Note: Audio commentary by film historian and Kurosawa scholar Stephen Prince
A 35-minute documentary on the making of Sanjuro, created as part of the toho masterworks series Akira Kurosawa: it is wonderful to create, featuring Kurosawa, actor Tatsuya Nakadai, production designer Yoshiro Muraki, and longtime Kurosawa collaborator Teruyo Nogami
Theatrical teaser and trailer
Stills gallery of behind-the-scenes photos
Plus: a booklet featuring an essay by film critic Michael Sragow and comments from Kurosawa and his cast and crew
Sight and Sound - 11/01/2003
"...There's no lack of stunningly choreographed action scenes....[With a] final, breathtaking showdown..."
Total Film - 12/01/2003
"...SANJURO exhibits all of Kurosawa's formal beauty while parodying the conventions of the Japanese action film..."
Uncut - 01/01/2004
"The climactic duel shows the great Japanese director at his controlled, no-frills best."
A sequel to YOJIMBO, SANJURO features Toshirô Mifune reprising his role as the title character, an uncouth wanderer with a quick sword. While napping in a deserted shrine, the cynical and unkempt warrior is awakened by a meeting of nine young samurai who seek to weed out corruption within their city. While the youths take their situation at face value, the sleepy Sanjuro interjects with wise insight, pointing out that the real corruption may be hidden. The temple is suddenly surrounded by men seeking to kill the nine samurai, but Sanjuro cleverly hides them and fiercely deters the entire band of attackers, led by Muroto (Tatsuya Nakadai). Now indebted to Sanjuro, the novice warriors proceed to follow the unlikely hero around like lost puppies in their attempts to defeat the corrupt local officials.
Akira Kurosawa's YOJIMBO was such a success that the director decided to make another film in the same comedic-adventure vein. Once again Mifune is in fine form, portraying Sanjuro as a gruff character who would rather laze about and drink sake than fight for justice. Constantly suspicious of the irreverent swordsman, his nine clean-cut followers slowly begin to look past his outward appearance and discover Sanjuro's deep, if unconventional, sense of honor. Featuring an excellent supporting cast and typically brilliant photography, the film is engaging from the bold opening scene to the tense, bloody final duel between Muroto and Sanjuro.
A first-rate Japanese adventure film about a group of naive, overly serious young warriors determined to take on their corrupt clan leaders with the assistance of a wise but grizzled samurai. The legendary Mifune (SEVEN SAMURAI) reprises his role as Sanjuro in this inventive and often hilarious sequel to Kurosawa's brilliant YOJIMBO.
The print used for the Home Vision Cinema VHS version is from the Janus collection.