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1-World Festival of Foreign Films

The Seven Samurai
(Shichinin no Samurai)
Japan - 1954
Directed by Akira Kurosawa

Many consider this to be Kurosawa's finest film.  The Seven Samurai is a story about a small farming village in 16th century Japan that is under constant threat from roving bands of outlaw brigands.  The village elders decide to hire a security force to protect them from the marauding bandits.  They recruit an assortment of samurai for hire who are willing to work for food.  The assembled group, the seven samurai, must find a way to protect the tiny village against almost insurmountable odds. 

The villagers, who need the samurai, also fear them.  The most interesting story line is really the contrast between the simple farming people and the more worldly samurai, who have experienced violence and confrontation as a way of life.  The farmers and the samurai must now depend on each other which forces them to form relationships that were heretofore unlikely.  Fine performances from all cast members, especially Takashi Shimura, who plays Kanbei, a seasoned battle-worn samurai and the first chosen by the elders.  Toshiro Mifune's portrayal of Kikuchiyo, the brash, blustery samurai who bridges the gap between the warriors and the villagers, was excellent.

The final climatic battle scene is textbook Kurosawa.  As we've said before, Kurosawa does his job.  He helps the audience to understand the battle.   The sets, costumes, acting, choreography and cinematography all culminate in this battle scene to show us how it should be done.  It is a masterpiece.   If you've seen the Hollywood movie, The Magnificent Seven, you may recognize the story-line, it is an acknowledged re-make of The Seven Samurai.

The Seven Samurai won the Silver Lion at the Venice Film Festival (1954) and was nominated for Oscar awards for Best Art Direction-Set Decoration, and Best Costume Design (1957).

Runtime:  160 Minutes(There are several versions that range from 141-203 Minutes)

Guest Comments

From:  "Tundra"

"I feel that Toshiro Mifune's performance, although undoubtedly excellent, overshadows the remaining cast's abilities. Indeed, Takashi Shimura should be given more credit, he was often a regular in Kurosawa's films and does not get the recognition I feel is deserved."

From:  "Oliver Larrson"

"Shimura, does an outstanding job as the center of the Samurai. Just
as in Stray Dog  he takes the role of mentor to Mifune's brash young

From:  "Ed Avant (the ronin)"

"I think that this is one of the greatest movies of all time. The plot is one of unselfish behavior in which these seven men are willing to give up thier lives for the protection of thier better man (and women). Sensi Akira Kurosawa is a genius who led the way for a lot of western film makers to view humanity as it is. In some people there is evil with a little good and in others there is good with a little evil. The seven samurai is was my first peek at somthing more than just a movie to escape the daily grind. It showed me that people could do the most extraordinary things when they put their best foot forward.  Thanks for listening. The ronin "

From:  "kurasawa fan"

"If your a fan of classic films, you can't miss Seven Samurai.  It's Akira Kurasawa at his best, from the story to the photography."

From:  "Ron Fudger-Sherrinton"

"This film is incredible. The moment when the samurai realise that the peasants sent to hire them have given all their food in order to secure their services is great. The battle in a torrential downpour is just amazing.  The Magnificent Seven is good, but it's just a pale shadow of the original."

From:  "Taft"

"Simply put, the greatest movie ever made! The best film by the best director of all time! Film fans owe it to themselves to watch, and ultimately, be awed by the genius that is Seven Samurai!"

From:  "Jerome Long"

"As art, this is a great film. As a morality tale, it is very down-to-earth and noble, yes but if the wisdom of the story is that man should fight or enlist others to fight for them to survive a crisis of life and death, then I say the Seven Samurai is mere art. Still, it is great art because it depicts the harshness, the cruelty and the ignorance and weakness of man. There is only one way to save the village in real life, pray to God and live a selfless life, instead of seven samurai, the Lord will send seven powerful angels to guard their souls, they may die but their souls shall be saved. But the planning and stratagem of the samurai is wise in a sense because Jesus said to be as innocent as doves and wise as serpents."

From:  "Eddie Poe"

"Kurosawa mastered the medium and this is his greatest masterpiece (though not his only masterpiece): it succeeds on every imaginable level- flawless filmmaking. Kurosawa stood alone."

From:  "john doe"

"the film is visually stunning, i really enjoyed this film, this is powerful and artful film making at its best, it would be cool to see this film in the cinema."

From:  "Max Cash"

"The film blew me away. The cinematics were epic and the plot was solid and timeless. The characters were well developed and interesting to watch. This film should be a must see for western audiences!!!"

From:  "takeda"

"Shichinin no samurai ga dai suki desu! Seven samurai has been my favorite film ever since I saw the first twenty minutes of it, nearly four years ago. The film has been a significant factor in my development as a moral and confident individual, and has expanded my interests significantly. I highly recommend it to anyone... "

From:  "Kees IJdo"

"Very fine movie wich give the atmosphere from Japan and the behaviour of the samurai in a perfect way."

From:  "Movie Hound"

"Farmers in early 16th century Japan seek ronin samurai to help defend their village against periodic attacks by bandits. With this simple plot (and some wonderfully understated subplots), director and co-screenplay writer Akira Kurosawa creates a three and one-half hour epic in which ronin and villagers alike are recruited, trained, exposed, humiliated, sacrificed, and, ultimately, redeemed, in a visually stunning work that makes this story hard to forget.
The acting is magnificent. Toshiro Mifune's performance is touted as brilliant, but his is only the best of a truly oustanding ensemble. Although some of the sketchier characters have limited face time, they are often still able to carve out their individuality and, thus, enrich the story. Look closely, and find the affection these samurai have for each other, even as they rib each other over their missteps in fortifying the village. Inspired by the samurai's many
sacrifices, and emboldened by their early successes, individual villagers metamorphosize from cowed, wretched figures into trained militia, and in some cases vengeful murderers. Even the bandits transform from arrogant predators into desperate, snarling prey.
But it is Kurosawa's grasp of visual drama that makes this movie so memorable. It is as if each frame was shot separately to capture the swagger of ronin in a nearby town, the humiliation and despair of the farmers, the splash and grit of a skirmish, the pattern of light playing on interwined bodies, and the movie's devastating final shot--these and many other images will burn in your memory long after this film has ended.
Some say this is Kurosawa's best film. I have no idea if this is true. But I have seen Ran, Rashomon, and The Samurai, and each of those was fantastic. And this one blows all of those away."

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