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Sanjuro (Widescreen) (The Criterion Collection)

Toshirô Mifune , Tatsuya Nakadai , Akira Kurosawa    PG-13 (Parental Guidance Suggested)   DVD
4.6 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (132 customer reviews)
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Product Description


Akira Kurosawa's sequel to Yojimbo is more lighthearted and less cynical, a rousing adventure with Toshirô Mifune reprising his role as the scruffy mercenary who becomes an unlikely big brother to a troupe of nine naive samurai. Shuffling into a secret meeting where the proud young men discuss the graft choking their clan, Mifune's Sanjuro scratches his scraggly beard and distractedly rubs his neck like some common peasant while giving them advice on appearances and truths: "People aren't what they seem," he warns the dubious lads. "Be careful." Naturally they aren't, and Sanjuro grudgingly adopts the well-meaning but hopelessly ill-equipped heroes, giving the starry-eyed youths a series of lessons in real-world honor and respect while saving their skins from reckless attacks and impulsive plans. It isn't the subtlest of Kurosawa's films--the repetitious lessons and speeches delivered to the thickheaded samurai are rather obvious--but it's one of his most entertaining. Mifune, gruffly at ease with the boys, is hilariously discomforted in the presence of a cultured lady, who sees through his shaggy exterior and imparts a little wisdom of her own. Mifune bounds into action in a number of impressive sword fights--wonderfully choreographed lightning-quick battles in which Mifune leaps all over the widescreen image--but an increasing sense of waste, of futility, hangs over the action scenes, culminating in a tense but meaningless duel of honor. The accompanying trailer on the DVD features brief behind-the-scenes glimpses of Kurosawa directing Mifune through an action sequence. --Sean Axmaker

Product Description

Toshiro Mifune swaggers and snarls to brilliant comic effect in Kurosawa's tightly paced, beautifully composed Sanjuro. In this companion piece to Yojimbo, jaded samurai Sanjuro helps an idealistic group of young warriors weed out their clan's evil influences, and in the process turns their image of a "proper" samurai on its ear. Criterion is proud to present Sanjuro in a gorgeous Tohoscope transfer.

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5 of 5 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Tales of the master May 16 2010
Akira Kurosawa is one of those directors that requires absolutely no introduction at all... but I'll do it anyway.

In short, Kurosawa was one of the most legendary film directors in cinematic history -- he not only inspired other great directors, but he splintered your basic movie conventions ("Rashomon"), inspired others (the wipe! Slow motion action!) and created the standard for Japanese action, drama and historical movies. "AK 100: 25 Films by Akira Kurosawa" is basically what it sounds like: twenty five movies by Kurosawa (including some never before released in the U.S.).

It includes all the classic films that Kurosawa is so famous for -- "Seven Samurai," "Sanjuro," "Yojimbo" and "The Hidden Fortress." Kurosawa packs the movies with with brilliant stories of samurai, warlords, feisty princesses, goofy peasants, a wandering nameless ronin who has a penchant for cleaning out filthy corrupt towns, and a band of samurai who are trying to save a village of not-entirely-blameless peasants. The best of them: "Rashomon," in which a woman is raped and a man is murdered, but his killer's identity is the subject of some debate.

And then there are the period movies that people don't usually mention as quickly: "Kagemusha," "The Lower Depths," "Throne of "Blood," "Red Beard," and the Noh-inspired "The Men Who Tread on the Tiger's Tail." With the exception of the last one (a semi-comedic story about a nobleman trying to avoid being killed by his brother), these stories are a bit darker in theme, with lots of cruel warlords, foul Edo apartment buildings, an arrogant young doctor in Edo who clashes with his new boss, and a Japanese-themed retelling of Macbeth.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars "I want three coffins... make that four". Jan. 27 2003
"Yojimbo" is one of the better known films of Japanese director Akira Kurosawa because of its notoriety as the inspiration for Clint Eastwood's "A Fistful of Dollars" (1964) and Bruce Willis' "Last Man Standing" (1996). The film opens with a wandering samurai (Toshiro Mifune) enertering a town being torn apart by bitter business rivals. After being informed of the town's situation by the tavern keeper Gonji (Eijiro Tono), the samurai decides to play both rivals against each other in the hope that they will wipe each other out. The plan works and soon the chaos he causes reaches the terminal point. When the samurai finally leaves the town, he leaves behind a load of business for the local coffin maker and a liberated and grateful town. Yojimbo does not possess the depth of The Seven Samurai (1954) and its jumping back and forth between drama and comedy is a bit jarring at times. Yet, the film succeeds in entertaining and lends credence to the argument that Toshiro Mifune is not only one of the greatest Japanese actors of all-time, but is one of the greatest actors of all-time period. Try and catch this movie on DVD because the clarity of the subtitles are vastly superior to that of the VHS version.
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5.0 out of 5 stars A classic June 16 2014
Format:DVD|Verified Purchase
How can I review this? It's been reviewed countless times... it is a classic and will always be... along with Sanjuro and the Seven Samurai.

Delivery-wise, it was really prompt and I have no problems with the packaging and the vendor.
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4.0 out of 5 stars Samurai with a 6 shooter? Jan. 27 2014
By Dia
Format:DVD|Verified Purchase
Our hero did not use a six shooter. One of the "bad" guys did. This 1961 Black and White widescreen- Japanese- with- English- subtitles- movie starts off slowly setting up the characters and helping the audience to get a lay of the land and atmosphere of the film. The dvd was designed for region 2 dvd players but my computer was able to convert, so I watched it on that. After you figure out that two territorial bosses want each other's land, property and servants--(give them about thirty minutes to get that all out of their system)--then the movies starts to truly entertain. There is action, intrigue, comedy, and blood. The sword play is swift so you don't get to see too many great moves but you do get to see severed limbs. Not gory like today's movies. The soundtrack is excellent and uplifting as one begins to realize that Yojimbo does not take life all that seriously but he definitely knows right from wrong and does the right thing. Toshiro Mifune is one of my favorite Japanese actors and is excellent as an itinerant samurai in this movie.
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5.0 out of 5 stars Yojimbo Oct. 1 2013
By M. Dean
Format:Blu-ray|Verified Purchase
A great edition and a must have for people who enjoy Kurosawa. The extras are very enlightening. Well done criterion collection.
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4.0 out of 5 stars a cool follow up to yojimbo May 1 2004
By Ted
This review is for the Criterion Collection DVD edition of the film.
This film released shortly after the release of Yojimbo, has the same main character. In this film, Sanjuro withthe help of some friends eliminate corruption in his town and rescue his uncle was was jailed on trumped up charges. The film has a famous 'splatter' scene in the climax which is almost Hitchcockian because of the filmmakers use of chocloate syrup for the stage blood. (in B&W films, one cannot tell the difference anyway)
The DVD only has a theatrical trailer for a special feature, but it is still worth getting for those interested in films like this.
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4.0 out of 5 stars Kurosawa + Mifune = Magic Dec 9 2002
It had been years since I have last seen Yojimbo. When I put the Criterion DVD into my player, I was enthralled by all 110 minutes. Kurosawa has made so many truly classic films, sometimes his other works are overlooked. This film, though not as good as Seven Samurai/Ran/Ikiru/Rashomon is still better then 99% of the films that have ever been made.
In short, the movie is about a lone samurai without allegiance coming to a town of comical loons. The desolate looking town is split between 2 factions, each with their own hired goons. The town is literally being torn apart by them. In walks "Sanjuro" to right the situation!?! Toshiro Mifune is excellent as the no-name, bad mannered, shoulder-shrugging, toothpick-biting samurai. He decides to play each side against the other to start his plan of riding the town of their problem.
The film is wonderfully paced, has nice twists, solid dialogue, great acting and an overall warmness in all aspects. My only problem is not with the movie, but with the DVD. I own many Criterion DVDs and this has to be the worse in overall quality. The print quality was a letdown, surely there must be a better print that was not used.
If you are a "true lover" of film, then I highly recommend this film. You will not be disappointed.
thank you for your time, David
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Most recent customer reviews
4.0 out of 5 stars "I'm not dying yet. I have to kill quite a few men first "
Yesterday I saw "Yojimbo" (1961), a beautiful black and white movie directed by Akira Kurosawa. From my point of view, this dvd isn't Kurosawa best movie, but it is nonetheless a... Read more
Published on Dec 26 2007 by M. B. Alcat
5.0 out of 5 stars When Destiny is as Simple as the Toss of a Stick
The beginning of this tale, when our hero tosses a stick into the air to see which way it lands to choose his path, is just one of the many elements which makes this such an... Read more
Published on Aug. 4 2005 by J. H. Sweet
4.0 out of 5 stars save for a few scratches in the print, this is a great DVD
I myself am one with those who wonder how on earth this Criterion version of Yojimbo ended up having that huge, ugly scratch mark on the print. Read more
Published on July 19 2004 by Lakan Kildap
5.0 out of 5 stars Criterion does it again!
This edition of Yojimbo is the best out there. Just as they do with all digital transfers, Criterion takes only the best transfers from the original films and polishes them to make... Read more
Published on July 16 2004
5.0 out of 5 stars Do You Feel Lucky Kurosawa?
Toshiro Mifune's silk clothes must stink, but don't mess with this guy. He's a killer with a bad hair-do. Read more
Published on June 16 2004 by R. A Rubin
5.0 out of 5 stars One of Kurosawa's best samurai films
In my own opinion, I find Sanjuro to be one of my favorite films by the Kurosawa. Unlike Yojimbo, which mainly showed the violent side of humans, Sanjuro shows a much deeper... Read more
Published on May 21 2004 by Tom Tsukuhara
4.0 out of 5 stars A great film that inspired many others
This review is for the Criterion DVD edition of the film.
This movie had scenes that have been imitated in dozens of other films. Read more
Published on April 28 2004 by Ted
4.0 out of 5 stars Grim and hilarious
This is a much tighter, sharper film than The Seven Samurai, Kurosawa's more famous work. It's shorter, for one, and more seems to happen. Read more
Published on April 25 2004 by Henry Platte
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