Seven Samurai [1954]

by oneafrikan on January 18, 2006

_ Seven Samurai [1954]: DVD

Unanimously hailed as one of the greatest masterpieces in the history of the motion picture, Seven Samurai has inspired countless films modelled after its basic premise. But Akira Kurosawa’s classic 1954 action drama has never been surpassed in terms of sheer power of emotion, kinetic energy, and dynamic character development. The story is set in the 1600s, when the residents of a small Japanese village are seeking protection against repeated attacks by a band of marauding thieves. Offering mere handfuls of rice as payment, they hire seven unemployed “ronin” (masterless samurai), including a boastful swordsman (Toshiro Mifune) who is actually a farmer’s son desperately seeking glory and acceptance. The samurai get acquainted with but remain distant from the villagers, knowing that their assignment may prove to be fatal. The climactic battle with the raiding thieves remains one of the most breathtaking sequences ever filmed. It’s poetry in hyperactive motion and one of Kurosawa’s crowning cinematic achievements. This is not a film that can be well served by any synopsis; it must be seen to be appreciated and belongs on the short list of any definitive home-video library.

After much malignment from my housemates I managed to sneak some time latish one night to watch Seven Samurai, and boy was it worth it!!

As a kid I was brought up with the classic western The Magnificent Seven, so when I came accross something that said that The Magnificent Seven was loosely based / inspired by Seven Samurai (but of course for a western audience), I really wanted to see it. After signing up for Amazon DVD Rental a quick search meant I could finally watch it (Blockbuster’s Wimbledon hasn’t had it in the 4 years I’ve been in London).

Anyways, I’m no film critic (the reviews on Amazon are a good start), so all I can say is that if you want to watch a classic movie that has inspired filmographers since, or even if you’re a fan of Japanese / Tartan cinema, then you should definitely give it a try. From me, defo 5/5 ;-)

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