Seven Samurai

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Seven Samurai
Seven Samurai poster.jpg
Theatrical release poster
Japanese七人の侍
HepburnShichinin no Samurai
Directed byAkira Kurosawa
Screenplay by
Produced bySōjirō Motoki
Starring
CinematographyAsakazu Nakai
Edited byAkira Kurosawa
Music byFumio Hayasaka
Production
company
Distributed byToho
Release date
  • 26 April 1954 (1954-04-26)
Running time
207 minutes (with intermission)
CountryJapan
LanguageJapanese
Budget¥210 million ($580,000)[1]
Box officeJapan rentals: ¥268.2 million[2][3] ($2.3 million)
USA: $833,533

Seven Samurai (Japanese: 七人の侍, Hepburn: Shichinin no Samurai), released in the United States initially as The Magnificent Seven, is a 1954 Japanese epic samurai drama film co-written, edited, and directed by Akira Kurosawa. The story takes place in 1586[a] during the Sengoku period of Japanese history. It follows the story of a village of desperate farmers who hire seven rōnin (masterless samurai) to combat bandits who will return after the harvest to steal their crops.

At the time, the film was the most expensive film made in Japan. It took a year to shoot and faced many difficulties. It was the second-highest grossing domestic film in Japan in 1954. Many reviews compared the film to westerns.[4]

Since its release, Seven Samurai has consistently ranked highly in critics' lists of the greatest films in cinema history, such as the BFI's Sight & Sound and Rotten Tomatoes polls.[5][6][7][8] It was also voted the greatest foreign-language film of all time in BBC's 2018 international critics' poll.[9] Its influence on the film industry has been unprecedented, and it is often regarded today as one of the most "remade, reworked, and referenced" films in cinema.[10]

Plot[edit]

In 1586, a bandit gang discusses raiding a mountain village, but their chief decides to wait until after the harvest. The villagers overhear this and turn to Gisaku, the village elder and miller, who declares that they should hire samurai to protect them. Since they have no money and can only offer food as payment, Gisaku advises them to find hungry samurai.

Several villagers go into town and eventually find Kambei, an aging but experienced rōnin, whom they see rescuing a young boy held hostage by a cornered thief. A young samurai named Katsushirō asks to become Kambei's disciple. The villagers ask for Kambei's help, and though initially reluctant, he agrees. He then recruits his old comrade-in-arms Shichirōji, along with Gorobei, Heihachi, and Kyūzō, a taciturn master swordsman whom Katsushirō regards with awe. Kikuchiyo, a wild and eccentric rōnin, is also accepted despite attempts to drive him away.

Upon arrival, the samurai find the villagers cowering in their homes, refusing to greet them. Insulted, Kikuchiyo rings the village alarm, prompting the villagers to come out and beg for protection. Slowly, the samurai and farmers learn to trust each other. Katsushirō meets Shino, a farmer's daughter whose father has disguised her as a boy, and becomes intimate despite knowing their different social classes prohibit it. Later, the samurai are angered when Kikuchiyo brings them armor and weapons, which the villagers acquired by killing other samurai injured or fleeing from battle. Kikuchiyo angrily retorts that samurai are responsible for much of the suffering farmers endure, revealing his origin as an orphaned farmer's son. The samurai's anger turns to shame.

Kambei arms the villagers with bamboo spears, and divides them into squads to prepare defences and train. Three bandit scouts are spotted; two are killed, while the survivor reveals the location of their encampment before being slain by the villagers. The samurai burn down the camp in a pre-emptive strike. Rikichi, a troubled villager aiding the samurai, breaks down when he sees his wife, who was kidnapped and made a concubine after a previous raid. Upon seeing Rikichi, she runs back into a burning hut to her death. Heihachi is killed by a gun shot while rescuing Rikichi. The saddened villagers are inspired by Kikuchiyo, who raises a banner Heihachi made to represent the samurai and the village.

When the bandits finally arrive, they are confounded by the new fortifications, which include a moat and high wooden fences. They burn the village's outlying houses, including Gisaku's mill. Gisaku's family tries to save him when he refuses to abandon it, but all perish except a lone baby rescued by Kikuchiyo. The bandits then besiege the village, but many are killed as the defenders thwart every attack, which include cavalry charges that are allowed through a breach so that they could be ambushed.

The bandits possess three matchlock muskets. Kyūzō ventures out alone and retrieves one; an envious Kikuchiyo abandons his squad to bring back another. However, Kikuchiyo's absence allows a handful of bandits to infiltrate his post and kill several farmers, and Gorobei is slain defending his position. That night, Kambei predicts that the bandits will make one final assault due to their dwindling numbers. Meanwhile, Katsushirō and Shino's relationship is discovered by her father, who is enraged that her virginity has been taken and beats her. Kambei and the villagers intervene; Shichirōji reasons that such a coupling is normal before battle and that they should be forgiven, but the social shame is irreconcilable.

The next morning, the defenders allow the remaining bandits to enter the village and then ambush them. As the battle winds down, the bandit chief hides in the women's hut armed with a musket, and shoots Kyūzō dead. An enraged Kikuchiyo charges in and is shot as well, but kills the chief before dying. The remaining outlaws are slain.

In the aftermath, Kambei, Katsushirō and Shichirōji watch from the funeral mounds of their comrades as the joyful villagers sing whilst planting their new crops. Katsushirō and Shino meet one last time, but their relationship has ended. Kambei reflects to Shichirōji that it is another pyrrhic victory for the samurai: "The victory belongs to those peasants. Not to us."

Cast[edit]

The seven samurai[edit]

  • Toshiro Mifune as Kikuchiyo (菊千代), a humorous, mercurial and temperamental rogue who lies about being a samurai, but eventually proves his worth and resourcefulness
  • Takashi Shimura as Kambei Shimada (島田勘兵衛, Shimada Kanbei), a war-weary but honourable and strategic rōnin, and the leader of the seven
  • Daisuke Katō as Shichirōji (七郎次), Kambei's old friend and former lieutenant
  • Isao Kimura as Katsushirō Okamoto (岡本勝四郎, Okamoto Katsushirō), the untested son of a wealthy, land-owning samurai, whom Kambei reluctantly takes in as a disciple[11]
  • Minoru Chiaki as Heihachi Hayashida (林田平八, Hayashida Heihachi), an amiable though less-skilled fighter, whose charm and wit maintain his comrades' morale in the face of adversity
  • Seiji Miyaguchi as Kyūzō (久蔵), a serious, stone-faced and supremely skilled swordsman
  • Yoshio Inaba as Gorōbei Katayama (片山五郎兵衛, Katayama Gorōbei), a skilled archer, who acts as Kambei's second-in-command and helps create the master-plan for the village's defense

Villagers[edit]

Others[edit]

Production[edit]

Writing[edit]

Akira Kurosawa had originally wanted to direct a film about a single day in the life of a samurai. Later, in the course of his research, he discovered a story about samurai defending farmers. According to actor Toshiro Mifune, the film was originally going to be called Six Samurai, with Mifune playing the role of Kyūzō. During the six-week scriptwriting process, Kurosawa and his screenwriters realized that "six sober samurai were a bore—they needed a character that was more off-the-wall".[13] Kurosawa recast Mifune as Kikuchiyo and gave him creative license to improvise actions in his performance.[citation needed] During the six-week scriptwriting process, the screenwriters were not allowed visitors or phone calls.[14]

Kurosawa and the writers were innovative in refining the theme of the assembly of heroic characters to perform a mission. According to Michael Jeck's DVD commentary, Seven Samurai was among the first films to use the now-common plot element of the recruiting and gathering of heroes into a team to accomplish a specific goal, a device used in later films such as The Guns of Navarone, Sholay, the western remake The Magnificent Seven, and Pixar's animated film A Bug's Life.[15] Film critic Roger Ebert speculates in his review that the sequence introducing the leader Kambei (in which the samurai shaves off his topknot, a sign of honor among samurai, in order to pose as a monk to rescue a boy from a kidnapper) could be the origin of the practice, now common in action movies, of introducing the main hero with an undertaking unrelated to the main plot.[16]

Other plot devices such as the reluctant hero, romance between a local woman and the youngest hero, and the nervousness of the common citizenry, had appeared in other films before this but were combined in this film.

Set design[edit]

Kurosawa refused to shoot the peasant village at Toho Studios and had a complete set constructed at Tagata on the Izu Peninsula, Shizuoka. Although the studio protested the increased production costs, Kurosawa was adamant that "the quality of the set influences the quality of the actors' performances... For this reason, I have the sets made exactly like the real thing. It restricts the shooting but encourages that feeling of authenticity."[17] He also spoke of 'intense labour' of making the film: "It rained all the time, we didn't have enough horses. It was just the kind of picture that is impossible to make in this country."[18]

Filming[edit]

Film makers stand in front of actors while filming the movie.
Akira Kurosawa directing Toshiro Mifune

Long before it was released, the film had already become a topic of wide discussion.[18] After three months of pre-production it had 148 shooting days spread out over a year—four times the span covered in the original budget, which eventually came to almost half a million dollars. Toho Studios closed down production at least twice. Each time, Kurosawa calmly went fishing, reasoning that the studio had already heavily invested in the production and would allow him to complete the picture. The film's final battle scene, originally scheduled to be shot at the end of summer, was shot in February in near-freezing temperatures. Mifune later recalled that he had never been so cold in his life.[17]

Through the creative freedom provided by the studio, Kurosawa made use of telephoto lenses, which were rare in 1954, as well as multiple cameras which allowed the action to fill the screen and place the audience right in the middle of it.[18] "If I had filmed it in the traditional shot-by-shot method, there was no guarantee that any action could be repeated in exactly the same way twice." He found it to be very effective and he later used it in movies that were less action-oriented. His method was to put one camera in the most orthodox shooting position, another camera for quick shots and a third camera "as a kind of guerrilla unit". This method made for very complicated shoots, for which Kurosawa choreographed the movement of all three cameras by using diagrams.[17]

The martial arts choreography for the film was led by Yoshio Sugino of the Tenshin Shōden Katori Shintō-ryū. Initially Junzo Sasamori of the Ono-ha Itto-ryu was working along with Sugino, but he was asked by the Ministry of Education to teach in Europe during production.

Editing[edit]

During filming Kurosawa quickly earned a reputation with his crew as the "world's greatest editor" because of his practice of editing late at night throughout the shooting. He described this as a practical necessity that is incomprehensible to most directors, who on major production spent at least several months with their editors assembling and cutting the film after shooting is completed.[19]: 89 

Soundtrack[edit]

Kurosawa had a heightened interest in the soundtracks of his films. For The Seven Samurai, he collaborated for the seventh and penultimate time with friend and composer Fumio Hayasaka. Hayasaka was already seriously ill when Kurosawa visited him during the filming of the Seven Samurai and he died prematurely of tuberculosis on October 15, 1955, at the age of 41, while Kurosawa was filming I Live in Fear, Kurosawa's next film, which Hayasaka was unable to complete.[20]

Track list
No.TitleLength
1."Title Backing (M-1-2)"3:17
2."To the Water Mill (M-2-1)"1:00
3."Samurai Search One (M-3-1)"0:49
4."Kambei and Katsushiro ~ Kikuchiyo's Mambo (M-6-2)"3:43
5."Rikichi's Tears ~ White Rice (M-7-1)"2:09
6."Samurai Search Two (M-8-2)"1:30
7."Gorobei (M-9-1)"2:18
8."Let's Do It (M-10-1)"1:04
9."A Fish That Was Caught (M-11-2)"1:43
10."Six Samurai (M-12-2)"2:51
11."Unconventional Man (M-13-2)"1:13
12."Morning of Departure (M-14-1)"1:02
13."Travel Scenery ~ Our Castle (M-15-1)"2:51
14."Wild Warrior's Coming (M-17-2)"0:35
15."Seven Men Complete (M-18-1)"1:24
16."Katsushiro and Shino (M-19·20-3)"2:43
17."Katsushiro, Returning (M-21-3)"0:12
18."Bed Change (M-22-1)"0:57
19."In the Forest of The Water God (M-23-4)"1:34
20."Barley Field (M-24-1)"0:20
21."Kambei's Anger (M-25-2)"2:15
22."Interlude (M-Interlude)"5:18
23."Harvest (M-26-1)"2:05
24."Rikichi's Conflict (M-27·28-3)"1:51
25."Heihachi and Rikichi (M-28-5)"0:57
26."Rural Landscape (M-29·30-1)"2:35
27."Wimp, Samurai's Habit (M-31-1)"1:49
28."Omen of Wild Warriors (M-32-4)"0:26
29."To the Night Attack (M-35, From Film)"0:55
30."Flag (M-39, From Film)"0:20
31."Sudden Reunion (M-40-1)"0:25
32."Magnificent Samurai (M-41-2)"2:29
33."Invisible Wild Warriors (M-43-1)"1:00
34."Kikuchiyo's Rouse (M-44-1)"0:49
35."Compensation (M-45-1)"1:07
36."Tryst (M-46-1)"1:02
37."Manzo and Shino (M-47-4, M-48)"1:02
38."Rice Planting Song (PS. From Film)"1:22
39."Ending (M-49-2)"0:43
Total length:62:14

Themes[edit]

In analyzing the film's accuracy to sixteenth century Japan, Philip Kemp wrote, "to the farmers whose crops were pillaged, houses burned, womenfolk raped or abducted, the distinction between samurai warriors and bandit troupes became all but meaningless."[21] Kemp notes how Kikuchiyo is "A farmer's son who wants to become a samurai, he can see both sides: yes, he rages, the farmers are cowardly, mean, treacherous, quite capable of robbing and killing a wounded samurai—but it's the samurai, with their looting and brutality, who have made the farmers that way. And the shamefaced reaction of his comrades makes it clear that they can't dispute the charge."[21]

Kenneth Turan notes that the long runtime "reflects the entirety of the agricultural year, from planting to gorgeous blossoming to harvesting."[14] Historian David Conrad notes that at the time of the movie's release, nearly half of the Japanese population was still employed in agriculture. Although farm incomes were already rising as part of the Japanese economic miracle that would transform rural and urban lives in the 1950s and 60s, many of the village conditions depicted in the movie were still familiar to audiences in 1954.[22]

Release[edit]

At 207 minutes, including a five-minute intermission with music, Seven Samurai would be the longest picture of Kurosawa's career. Fearing that American audiences would be unwilling to sit through the entire picture, Toho Studios originally removed 50 minutes from the film for U.S. distribution.[14] Similar edits were distributed around the world until the 1990s; since then the complete version is usually seen.

The film was released in the United States in 1955, initially under the title The Magnificent Seven.[23][24][25] Following the 1960 release of the American remake The Magnificent Seven, the Japanese film's title was reverted back to its original title Seven Samurai in the United States.[4]

Home media[edit]

Prior to the advent of DVD, various edited versions were distributed on video, but most DVDs and Blu-rays contain Kurosawa's complete original version, including its five-minute intermission. Since 2006, the Criterion Collection's US releases have featured their own exclusive 2K restoration, whereas most others, including all non-US Blu-rays, have an older HD transfer from Toho in Japan.[26][27]

4K restoration[edit]

In 2016, Toho carried out a six-month-long 4K restoration, along with Kurosawa's Ikiru (1952). As the whereabouts of Seven Samurai's original negative are unknown, second generation fine grain positive and third generation duplicate negative elements were used. As of 2020, this version has not been released anywhere on home video.[28][29] It is available as a Digital Cinema Package from the British Film Institute.[30]

Reception[edit]

Box office[edit]

Seven Samurai was well received by Japanese audiences, earning a distribution rental income of ¥268.23 million,[3] within the first twelve months of its release.[2] It was Japan's third highest-grossing film of 1954, out-grossing Godzilla,[31] which itself had sold 9.69 million tickets[32] and grossed an inflation-adjusted equivalent of ¥13.7 billion or $105,000,000 (equivalent to $175,000,000 in 2021) in 1998.[33]

Overseas, the box office income for the film's 1956 North American release is currently unknown.[34] The film's 2002 re-release grossed $271,841 in the United States and $4,124 in France.[35] At the 2002 Kurosawa & Mifune Festival in the United States, the film grossed $561,692.[36] This adds up to at least $833,533 grossed in the United States.

Other European re-releases between 1997 and 2018 sold 27,627 tickets.[37]

Home media[edit]

As of 2017, Seven Samurai is the best-selling home video title ever released by the British Film Institute.[38]

Critical response[edit]

On the review aggregator website Rotten Tomatoes, the film holds a perfect approval rating of 100% based on 91 reviews, with an average rating of 9.6/10. The site's critical consensus reads: "Arguably Akira Kurosawa's masterpiece, The Seven Samurai is an epic adventure classic with an engrossing story, memorable characters, and stunning action sequences that make it one of the most influential films ever made".[39] It currently ranks 18th on their action/adventure voting list,[40] and third on their top 100 art house and international films.[41]

Upon its initial US release as The Magnificent Seven, film critic Wanda Hale reviewed the film in New York Daily News and rated it four stars in 1956. She noted it was very different from Kurosawa's previous films Rashomon (1950) and Gate of Hell (1953) in that it was "an action picture" but that Kurosawa "has exceeded himself" with "The Magnificent Seven." She praised Kurosawa's storytelling for "his deep perception of human nature" and "awareness that no two people are alike," his "sensitive, knowing direction" that "never lets audiences lose interest" in the plot development, his talent for making the battle scenes and violent action "terrifically exciting to audiences" and his ability to naturally weave humor and romance between the serious action. She also praised the "inspired performances" of the cast, including Takashi Shimura and Toshiro Mifune, among other actors.[24]

Many critics outside of Japan have compared the film to westerns. Bosley Crowther, writing for The New York Times, said the film "bears cultural comparison with our own popular western High Noon. That is to say, it is a solid, naturalistic, he-man outdoor action film, wherein the qualities of human strength and weakness are discovered in a crisis taut with peril."[4] Film historian Peter Cowie quoted Kurosawa as saying, "Good westerns are liked by everyone. Since humans are weak, they want to see good people and great heroes. Westerns have been done over and over again, and in the process, a kind of grammar has evolved. I have learned from this grammar of the western." Cowie continues this thought by saying, "That Seven Samurai can be so seamlessly transposed to an American setting underlines how carefully Kurosawa had assimilated this grammar."[42]

In 1982, it was voted number three in the Sight & Sound critics' poll of greatest films. In the 2002 Sight & Sound critics' poll the film was ranked at number eleven.[43] In the Sight & Sound directors' poll, it was voted at number ten in 1992[44] and number nine in 2002.[45] It also ranked number seventeen on the 2012 Sight & Sound critics' poll,[46] in both cases being tied with Kurosawa's own Rashomon (1950). It also ranked at number seventeen in 2012 Sight & Sound directors' poll.

In 1998, the film was ranked at number five in Time Out magazine's Top 100 Films (Centenary).[47] Entertainment Weekly voted it the 12th Greatest film of all time in 1999.[48] In 2000, the film was ranked at No.23 in The Village Voice's 100 Greatest Films list.[49] In January 2002, the film was voted at No. 81 on the list of the "Top 100 Essential Films of All Time" by the National Society of Film Critics.[50][51]

In 2007, the film was ranked at No. 3 by The Guardian's readers' poll on its list of "40 greatest foreign films of all time".[52] The film was voted at No. 57 on the list of "100 Greatest Films" by the prominent French magazine Cahiers du cinéma in 2008.[53] In 2009 the film was voted at No. 2 on the list of The Greatest Japanese Films of All Time by Japanese film magazine Kinema Junpo.[54] Seven Samurai was ranked number one on Empire magazine's list of "The 100 Best Films of World Cinema" in 2010.[55]

Film critic Roger Ebert added it to his list of Great Movies in 2001.[56] Martin Scorsese included it on a list of "39 Essential Foreign Films for a Young Filmmaker."[57] It was also listed by Russian filmmaker Andrei Tarkovsky as one of his top ten favorite films.[58]

Kurosawa both directed and edited many of his films, including Seven Samurai. In 2012, the Motion Picture Editors Guild listed Seven Samurai as the 33rd best-edited film of all time based on a survey of its members.[59] In 2018, it was voted the greatest foreign-language film of all time in BBC's poll of 209 critics in 43 countries.[9] In 2019, when Time Out polled film critics, directors, actors and stunt actors, Seven Samurai was voted the second best action film of all time.[60] In 2021 the film was ranked at number 7 on Time Out magazine's list of "The 100 Best Movies of All Time".[61]

Legacy[edit]

Seven Samurai was a technical and creative watershed that became Japan's highest-grossing movie and set a new standard for the industry. It has remained highly influential, often seen as one of the most "remade, reworked, referenced" films in cinema.[10]

There have been pachinko machines based on Seven Samurai in Japan. Seven Samurai pachinko machines have sold 94,000 units in Japan as of March 2018,[62] equivalent to an estimated $470 million in gross revenue.[62][63]

Remakes[edit]

Its influence can be most strongly felt in the Western The Magnificent Seven (1960), a film specifically adapted from Seven Samurai. Director John Sturges took Seven Samurai and adapted it to the Old West, with the samurai replaced by gunslingers. Many of The Magnificent Seven's scenes mirror those of Seven Samurai.[64] The film's title itself comes from the US localized title of Seven Samurai, which was initially released under the title The Magnificent Seven in the United States in 1955.[23] However, in an interview with R. B. Gadi, Kurosawa expressed how "the American copy of The Magnificent Seven is a disappointment, although entertaining. It is not a version of Seven Samurai".[19]: 42  Stephen Prince argues that considering samurai films and Westerns respond to different cultures and contexts, what Kurosawa found useful was not their content but rather he was inspired by their levels of syntactic movement, framing, form and grammar.[65]

The Invincible Six (1970), an American action film directed by Jean Negulesco, has been described as "a knockoff of the Seven Samurai/Magnificent Seven genre set in 1960s Iran."[66]

Battle Beyond the Stars (1980) is an American science fiction film directed by Jimmy T. Murakami and produced by Roger Corman. The film, intended as a "Magnificent Seven in outer space",[67][68] is based on the plots of The Magnificent Seven and Seven Samurai. The movie acknowledges its debt to Seven Samurai by calling the protagonist's homeworld Akir and its inhabitants the Akira.

The plot of Seven Samurai was re-worked for The Seven Magnificent Gladiators (1983), an Italian sword-and-sandal film.

The steampunk anime series Samurai 7 (2004) is based on Seven Samurai.

Some film critics have noted similarities between Pixar's A Bug's Life (1998) and Seven Samurai.[69][70]

Several elements from The Seven Samurai are also argued to have been adapted for Star Wars (1977).[71] Plot elements of Seven Samurai are also used in the Star Wars Anthology film Rogue One (2016).[72] The Clone Wars episode "Bounty Hunters" (2008) pays direct homage to Akira Kurosawa by adapting the film's plot, as does The Mandalorian episode "Chapter 4: Sanctuary" (2019).[73]

Seven Swords (2005), a Hong Kong wuxia film produced and directed by Tsui Hark, has a plot revolving around seven warriors helping villagers to defend against mercenaries in homage to Seven Samurai.

Cultural impact[edit]

Seven Samurai is largely touted as what made the "assembling the team" trope popular in movies and other media. This has since become a common trope in many action movies and heist films.[72] Seven Samurai spawned its own subgenre of "men-on-a-mission" films,[74] also known as the "Seven Samurai formula" where "a team of disparate characters are grouped to undertake a specific mission." The formula has been widely adopted by many films and other media.[4][73] Along with remakes already listed above, other examples of the "Seven Samurai formula" can be seen in films such as Saving Private Ryan (1998),[73] The Dirty Dozen (1967), Star Wars (1977),[4] The Savage Seven (1968),[75] The 13th Warrior (1999), The Expendables and Avengers: Endgame.[76] as well as television series such as The A-Team and The Walking Dead.[73]

According to Stephen Prince, the film's "racing, powerful narrative engine, breathtaking pacing, and sense-assaulting visual style" (what he calls a "kinesthetic cinema" approach to "action filmmaking and exciting visual design") was "the clearest precursor" and became "the model for" the Hollywood blockbuster "brand of moviemaking" that emerged in the 1970s.[77] The visuals, plot, dialogue and film techniques of Seven Samurai inspired a wide range of filmmakers, ranging from Steven Spielberg and George Lucas to Martin Scorsese and Quentin Tarantino.[77][78] According to Prince, Kurosawa was "a mentor figure" to an emerging generation of American filmmakers, such as Spielberg and Lucas, who went on to develop the Hollywood blockbuster format in the 1970s.[77]

Elements from Seven Samurai have been borrowed by many films. Examples include plot elements in films such as Three Amigos (1986) by John Landis, borrowed scenes in George Miller's Mad Max: Fury Road (2015), and various elements (including visual elements and the way the action, suspense and movement are presented) in the large-scale battle scenes of films such as The Lord of the Rings: The Two Towers (2002), The Matrix Revolutions (2003) and numerous Marvel Studios films.[78][73] The opening action scene (where the hero is introduced in an action scenario unrelated to the rest of the plot) later seen in many action films (such as the James Bond films) has origins in Seven Samurai, with its opening action scene where Kambei poses as a monk to save a boy from a kidnapper.[73] A visual element from Seven Samurai that has inspired a number of films is the use of rain to set the tone for action scenes; examples of this include Blade Runner (1982), The Lord of the Rings: The Two Towers, and The Matrix Revolutions.[79] Seven Samurai's film editing technique of cutting on motion and the mentor-student dynamics in the plot (also seen in other Kurosawa films) have also been widely adopted by Hollywood blockbusters (such as Marvel films).[73]

Sholay (1975), a "Curry Western" Indian film written by Salim–Javed (Salim Khan and Javed Akhtar) and directed by Ramesh Sippy, has a plot that was loosely styled after Seven Samurai. Sholay became the most commercially successful Indian film and revolutionized Bollywood.[80][81] Later Indian films inspired by Seven Samurai include Mani Ratnam's Thalapathi (1991) and the Bollywood film China Gate (1998).[79]

Director Zack Snyder said, "Bruce [Wayne] is having to go out and sort of ‘Seven Samurai' the Justice League together” in the 2017 film Justice League.[82] According to Bryan Young of Syfy Wire, the Marvel Cinematic Universe films The Avengers (2012) and Avengers: Infinity War (2018) also owe "a great debt to" Seven Samurai, noting a number of similar plot and visual elements.[83] Other examples of films that reference Seven Samurai include the Australian science fiction film Mad Max 2: The Road Warrior (1981), the American comedy film Galaxy Quest (1999), and the 2016 remake of The Magnificent Seven.[79]

Awards and nominations[edit]

Venice Film Festival (1954)
Mainichi Film Award (1955)
British Academy Film Awards (1956)
Academy Awards (1957)[84]
Jussi Awards (1959)

See also[edit]

Notes[edit]

  1. ^ "Kikuchiyo" has a genealogy which shows he was "born the 17th of the 2nd month of Tenshô 2 (1574), a wood-dog year". Kanbei's comment is "o-nushi 13 sai niwa mienu ga" (You don't look 13...). Since the traditional way of counting ages in Japan is by the number of calendar years one has lived in, this means the story takes place in 1586.

References[edit]

  1. ^ Ryfle, Steve; Godziszewski, Ed (2017). Ishiro Honda: A Life in Film, from Godzilla to Kurosawa. Wesleyan University Press. p. 105. ISBN 9780819570871.
  2. ^ a b Sharp, Jasper (7 May 2015). "Still crazy-good after 60 years: Seven Samurai". British Film Institute. Retrieved 16 February 2015.
  3. ^ a b "キネマ旬報ベスト・テン85回全史 1924-2011". Kinema Junpo. Kinema Junposha. 2012. p. 112.
  4. ^ a b c d e Sharp, Jasper (20 May 2020). "Seven Samurai: The rocky road to classic status of Akira Kurosawa's action masterpiece". British Film Institute. Retrieved 18 January 2021.
  5. ^ "Top 100 Movies Of All Time". Rotten Tomatoes. Fandango Media. Retrieved 26 June 2019.
  6. ^ "Critics' top 100". bfi.org.uk. British Film Institute. Retrieved 26 June 2019.
  7. ^ "Sight & Sound 1992 Critics poll". listal.com.
  8. ^ "Sight & Sound 2002 Critics' Greatest Films poll". listal.com.
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