Director – Akira Kurosawa – 1954 – Japan – Cert. PG – 207m – Oscar nominated
Seven samurai must defend a poor village of farmers from bandits in one of the greatest action movies ever made – both released in cinemas in a brand-new restoration from Friday, October 29th and currently streaming on BFI Player as part of the Japan 2021 programme alongside 21 other Kurosawa films together with a much wider selection of Japanese movies.
Seven Samurai opens with a group of horsemen on a horizon. Notwithstanding the Japanese titles on the screen, you could be watching a Hollywood Western. Although what follows is a tale of samurai, bandits and farmers, it’s so close to ideas in a Western that Hollywood replaced sword with guns and retooled it as the hugely successful The Magnificent Seven (1960).
The plot concerns a small farming village threatened by bandits, who attack at harvest time and take all the crops. The farmers find a group of samurai prepared to defend them against the bandits in return for food and lodging. From a script co-written with two others Kurosawa delivers a measured epic which explodes into action in its final hour and a bit… [Read more]
I review Seven Samurai for All The Anime. Sanshiro Sugata, The Men Who Tread on the Tiger’s Tail, Drunken Angel, Rashomon and Ran, all of which are in the 22, also get a mention.
This piece was originally written in 2020 before lockdown delayed the cinema release of the restored print for 18 months. The brand-new restoration of Seven Samurai is finally in cinemas from Friday, October 29th.