Zat˘ichi (The Blind Swordsman: Zatoichi) (2003)



Critic Consensus: Colorful, rich with action and wonderfully choreographed, Takeshi Kitano takes on the classic samurai character with his own brand of cinematic flair.

Movie Info

Beat Takeshi Kitano directs and plays the title role in this tribute to the wildly popular "blind swordsman" of Japanese cinema who was the hero of more than 20 movies and a television series from the early '60s to the late '80s. In Kitano's version, Zat˘ichi wanders into a town harassed by criminal gangs, and helps two geishas take revenge on the men who murdered their parents. His mission leads him to a final, bloody confrontation with the gang's mastermind and his hired assassin (Tadanobu … More

Rating: R (for strong stylized bloody violence)
Genre: Drama, Action & Adventure, Art House & International
Directed By:
Written By: Takeshi Kitano, Kan Shimosawa
In Theaters:
On DVD: Nov 9, 2004
Box Office: $0.6M
Miramax Films - Official Site


as Zatoichi, Zat˘ichi/I...

as Aunt O-Ume

as Aunt Oume

as Geisha O-Sei

as Geisha O-Kinu

as Gennosuke Hattori, H...

as O-Shino

as Tavern Pops

as Lord Sakai

as Dancing Farmer

as Dancing Farmer

as Carpenter

as Carpenter

as Carpenter

as Yakuza Boss on the C...

as Rival Swordsman

as Ginzo's Henchman I

as Boss Funahachi

as Dice Dealer at Funah...

as Funahachi's Bodyguar...

as Young O-Kinu

as Young O-Sei, aka Se...

as Playboy at Home

as Kuchinawa Underling ...

as Kuchinawa Underling ...

as Kuchinawa Underling ...

as Kuchinawa Underling ...

as Kuchinawa Underling ...

as Tavern Customer 4

as Farmer Boy 1

as Farmer Boy 2

as Farmer Boy 4

as Farmer Boy 5

as Farmer Boy 6

as Farmer Boy with a Sp...
Show More Cast

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Critic Reviews for Zat˘ichi (The Blind Swordsman: Zatoichi)

All Critics (124) | Top Critics (35)

The Blind Swordsman: Zatoichi begins life as a straight-up samurai movie, evolves into a slapstick comedy and ends as a rousing, tap-dancing musical.

Full Review… | May 27, 2011
Associated Press
Top Critic

Zatoichi is a mix-and-match crowd-pleaser that shouldn't add up, but delightfully does.

Full Review… | November 1, 2007
Top Critic

However improbably, Kitano pulls it off quite gloriously. Admittedly, this isn't one of his most idiosyncratic, innovative or, indeed, satisfying works, but it's without doubt fast, funny, fabulous to behold.

Full Review… | February 9, 2006
Time Out
Top Critic

For those unfamiliar with such films, Zatoichi might be a little off-putting. But given a chance, the movie can be pretty entertaining.

Full Review… | September 30, 2004
Arizona Republic
Top Critic

This non-traditional samurai movie isn't for kids.

Full Review… | December 28, 2010
Common Sense Media

Violent and bloody, carefully choreographed and filled with dry humor, Takeshi Kitano's modern take on the classic Japanese character is a unique vision that's told with confidence.

Full Review… | September 27, 2009

Audience Reviews for Zat˘ichi (The Blind Swordsman: Zatoichi)


Did not kick ass.

Bob Stinson

Super Reviewer


A solid samurai movie that is easier to appreciate for its formal rigor, mainly in the great cinematography and score, than to enjoy for its story and a narrative structure that suffers a bit from being overplotted and having too many characters in constant fight for screen time.

Carlos MagalhŃes

Super Reviewer

By all means, I am no fan of the genre of the Samurai swordsman, but I can still expect more than slow story-telling, wooden acting and unfunny slapstick. It doesn't help that the swords, wounds and the gushing blood are computer animated and you see it. Sure, the film doesn't take itself too seriously, but it's still plain boring at times. Given the mostly positive reviews I expected a lot more but this did not work for me on any level. Maybe it's the Western world viewing expectations, maybe it's me. Maybe the film is just crap, though. I gave up after an hour.

Jens S.

Super Reviewer

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