Published on July 4 2004 by Alan
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