Kagemusha (Special Edition Double-DVD)

Starring: Tatsuya Nakadai & Tsutomu Yamazaki Director: Akira Kurosawa  Rated: PG: Parental Guidance Suggested
Rating 4.5
113 ratings
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Item:  CRRN 1606D
Also released as:

DVD Features:

  • Restored, High Definition Picture
  • Theatrical Trailers and Teasers
  • New and Improved English Subtitle Translation
  • Documentary on the making of Kagemusha
  • Discussions with George Lucas and Francis Ford Coppola about Kurosawa and Their Roles as Executive Producers of Kagemusha
  • Video Piece of Kurosawa's Paintings and Sketches for Kaagemusha
  • Number of Discs: 2
  • Rated: PG
  • Run Time: 3 hours
  • Video: Color
  • Released:
  • Originally Released: 1980
  • Label: Criterion
  • 2-Disc Set
  • Encoding: Region 1 (USA & Canada)
  • Special Edition
  • Aspect Ratio: Widescreen - 1.85
  • Audio:
    • Stereo - Japanese
  • Additional Release Material:
    • Audio Commentary: Stephen Prince - Kurosawa Scholar
    • Featurette:
      1. Documentary On the Making Of KAGEMUSHA, Part of Toho Masterworks Series AKIRA KUROSAWA: IT IS WONDERFUL TO CREATE
      2. HELPING A MASTER, Interviews With Francis Ford Coppola And George Lucas
  • Text/Photo Galleries:
    • IMAGE: KUROSAWA'S CONTINUITY - Video Piece That Reconstructs KAGEMUSHA Through Kurosawa's Paintings And Sketches
  • Additional Products:
    • Booklet With Essays By Scholars Darrell Davis And Peter Grilli And Biographical Sketches By Japanese Film Historian Donald Richie

Performers, Cast and Crew:

Starring &
Performer: , &
Directed by
Screenwriting by &
Produced by &
Director of Photography:
Executive Production by &

Major Awards:

Cannes 1980 - Palme d'Or

Entertainment Reviews:

Variety - 05/21/1980
"...A sweeping epic of the times of clan wars in 16th century Japan....Tatsuya Nakadai is extraordinary..."
New York Times - 10/06/1980
"...[Kurosawa's] most physically elaborate, most awesome film, full of magnificent views....Majestic..."
USA Today - 01/28/1995
"...[A] classic..."
Entertainment Weekly - 04/01/2005
"[O]ften breathtaking..."
Total Film - 02/01/2007
3 stars out of 5 -- "Primarily a chamber piece shot in muted tones, it switches to exaggerated colour for a couple of large-scale battles..."
Sight and Sound - 02/01/2007
"[S]hot in spectacular fashion. The use of colour and landscape is hugely impressive..."

Description by OLDIES.com:

In his late, color masterpiece Kagemusha, Akira Kurosawa returned to the samurai film and to a primary theme of his career - the play between illusion and reality. Sumptuously reconstructing the splendor of feudal Japan and the pageantry of war, Kurosawa creates a historical epic that is also a meditation on the nature of power. The Criterion Collection is proud to present Kagemusha for the first time in its full-length version in the United States.

Product Description:

In this dazzling epic from Akira Kurosawa, a petty thief named Kagemusha (Tatsuya Nakadai) gets saved from a death sentence because he resembles the warlord Shingen Takeda (also Nakadai). The warlord has been fighting two other leaders for control of 16th-century Japan and impersonators often take his place during battles to put him out of harm's way. Because of Kagemusha's strong physical similarities to the warlord, he's a perfect choice for a "shadow warrior." However, the arrangement suddenly changes when Shingen gets fatally wounded while watching a battle. Adhering to Shingen's final wish, the warlord's men keep the death a secret, and Kagemusha struggles to transform himself from a criminal into a leader.

KAGEMUSHA marked a welcome return for the legendary director, who had not made a movie since 1974. Nakadai, a supporting player in earlier Kurosawa films, expertly portrays the leading role(s), almost always filled in the past by ToshirĂ´ Mifune. KAGEMUSHA also features the final screen appearance of longtime Kurosawa actor, Takashi Shimura. In order to help the film get an international release, Francis Ford Coppola and George Lucas served as executive producers.

Plot Synopsis:

In this exciting, visually dazzling epic from Akira Kurosawa, a petty thief named Kagemusha gets saved from a death sentence because he resembles the warlord Shingen Takeda.
The warlord has been fighting two other leaders for control of 16th-century Japan and impersonators often take his place during battles to put him out of harm's way. Because of Kagemusha's strong physical similarities to the warlord, he's a perfect choice for a "shadow warrior."
However, the arrangement suddenly changes when Shingen gets fatally shot while watching a battle. Adhering to Shingen's final wish, the warlord's men keep the death a secret and Kagemusha takes his place. But Shingen's oldest son refuses to go along with the plan and leads his own attack on one of the enemy armies.
Although Kagemusha's true identity is eventually discovered and he's sent away, the now-brave "shadow warrior" joins the warlord's son to make a final heroic attack on the enemy.

Plot Keywords:

Action | Classic | Death | Recommended | Samurai | Theatrical Release | War

Production Notes:

  • Copyright 1980 Twentieth Century Fox Film Corporation.
  • Color by Eastmancolor.
  • Co-produced by Kurosawa Productions.
  • Competed at the Cannes Film Festival in May of 1980. It tied with Bob Fosse's "All That Jazz" for the festival's top prize.
  • Played at the New York Film Festival on October 12 and 13, 1980.
  • In Japanese with English subtitles.
  • Additional Cast: Jinpachi Nezu (Sohachiro Tsuchiya), Shuji Otaki (Masakage Yamagata), Daisuke Ryu (Nobunaga Odaa), Masyuki Yui (Ieyasu Tokugawa) and Kaori Mornoi (Otsuyanokata).
  • The film cost $6 million to make -- not a lot for Hollywood but an enormous amount for a Japanese film.
  • Francis Coppola and George Lucas acted as go-betweens between Akira Kurosawa and 20th Century-Fox.
  • The film was released at 179 minutes outside the United States.

Movie Lovers' Ratings & Reviews:

Customer Rating: Rating 4.5
Based on 113 ratings.
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Product Info:

  • Sales Rank: 117,951
  • UPC: 715515015622
  • Shipping Weight: 0.37/lbs (approx)
  • International Shipping: 2 items