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Seven Samurai (1954)

Director: Akira Kurosawa Cinematographer:  Asakazu Nakai

Deeply influenced by Hollywood and particularly the westerns of John Ford, Kurosawa’s epic samurai adventure takes place in Warring States Period Japan. It follows the story of a village of farmers that hire seven masterless samurai (including the terrific Toshiro Mifune) to combat bandits who will return after the harvest to steal their crops. One of the most influential films of all time, evidenced by the breakthrough films of directors such as Spielberg, Lucas and Sergio Leone, it was remade by Sturges as the western The Magnificent Seven six years later. With its memorable characters and stunning action sequences Seven Samurai is as much a thrilling and engrossing form of entertainment as it is art and, probably, the most beloved of Japan’s jidaigeki masterpieces.

Buy or Rent (watch online)
The Criterion Collection [Blu-ray]
Akira Kurosawa: Four Samurai Classics (Seven Samurai / The Hidden Fortress / Yojimbo / Sanjuro) The Criterion Collection (DVD)
Original Soundtrack
Everything I Know About Filmmaking I Learned Watching Seven Samurai (book/kindle)
Movie Poster – 11 x 17
Photo Featuring Toshiro Mifune, Takashi Shimura, Keiko Tsushima, Yukiko Shimazaki, Kamatari Fujiwara 8×10



The Seven Samurai

  • Takashi Shimura as Kambei Shimada (島田勘兵衛 Shimada Kanbei), a ronin and the leader of the group
  • Yoshio Inaba as Gorōbei Katayama (片山五郎兵衛 Katayama Gorōbei), a skilled archer recruited by Kambei. He acts as second-in-command and helps create the master plan for the village’s defense.
  • Daisuke Katō as Shichirōji (七郎次), an old friend of Kambei and his former lieutenant
  • Seiji Miyaguchi as Kyūzō (久蔵), a serious, stone-faced samurai and supremely skilled swordsman
  • Minoru Chiaki as Heihachi Hayashida (林田平八 Hayashida Heihachi), an amiable though less-skilled fighter. His charm and wit maintain his comrades’ good cheer in the face of adversity.
  • Isao Kimura as Katsushirō Okamoto (岡本勝四郎 Okamoto Katsushirō), a young untested warrior. The son of a wealthy landowner samurai, he left home to become a wandering samurai against his family’s wishes.
  • Toshiro Mifune as Kikuchiyo (菊千代), a humorous, though mercurial and temperamental, character who initially claims to be a samurai


  • Yoshio Tsuchiya as Rikichi (利吉), a hotheaded and relatively young villager
  • Bokuzen Hidari as Yohei (与平), a very timid old man who shares some comic scenes with Kikuchiyo
  • Yukiko Shimazaki as Rikichi’s wife
  • Kamatari Fujiwara as Manzō (万造), a farmer who disguises his daughter as a man to try to protect her from the samurai
  • Keiko Tsushima as Shino (志乃), Manzō’s daughter
  • Kokuten Kōdō as Gisaku (儀作), the elder miller and village patriarch, referred to as “Grandad”
  • Yoshio Kosugi as Mosuke, one of the farmers sent to town to hire samurai


  • Shinpei Takagi as the bandit chief
  • Shin Otomo as the bandit second-in-command
  • Haruo Nakajima as a bandit
  • Eijirō Tōno as a thief
  • Atsushi Watanabe as a bun seller
  • Jun Tatara as a coolie
  • Sachio Sakai as a coolie
  • Takeshi Seki as a coolie
  • Tatsuya Nakadai as a samurai wandering through town (uncredited)

Directed by Akira Kurosawa
Produced by Sōjirō Motoki
Screenplay by Akira Kurosawa, Shinobu Hashimoto, Hideo Oguni
Music by Fumio Hayasaka
Cinematography Asakazu Nakai
Edited by Akira Kurosawa
Running time 207 minutes
Country Japan
Language Japanese

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