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Sanjuro (Tsubaki Sanjr)

Sanjuro (Tsubaki Sanjr) (1962)



Average Rating: 8.4/10
Reviews Counted: 21
Fresh: 21 | Rotten: 0

Technically impressive and superbly acted, Sanjuro is a funny, action-packed samurai adventure featuring outstanding cinematography and a charismatic performance from Toshiro Mifune.

No Score Yet...

Average Rating: N/A
Critic Reviews: 4
Fresh: 4 | Rotten: 0

Technically impressive and superbly acted, Sanjuro is a funny, action-packed samurai adventure featuring outstanding cinematography and a charismatic performance from Toshiro Mifune.



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Average Rating: 4.2/5
User Ratings: 13,904

My Rating

Movie Info

Set in the mid-19th century when the disintegration of a rigid social structure was turning the once wealthy into paupers, or vice-versa, this kinetic drama by acclaimed Akira Kurosawa features the hero Sanjuro (Toshiro Mifune), one of many samurai whose once traditional positions were fast disappearing. In this tale of false perceptions and truth, of honor and dishonor, Sanjuro is a character who captures and holds attention from the moment he appears on screen. When he arrives in a small city,

Sep 28, 1999

Criterion Collection

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All Critics (21) | Top Critics (4) | Fresh (21) | Rotten (0) | DVD (13)

This is fun but, compared with Kurosawa's other 60s efforts, relatively slight.

August 7, 2012 Full Review Source: Chicago Reader
Chicago Reader
Top Critic IconTop Critic

The charm of this fascinating Toho production, stylishly directed by Akira Kurosawa, is the personality of the hero, powerfully played by Toshiro Mifune.

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

Kurosawa was pressured by his producers into directing this sequel to Yojimbo, and rose to the occasion by making his funniest and least overtly didactic film

June 24, 2006 Full Review Source: Time Out
Time Out
Top Critic IconTop Critic

A surprising, fetching, beautifully made film that fitly propounds the lesson of his own professionalism: 'Never send a boy to do a man's work.'

May 20, 2003 Full Review Source: New York Times
New York Times
Top Critic IconTop Critic

Technically, the film is one of Kurosawa's most impressive, featuring some superbly staged sword battles and exceptional use of complex widescreen compositions.

August 7, 2012 Full Review Source: TV Guide's Movie Guide
TV Guide's Movie Guide

Satirical Samurai action of the highest order.

August 7, 2012 Full Review Source: Empire Magazine
Empire Magazine

The relative linearity of the film can't help but come as something of a disappointment after the feast of Yojimbo.

April 20, 2011 Full Review Source: Slant Magazine
Slant Magazine

Rather than simply repeating the successful formula of Yojimbo, which incorporated humor but largely played it straight, Sanjuro flips the script for a largely comic action picture punctuated by a dark, rug-yanking conclusion. [Blu-ray]

March 28, 2010 Full Review Source: Groucho Reviews
Groucho Reviews

a textbook on widescreen composition.

May 28, 2009 Full Review Source:

For escapist fare, this ranks highly

February 5, 2007 Full Review Source: Old School Reviews

Mifune's smashing performance is the force that makes it all work so well.

July 23, 2006 Full Review Source: Ozus' World Movie Reviews
Ozus' World Movie Reviews

Mifune's disheveled samurai is an almost cartoonlike send-up of the established samurai image.

October 1, 2003 Full Review Source: Austin Chronicle
Austin Chronicle

One of Kurosawa's lesser works, but still well worth a rental.

June 11, 2003
Juicy Cerebellum

A simple and highly effective action-comedy, with an outstanding performance from Mifune and an unforgettable finale.

May 24, 2003 Full Review Source: Film4

The follow-up to YOJIMBO is just as sharp, funny, and exciting. The only bad thing about it is that it was the only sequel.

March 21, 2003

A step down from the superior Yojimbo, but still enjoyable thanks to Toshiro Mifune's scruffy rogue.

November 1, 2002
Flipside Movie Emporium

Short and sweet. If you haven't seen Yojimbo, go rent that before this. If you haven't seen Seven Samurai, go rent that before Yojimbo. And once you've done those two, graduate to Sanjuro.

January 1, 2000 Full Review Source:

Audience Reviews for Sanjuro (Tsubaki Sanjr)

Toshiro Mifune's wayward samurai returns to help out in the kidnapping of a statesman by a corrupt official intent on discrediting him to cover up his own crimes. Sanjuro was made hot on the heels of Yojimbo, and is obvious proof that a studio trying to cash in on the commercial success of a film by throwing together a rehash is far from a new phenomenon. The fact is, Sanjuro just copies the formula of the original with a bit more crowd pleasing action and humour and a bit less intelligence and characterisation. But let's face it, the combination of Akira Kurosawa and Toshiro Mifune was never going to disappoint no matter what the reasons for their collaboration and Sanjuro is yet another beautifully crafted and hugely entertaining samurai movie. It's mildly comic approach does not capture the dramatic gravitas of the original film but Kurosawa's eye is still perfection and Mifune's performance still a powerhouse of charisma. In fact despite the commercialism of the film, the final scene is still pure Kurosawa through and through. Cash in it may have been, but it's still head and shoulders above the vast majority of the herd.
December 17, 2012
xGary Xx

Super Reviewer

Sunjuro is not as good as Yojimbo but it's pretty close. Toshiro Mifune plays it with a little more sensitivity but is just as cool a character. I though visually it was a much tidier film too, the scene with the flowers floating down the stream was very beautiful. The addition of comedy doesn't always work but for the best part it's welcome. Nothing compares to the great final scene though, it is quite unexpected, very exciting and typical of Kurosawa mastery.
March 28, 2011

Super Reviewer

Akira Kurosawa's sequel (of sorts) to Yojimbo finds the hero (Toshiro Mifune) once again coming to the aid of hapless ineffectuals. This time it's a clan of samurai who suspect there are traitors in their rank. The nine men on the side of justice are bungling greenhorns seemingly incapable of doing anything themselves. Sanjuro almost has to carry them through the movie like infants in his arms as they mess up one mission after the other. In fact, Sanjuro is basically a superman, and maybe a metaphor for God, especially when, in one scene they doubt Sanjuro's loyalty and it winds up being a costly mistake for them. But on a purely visceral level, the movie, like most Kurosawa films, is highly entertaining. The lady of the house, who doesn't care for violence and rough language is a comedic highlight, in contrast to Sanjuro's exasperation. Kurosawa is great at making well-rounded, entertaining movies with great characters and engaging storylines. Toshiro Mifune is the John Wayne of Samurai movies, only more a method actor than the Duke (he doesn't pull his punches or his sword slices). Check out the bonus documentary on the criterion collection disc. It's well worth it.
January 10, 2010
Mr Awesome
Devon Bott

Super Reviewer

It may be lighter in tone, a little funnier, and not as good as its predecessor Yojimbo, but Sanjuro is still a very good and highly entertaining film. Parts of it seem a little muddled, but all in all, it's a fun samurai film with a great message and cool characters. I've seen 4 of Kurosawa's films now, and none of them have missed the mark. It's a shame that there aren't really any more directors like him or films like his being made in this day and age.
July 12, 2009
Chris Weber

Super Reviewer

    1. Sanjuro Tsubaki: You tired of being stupid yet?
    – Submitted by Garrett C (2 years ago)
    1. Sanjuro Tsubaki: You cut well. But good swords are kept in their sheaths.
    – Submitted by Alexandar T (2 years ago)
View all quotes (2)

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