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Based on the epic novel by James Clavell, Shogun originated as an epic five-part television miniseries, filmed on location in Japan. Richard Chamberlain stars as John Blackthorne, a 17th century British sea pilot in charge of a Dutch vessel. Shipwrecked off the coast of Japan, Blackthorne is in danger of being executed by the suspicious, reclusive Japanese hierarchy, but before long he has been accepted into the local culture. Accordingly, he begins to think of himself as Japanese, adopting the nation's customs and, while wearing the robes of a Samurai warrior, helping to defend the land against its enemies. The arrival of Blackthorne unfortunately arouses the interest of European empire-builders, who hope to add Japan to their holdings. Toshiro Mifune costars as Toranaga, a warlord who befriends Blackthorne, and Yoko Shimada appears as Mariko, the interpreter who eventually falls in love with the Englishman. When it first aired in September of 1980, Shogun caused eyebrows to raise with its seemingly reckless disregard of certain TV taboos: for example, one man is beheaded in full view of the audience, while another relieves himself on the body of an enemy. Most of the early dialogue sequence are in Japanese, which resulted in complaints from many monolingual viewers. As a result, the 1983 rebroadcast of Shogun included English narration by Orson Welles. The 125-minute feature version of Shogun, prepared for home video, includes English subtitles--as well as several originally excised scenes of nudity and excessive violence. ~ Hal Erickson, Rovi … More
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as Pilot-Major John Bla...
as Lord Toranaga
as Lady Toda Buntaro-Ma...
as Lord Yabu
as Father Dell'Aqua
as Father Alvito
as Friar Domingo
as Capt. Ferriera
as Nobo Kaneko
as Father Sebastio
as Vasco Rodrigues
as Lord Ishido
as Brother Michael
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Critic Reviews for Shogun
This the kind of mini-series that the networks don't even ATTEMPT anymore!
One of the finest miniseries ever produced. An exciting and literate adaptation of James Clavell's masive novel that rivets you from beginning to end.
Audience Reviews for Shogun
One of the great mini-series from the 1980's. Avoid the choppy theatrical cut.
Really impressive technically especially for a tv movie especially for the time. But the story is just ludicrous. I almost burst out laughing when the main character tried to explain the Treaty of Tordesillas to the shogun. Like he would ever understand him or accept his authority.
I agree that this was the best TV mini-series ever made. I had several VHS tapes of it, from it's original broadcasts, but those are long gone. It has also been recently released on DVD. Based on James Clavell's 1,200+ page novel about a 16th century British/Dutch privateer being shipwrecked in Japan and loosely based on actual events in Japanese history. The mini-series was a collaboration of Japanese and American film makers.
Ships pilot (navigator), John Blackthorne (Richard Chamberlain) and his men are captured by the Japanese. John has a talent for languages and is asked by the daimyo (nobleman), Lord Toranaga (Toshiro Mifune) to learn Japanese, especially when he finds that Blackthorne's Protestants are at war with the Spanish and Portuguese Catholics. Toranaga knows that he can get some insights into these foreign devils.
Lord Toranaga has some problems of his own with a power struggle of daimyos vying for ultimate control, to be the most powerful general (below the emperor) in Japan. To become Shogun.
The mini-series did a fairly good job of conveying the various factions and cultures, and how good or badly they related to each other.
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