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|The Samurai Trilogy|
|Directed by||Hiroshi Inagaki|
|Produced by||Kazuo Takimura|
|Written by||Hideji Hōjō (play)|
Eiji Yoshikawa (novel)
|Music by||Ikuma Dan|
|Distributed by||Toho Studios|
The Samurai Trilogy is a film trilogy directed by Hiroshi Inagaki and starring Toshiro Mifune as Musashi Miyamoto and Kōji Tsuruta as Kojirō Sasaki. The films are based on Musashi, a novel by Eiji Yoshikawa about the famous duelist and author of The Book of Five Rings.
The three films are:
- Samurai I: Musashi Miyamoto (1954)
- Samurai II: Duel at Ichijoji Temple (1955)
- Samurai III: Duel at Ganryu Island (1956)
Reception and influence
Samurai I won the 1955 Academy Award for Best Foreign Language Film.
In a contemporary review, film critic Stephen Prince noticed "the absence of gore" in the films: "Severed limbs and spurting arteries hadn’t yet arrived as a movie convention, and the fights in The Samurai Trilogy are relatively chaste, not showing the carnage that such duels would have actually resulted in."
The trilogy became an influence for future films. In Kill Bill, for example, The Bride kills O-Ren Ishii with exactly the same swallow's tail move that Kojirō Sasaki uses, and the filming for this scene is almost identical as well, with the same parallel run, blood splash, and unknown victor until the faces are revealed. Bill himself references the ending to Samurai III when he suggests an "old school" duel on the beach at sunrise.