Stray Dog (Nora inu)


Stray Dog (Nora inu)

Critics Consensus

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Total Count: 19


Audience Score

User Ratings: 8,219
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Movie Info

Akira Kurosawa directs the black-and-white 1949 film noir Nora Inu (released in the U.S. in 1963 as Stray Dog). In his third film with Kurosawa, Toshiro Mifune plays young police detective Murakami. One summer day on a crowded bus in Tokyo, his gun is stolen by a pickpocket. Rather than face the shame of reporting his gun missing, he chooses to go out and find it himself (there were not many weapons on the streets of Tokyo immediately following WWII). While trying to locate the gun, he discovers an entire criminal underworld. He is eventually helped on his journey by superior officer Sato (Takashi Shimura), who seems to suggest that the young detective is indulging in his own criminal desires. The search becomes even more desperate when Murakami finds out that his gun has been used in several crimes, including murder. He then develops an obsession with finding both the gun and the killer.


Critic Reviews for Stray Dog (Nora inu)

All Critics (19) | Top Critics (1) | Fresh (18) | Rotten (1)

Audience Reviews for Stray Dog (Nora inu)

  • Apr 12, 2016
    "Stray Dog" is Akira Kurosawa's 1949 salute to the films of Jules Dassin. It involves a young, nervous homicide detective (Toshiro Mifune) who has his gun stolen while riding the bus. He frantically goes about looking for it and becomes disgusted with himself when his weapon was used in a crime. He is then teamed up with an older, calmer, wiser detective (Takashi Shimura) in attempting to locate the culprit and his weapon. The older detective is able to get new leads and soon the two are on the trail leading them throughout postwar Tokyo. The film takes place during a heat wave and the weather plays a part in the plot and the buildup of tension to the climax. A good film, but doesn't come close to his more well known films, which is no fault of the film. The film greatly takes advantage of on location shooting throughout the city. It shows the black market, rice rations and what the once proud Imperial country was now.
    Joseph B Super Reviewer
  • Apr 06, 2016
    Kurosawa's 'film noir' about a rookie police officer (Toshiro Mifune) who loses his gun, and then endures shame and guilt as it's used in robberies and murder while he tries to track it down with a more seasoned officer (Takashi Shimura). The film is gritty, realistic, and successful as a police drama set during a sweltering heat wave that has everyone sweating and fanning as the cops descend into the underbelly of Tokyo. The only miss on Kurosawa's part that I could see was a long stretch of time early on where Mifune wanders around through the streets; this was simply too long, but even then, it allows us to see some excellent scenes of postwar Japan. Kurosawa heightens the action by having it run through places like a baseball game and a risqué dance hall; the cinematography is excellent, and the tension is great particularly towards the end of the film. It was remarkable for me to reflect that the Japanese had been in such a bitter, violent war just years earlier, as the film's general themes are universal, and we're reminded of just how similar we all are. The older cop's traditional family life is shown in one scene, ending sweetly in them looking on at his little kids sleeping, "like pumpkins in a field". At the same time, the distinctive psyche of the Japanese in this time period is also revealed. Tellingly, the rookie policeman has had a similar background as the criminal they're pursuing and sympathizes with him; the older cop sees that as philosophy stemming 'après-guerre', and believes in more black/white, good/bad terms. There is certainly symbolism at play in both of the younger men having been dealt an unfair fate, robbed of an easier life in the world they're growing up in. One turns to a life of crime, which continues on until the 'stray dog' becomes a 'rabid dog'; the other is upright and moral to the point of even sympathizing with him, which is admirable. The older cop provides stability, and at the end cautions him to forget, and let time heal. Kurosawa seems to show validity in both views. One must understand why others may falter in such an environment, and yet remain righteous. One must remember the past, and yet move on.
    Antonius B Super Reviewer
  • Apr 06, 2015
    Kurosawa mixes American and Japanese conventions to powerful effect in this crime drama, finally starting to settle into his role as an auteur with a kinetic camera and layered characters.
    Kase V Super Reviewer
  • Nov 10, 2011
    Kurosawa makes a deep and enjoyable film about a young cop on his first case. A great example of a whodunit and howcatchem, Kurosawa's third collaboration with Mifune is a hardboiled detective story, however, it is far from the usual C.S.I. garbage. For one, the violence is restrained till the very end and even then it is portrayed with such restraint that it serves to shock all the more because it heightens the tension. Mifune's performance is a great one as a troubled, 'green', cop who has reservations about his own abilities after he loses his police issued weapon--a Colt. The pacing of the film is fantastic and a good supporting cast make this noir a treat to watch.
    G S Super Reviewer

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