Shogun (1980)




Critic Consensus: No consensus yet.

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Movie Info

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 … More

Rating: Unrated
Genre: Drama, Television, Classics
Directed By:
Written By: Eric Bercovici
In Theaters:
On DVD: Sep 23, 2003
Paramount Home Video

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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

All Critics (6) | Top Critics (1)

Full Review… | June 24, 2006
Time Out
Top Critic

This the kind of mini-series that the networks don't even ATTEMPT anymore!

Full Review… | March 21, 2007

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.

October 4, 2005
Journal and Courier (Lafayette, IN)

August 11, 2005

November 19, 2004
Reeling Reviews

April 16, 2004
Las Vegas Review-Journal

Audience Reviews for Shogun

One of the great mini-series from the 1980's. Avoid the choppy theatrical cut.

Anthony Valletta

Super Reviewer

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.


Shogun (1980)

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.

Rick Rudge

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