Blu-ray Disc Features:
- Rated: Not Rated
- Run Time: 3 hours
- Video: Color
- Released: August 18, 2009
- Originally Released: 1980
- Label: Criterion
- Encoding: Region 1 (USA & Canada)
- Note: Audio Commentary by Kurosawa Scholar Stephen Prince
- Luca, Coppola, and Kurosawa, a 19-minute interview piece in which Directors George Lucas and Francis Ford Coppola discuss Kurosawa and Kagemusha
- A 41-minute Documentary on the making of the film
- Image: Kurosawa's Continuity, a 44-minute video piece reconstructing Kagemusha through Kurosawa's paintings and sketches
- Suntory Whiskey Commercials made on the set of Kagemusha
- Gallery of Storyboards painted by Kurosawa and images of their realization on-screen
- Theatrical Trailers and Teasers
- Plus: A Booklet featuring an essay by Scholar Peter Grilli and an Interview with Kurosawa by renowned critic Tony Rayns
- Aspect Ratio: Widescreen - 1.85
- Dolby Digital 2.0 Stereo - Japanese
- DTS HD Master Audio - Japanese
- Subtitles - English
Performers, Cast and Crew:
Cannes 1980 -
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
Entertainment Weekly - 04/01/2005
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..."
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 Toshirô 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.
In his late color masterpiece "Kagemusha (The Shadow Warrior)," director Akira Kurosawa returned to the samurai film and to a primary theme of his celebrated career-the play between illusion and reality. Sumptuously reconstructing the splendor of feudal Japan and the pageantry of war, Kurosawa creates a soaring historical epic that is also a somber meditation on the nature of power.
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.
Theatrical Release |
- 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.