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House of Bamboo

House of Bamboo (1955)

tomatometer

100

Average Rating: 8.5/10
Critic Reviews: 5
Fresh: 5 | Rotten: 0

No consensus yet.

audience

60

liked it
Average Rating: 3.5/5
User Ratings: 977

My Rating

Movie Info

Samuel Fuller directed and cowrote this typically hard-boiled drama set in Japan following World War II. Eddie Kenner (Robert Stack) is given a special assignment by the Army to get the inside story on Sandy Dawson (Robert Ryan), a former GI who has formed a gang of fellow servicemen and Japanese locals who use their muscle to take over Tokyo's pachinko racket and commit a series of train robberies, targeting deliveries of military ammunition. Eddie is supposed to gather evidence on the murder

Unrated,

Drama, Classics

Samuel Fuller, Harry Kleiner

Jun 7, 2005

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All Critics (13) | Top Critics (5) | Fresh (12) | Rotten (1) | DVD (11)

A masterpiece that pinpoints the sublime in Fuller's sensationalism and earns every inch of its widescreen real estate.

August 24, 2011 Full Review Source: Time Out New York
Time Out New York
Top Critic IconTop Critic

Novelty of scene and a warm, believable performance by Japanese star Shirley Yamaguchi are two of the better values in the production.

March 26, 2009 Full Review Source: Variety
Variety
Top Critic IconTop Critic

A lean, hard-boiled, sharp detective thriller with just a light touch of Madame Butterfly.

March 25, 2006 Full Review Source: New York Times
New York Times
Top Critic IconTop Critic

House of Bamboo offers all Fuller's key themes and motifs in a characteristic thriller form: dual identities, divided loyalties, racial tensions, life (and cinema) as war.

February 9, 2006 Full Review Source: Time Out
Time Out
Top Critic IconTop Critic

One of Samuel Fuller's best, a tough, sometimes nasty, but always exciting 1955 effort in 'Scope and color that unites three of his favorite topics: military comradeship, the underworld, and the Far East.

May 14, 2003 Full Review Source: Chicago Reader
Chicago Reader
Top Critic IconTop Critic

Beautifully photographed and well-written.

April 17, 2012 Full Review Source: TV Guide's Movie Guide
TV Guide's Movie Guide

Fuller's masterful use of natural locations within the Cinemascope frame drives the film, especially the climactic shoot-out on a giant, spinning globe at a carnival.

July 25, 2005 Full Review Source: Combustible Celluloid
Combustible Celluloid

...the positives here outweigh the negatives...

July 23, 2005 Full Review Source: Reel Film Reviews
Reel Film Reviews

The limits of the lengths to which dazzling camerawork and curled-lip noir bravado can make up for thoroughly ham-fisted dialogue are tested in Sam Fuller's gangster picture

June 9, 2005 Full Review Source: Filmcritic.com
Filmcritic.com

House of Bamboo has some of the most stunning examples of widescreen photography in the history of cinema.

June 6, 2005 Full Review Source: Slant Magazine
Slant Magazine

An underrated crime drama, House Of Bamboo might not be the sum of its parts, but there's still a lot to like about it, not least Fuller's unsentimental approach to the subject matter.

May 24, 2003 Full Review Source: Film4
Film4

Fuller, as always, is resourceful and fresh.

May 14, 2003 Full Review Source: Ozus' World Movie Reviews
Ozus' World Movie Reviews

Audience Reviews for House of Bamboo

This could have been a credible film noir piece were it not for the inept dialog, the brightly lit sets and the insistence that Japanese people are merely movie props to be placed here and there throughout the film like houseplants.
April 1, 2011
flixsterman
Randy Tippy

Super Reviewer

January has been the month of House movies. That is watching movies with house in the title. This one filmed in 1954 in Japan a time when the United States had very little culture influence on that country and this film shows the old beauty of Japan. Loaded with a host of stars. Its about a Gang of crooks from the US robbing different places in Japan, and during which a army soldier is killed and the army sends an undercover man in to bust the gang. Its a great story with great color. 4 1/2 stars, they just don't make films like this anymore.
January 21, 2011
bbcfloridabound
Bruce Bruce

Super Reviewer

Even though the director is amazing, this movie could double for a torture device were it not for the beautiful Japanese setting.
November 2, 2006
mjgildea

Super Reviewer

In "House of Bamboo", ex-soldier Eddie Spannier(Robert Stack) arrives in Japan looking for a friend of a his who had promised him work. His widow, Mariko(Shirley Yamaguchi), informs him that he was shot by his cohorts during a robbery. Spannier wants answers but the only clue has to go on is a mention of pachinko parlors in a letter. So, he starts shaking them down for protection money until he comes across a gang led by Sandy Dawson(Robert Ryan).

"House of Bamboo" works better as a travelogue(due primarily to its excellent location shooting in Tokyo and Yokohama) than as a mystery. It could also be seen as a commentary on imperialism in that it is about a gang of American armed criminals preying on Japan(not to mention these same men's less than kind treatment of Japanese women) but it is also important to note that the Americans and Japanese work together to try to bring them down. Robert Stack is as interesting to watch as paint dry but Robert Ryan does a very cool job playing a master criminal.
June 18, 2006
Harlequin68
Walter M.

Super Reviewer

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Foreign Titles

  • La maison de bambou (FR)
  • La casa de bambu (ES)
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