Sanjuro (Tsubaki Sanjr) (1962) - Rotten Tomatoes

Sanjuro (Tsubaki Sanjr) (1962)

Sanjuro (Tsubaki Sanjr)




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

Sanjuro (Tsubaki Sanjr) Trailers & Photos

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, he discovers that a band of nine men are anxious to overthrow the corrupt ruling elite. Physically strong and agile, mentally sharp and clear-headed, Sanjuro still has an deep commitment to justice and honor underneath his dirty, abrasive, and cynical exterior. The nine men may doubt his nobility, but that is because they are only looking skin deep. While the sword fighting and action scenes are memorable, it is Toshiro Mifune's characterization and Kurosawa's camera eye that enhance the story.more
Rating: PG-13
Genre: Art House & International, Action & Adventure
Directed By:
Written By: Akira Kurosawa, Ryuzo Kikushima, Hideo Oguni, Hideo Oguni
In Theaters:
On DVD: Sep 28, 1999
Criterion Collection


Toshiro Mifune
as Sanjuro Tsubaki
Tatsuya Nakadai
as Hanbei Muroto
Yuzo Kayama
as Ioti Izaka
Reiko Dan
as Koiso
Yunosuke Ito
as Matsuda the Chamberl...
Takako Irie
as Chamberlain's Wife
Kamatari Fujiwara
as Takebayashi
Akihiko Hirata
as Young Samurai
Kunie Tanaka
as Young Samurai
Hiroshi Tachikawa
as Young Samurai
Tatsuhiko Hari
as Young Samurai
Tatsuyoshi Ebara
as Young Samurai
Kenzo Matsui
as Young Samurai
Yoshio Tsuchiya
as Young Samurai
Akira Kubo
as Young Samurai
Show More Cast

News & Interviews for Sanjuro (Tsubaki Sanjr)

Critic Reviews for Sanjuro (Tsubaki Sanjr)

All Critics (21) | Top Critics (4)

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

Full Review… | August 7, 2012
Chicago Reader
Top Critic

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

Full Review… | March 26, 2009
Top 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

Full Review… | June 24, 2006
Time Out
Top 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.'

Full Review… | May 20, 2003
New York Times
Top Critic

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

Full Review… | August 7, 2012
TV Guide's Movie Guide

Satirical Samurai action of the highest order.

Full Review… | August 7, 2012
Empire Magazine

Audience Reviews for Sanjuro (Tsubaki Sanjr)

A successful follow-up to director Akira Kurosawa's smashing "Yojimbo", where he continues to chronicle the life events of a mysterious samurai (Toshiro Mifune) and how he feels tasked to help some members of a small village take back their town from a corrupt chamberlain and his men. While it does not pack the dramatic punch "Yojimbo" did, and several of the plot points are relatively familiar given the direction the first film went in, this movie still remains fascinating to watch given the nature of the lead character. He is still unpredictable even when certain parts of the story feel somewhat repetitive, and Mifune's rock-solid performance is the real driving force behind this movie in particular. A good movie worth viewing, but in my opinion not very close to the classic status equated with that of "Yojimbo".

Dan Schultz
Dan Schultz

Super Reviewer

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.

xGary Xx

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.

Mr Awesome
Devon Bott

Super Reviewer

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