ABC Film Challenge – World Cinema – Y – Yojimbo (1961) Movie Rob’s Pick


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“A truce is merely the seed for an even bigger battle, nothing is worse! ” – Sanjuro

Number of Times Seen – 1 (21 Jun 2019)

Brief Synopsis – A Japanese warrior arrives in a town being run by two different warring gangs and decides to try and put a stop to the fighting.

My Take on it – This is a film that I heard about years ago, but due to my dislike for foreign language films, I stayed far away from it until now.

I have seen numerous adaptations of this film including A Fistful of Dollars (1964) and Last Man Standing (1996), but was still curious to see how Akira Kurosawa’s original stands up against the remakes.

This is an excellent film and is quite gripping throughout.

It’s amazing to think about the fact that this film started a whole genre of films that became so part of the mainstream of movies in the nearly 60 years since this was made.

Kurosawa does an amazing job with this film’s story and it’s breathtaking to watch how the character is able to seamlessly move back and forth between the warring sides without either side getting too suspicious of him.

The fact that this film largely deals with sword fighting, its great seeing the close quarter combat between the various characters throughout.

The brilliance of this film is the way that things move along so swiftly since the protagonist is able to use his talent, cunning and experience as a warrior to slowly deplete the numbers on both sides.

As great as this film is, Leone’s version with Clint Eastwood will always be the best version of the story largely due to the language barrier issue.

Nevertheless, the essence of this film remains wholly intact throughout and even if one is familiar with the various adaptations that have been made over the years, the story here still feels very unique in the methods that it utilizes throughout.

Bottom Line – Excellent film that started the idea of this kind of genre. Kurosawa does a wonderful job with this story as we get to see how the character seamlessly moves from side to side without either of the warring sides to get too suspicious of him The brilliance of this film is in the way that things move along so swiftly and we get to constantly see how talented, cunning and experienced this warrior is as he slowly lowers the number of adversaries one by one.  Leone’s version of this film will always be slightly better in my eyes due to the language barrier, but the essence of this film still remains intact even if one is familiar with the various adaptations that have been filmed over the years. Highly Recommended!

MovieRob’s Favorite Trivia – Sergio Leone was inspired by this film and made the famous “spaghetti western” A Fistful of Dollars (1964) with a similar plot. However, because Leone did not officially get permission to remake this film, which was copyrighted, Akira Kurosawa sued him. Leone paid him a sum plus 15% of the profits. (From IMDB)

Rating – Oscar Worthy (9/10)

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