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They Who Step on the Tiger's Tail (Tora no o wo fumu otokotachi) (Walkers on the Tiger's Tail)

They Who Step on the Tiger's Tail (Tora no o wo fumu otokotachi) (Walkers on the Tiger's Tail) (1945)


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Critic Reviews: 2
Fresh: 1 | Rotten: 1



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Movie Info

The fourth film from Akira Kurosawa is based on a legendary twelfth-century incident in which the lord Yoshitsune and a group of samurai retainers dressed as monks in order to pass through a dangerous enemy checkpoint.

Oct 24, 1995

Criterion Collection

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All Critics (9) | Top Critics (3) | Fresh (5) | Rotten (1) | DVD (5)

Even for its brevity, the import remains a long, tedious conversation piece, interspersed with reedy songs and a few interesting, mobile faces. Most of the time the members of the all-male cast sit around on their haunches.

May 10, 2005 Full Review Source: New York Times
New York Times
Top Critic IconTop Critic

Akira Kurosawa's slimmest feature, running only an hour, is also one of the best of his early period.

January 1, 2000 Full Review Source: Chicago Reader
Chicago Reader
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Captivating samurai vaudeville

March 31, 2010 Full Review Source: CinePassion

A minor and obscure work by the acclaimed filmmaker.

March 23, 2010 Full Review Source: Ozus' World Movie Reviews
Ozus' World Movie Reviews

Audience Reviews for They Who Step on the Tiger's Tail (Tora no o wo fumu otokotachi) (Walkers on the Tiger's Tail)

one of the earliest films from the greatest director that ever lived. at only 1 hours length there wasnt much time to hash out a story, but it was an interesting one. the plot was very interesting and the actors were amazing, pulling great facial expressions to portray their thoughts and feelings. its hard to rate this film too high because it was such a simple expression of what was being portrayed, but it was a solid film.
October 23, 2008
danny d

Super Reviewer

A fugitive lord and his bodyguards pose as a troupe of monks in an attempt to traverse a hostile border outpost. This is really a short rather than a full-blown film as it does not really have a conventional plot and weighs in at just under an hour. It's more an exercise in style and mood and you can see Kurosawa developing his trademark themes and techniques. It stars long term collaborator Takashi Shimura, has a similar concept to Hidden Fortress and features seven warriors, all of which will be familiar to those who know his work. There are many musical interludes and an obviously studio bound set that gives it a very traditional and theatrical feel and once again there is some lovely shot composition, but really it's only one for Kurosawa completists because of it's lack of a fully developed plot line. Interesting stuff though.
September 22, 2008
xGary Xx

Super Reviewer

In "The Men who Tread on the Tiger's Tail," an otherwise witless porter(Kenichi Enomoto) stumbles onto the truth that the group of priests he has been working for are actually the exiled and hunted Lord Yoshitsune(Shubo Nishina) and his retinue. At the same time, he alerts them that their brilliant disguise may not work at the upcoming barrier. After a suggestion in favor of a frontal assault is declined, Benkei(Denjiro Okochi) has another idea.

What follows is a highly suspenseful game of bluff, double bluff, and my personal favorite, a triple bluff with a half gainer.(Mine the anachronistic reference, but I almost thought that might be psychic paper for a second.) The only question at the end is not who wins but who was the real fool? Regardless, that porter is really annoying.
June 28, 2011
Walter M.

Super Reviewer

Kurosawa's fourth film = short and sweet. His first film incorporating elements of Noh theatre, which he would use very effectively in his later masterpieces like Throne of Blood. There is a very intense sequence where the seven men succeed in convincing the border guard to let them pass; the camera follows them as they walk past the soldiers all the way to the exit only to be stopped by a meddling menace which almost blows their cover. Definitely an intriguing film which does not have a conclusive ending, one that I think I have to revisit to better grasp. The only criticism would be the slapstick sequences which were supposed to be funny, and not that I want to hate on that actor (who I understand is no longer with us), but they did not amuse me in the least.
November 10, 2011
Gevvy Sidhu

Super Reviewer

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Foreign Titles

  • Die Männer die dem Tiger auf den Schwanz traten (DE)
  • The Men Who Tread on the Tiger's Tail (Tora no o wo fumu otokotachi) (UK)
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