High and Low (Tengoku to jigoku)

1963

High and Low (Tengoku to jigoku)

Critics Consensus

No consensus yet.

94%

TOMATOMETER

Total Count: 17

96%

Audience Score

User Ratings: 8,305
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Movie Info

Toshirô Mifune is unforgettable as Kingo Gondo, a wealthy industrialist whose family becomes the target of a cold-blooded kidnapper in Akira Kurosawa's highly influential High and Low (Tengoku to jigoku).

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Cast

Toshiro Mifune
as Kingo Gondo
Tatsuya Nakadai
as Chief Detective Tokura
Kyoko Kagawa
as Reiko Gondo
Tatsuya Mihashi
as Kawanishi
Kenjiro Ishiyama
as Detective Taguchi
Tsutomu Yamazaki
as Ginji Takeuchi
Susumu Fujita
as Commissioner
Ko Kimura
as Detective Arai
Takeshi Katô
as Detective Nakao
Yoshio Tsuchiya
as Detective Murata
Hiroshi Unayama
as Detective Shimada
Koji Mitsui
as Newspaperman
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Critic Reviews for High and Low (Tengoku to jigoku)

All Critics (17) | Top Critics (3)

Audience Reviews for High and Low (Tengoku to jigoku)

  • Apr 20, 2016
    Akira Kurosawa is one of the greatest film directors in the history of cinema, his films have endured such legacies that often times his films are so highly regarded that even those who wish to hate his films for their popularity and influence can't find themselves to do so. In his 1963 crime film "High and Low," guilt drives many of the characters into doing what is the right thing to do even if they wish not to. Kingo Gondo (Toshiro Mifune) has a splendid house that overlooks the city in which he lives, causing great envy among all who live below in the valley. He has dedicated his life to National Shoe Company and is on the board of directors. When three other members of the board of directors want to recruit him to vote an older man off the board to make cheaper shoes to reap more financial reward, Gondo rebuffs. Gondo visualizes a quality shoe that would not return much profit in the short term but eventually in time, show great rewards while saving the company. This angers the other members as they leave his house in anger. Gondo then reveals to his wife and closest associate that he has slowly been buying stock in the National Shoe Company and has just mortgaged everything for 30 million yen to buy more, he would then have 48% of the company's stock. But before he can carry out this plan he receives a phone call stating his son had been kidnapped and they are demanding that very same price. Gondo is quick to want to pay the ransom to get his son back before he realizes that the kidnapper kidnapped his chauffeur's son instead and now he has reserves about paying the ransom. Eventually after a lot of discussion and guilt he agrees and the kid is returned to his father. The first hour of the film all takes place inside one room in Gondo's large house before going to different locations around the city as the police, who feel bad for Gondo because he's now in debt, start to look for the kidnapper to bring him to justice. A masterfully told crime drama that moves quickly.
    Joseph B Super Reviewer
  • Jan 23, 2013
    A botched kidnapping can make for a taut thriller as Kurosawa proves in this fluid tale, years and years before CSI or any number of police procedurals (seemly broadcast hourly of late). The chase is the thing here, and Mifune's role, though central, is not the only game in town by any means. Very enjoyable watching the Toyko police go after their man.
    Kevin M. W Super Reviewer
  • Jan 16, 2012
    Managed to hit the lows more than highs for me. The storyline wasn't gripping or interesting enough, although its main flaw being that for most of the time, it seemed as if the actors were supposed to look their part/character more rather than acting one. I'm no Kurosowa fan, but did enjoy Rashomon and had fair expectations from this one owing to that experience. Obviously being a Kurosowa flick didn't help any in sitting through this 140+ minutes long dramatic thriller.
    familiar s Super Reviewer
  • Nov 29, 2011
    Astonishing and great; nearly as perfect as Kurosawa's Rashomon and Seven Samurai. I must admit I had high hopes for Yojimbo and Sanjuro, but I was sort of let down both times. They were both good movies but they weren't profound or psychologically thrilling, but High and Low exceeded all expectations I had. This mammoth achievement has great acting, a flawless script (adapted from an Ed McBain novel), and superb direction from Kurosawa. Toshiro Mifune is awesome as Kingo Gondo (gotta love that name), a man troubled by business affairs and a pesky kidnapper who wants 30 million from him. An excellent study of human morality and the extents to which we are value money. The film also feature a solid performance from Tatsuya Nakadai, a police officer trying to crack this case. The script is composed to such a high degree of perfection that it keeps you engaged from the beginning when Gondo says "So what do you want?" to the end which shows a very psychologically challenging and emotionally gripping scene. Kurosawa executes the script brilliantly with his pacing and his depiction of the city in wide screen format. The film reminds me a lot of Stray Dog and how interesting the relationship between a cop and a criminal is. This film tops Stray Dog though by a long shot. This is probably the best police procedural film I have seen. The entire movie is a thrill ride with a remarkable ending which is so genuine in it's exploration of human nature, desire, and social mentality that it is neither existential nor happy. Definitely something I'll be coming back to again and again for years.
    G S Super Reviewer

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