Red Beard


Red Beard

Critics Consensus

No consensus yet.



Total Count: 14


Audience Score

User Ratings: 8,043
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Movie Info

In 1820, young Noboru Yasumoto (Yuzo Kayama) completes his medical education in Nagasaki and returns to his native Edo hoping both to marry the daughter of a wealthy man and to achieve affluence himself through his medical practice. He happens to visit the famed Koishikawa clinic for the indigent, which is run by the autocratic Dr. Kyojo Niide (Toshiro Mifune), better known as Red Beard. To his intense displeasure, he soon finds himself assigned to the clinic for his internship. At first, the young intern is arrogant and rebellious, intent on displaying his knowledge of medical innovations and contemptuous of the older doctor for spending his life among the poor. But as time passes, he gains an intimate knowledge of the kind of suffering that is endemic to the impoverished, and at length, becomes an acolyte of this seemingly dictatorial physician, who heals his patients with gentleness and humility as much as with his medical skill.


Toshiro Mifune
as Dr. Kyojô Niide
Yuzo Kayama
as Dr. Noboru Yasumoto
Yoshio Tsuchiya
as Dr. Handayû Mori
Reiko Dan
as Osuki
Kyoko Kagawa
as Mental Patient
Takashi Shimura
as Tokubei Izumiya
Eijirô Tono
as Goheiji
Tatsuyoshi Ebara
as Genzo Tsugawa
Ken Mitsuda
as Masae's father
Kinuyo Tanaka
as Yasumoto's Mother
Chishu Ryu
as Yasumoto's Father
Koji Mitsui
as Heikichi
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Critic Reviews for Red Beard

All Critics (14) | Top Critics (3)

Audience Reviews for Red Beard

  • Sep 12, 2012
    Japanese movie, Japanese actors, Japanese sets and locations, so why does this film feel as if were shot on the Warner Brothers backlot? Yet it does AND like they did it, say, in the late 40's or early 50's. An arrogant young doctor learns humility thanks to charismatic elder sawbones. There's a ton of subplots too, and minor characters, but all in all still engaging.
    Kevin M. W Super Reviewer
  • Nov 29, 2011
    A different type of film from Kurosawa than what he usually makes. Sort of like Rashomon, but not quite as provocative or experimental as that film. This film is about relationships between all the people who come in contact with a clinic for the sick and it's head doctor--Dr. Niide. He is also known as Red Beard and is played very well by Toshiro Mifune, who gives a very wise and sensitive performance as the doctor. This film is very slow moving and calmly paces ahead with it's characters. We see great organic development in the film's characters, something which is very rewarding to watch on film. Genuinely touching, serious, and even funny at times, Kurosawa's last collaboration with Mifune is a very good film, just a little difficult to sit through at times, but really worth it.
    G S Super Reviewer
  • Feb 02, 2010
    Akira Kurosawa's three-hour masterpiece follows young doctor Noboru Yasumoto as he is sent to work at a public health facility. He had been trained overseas and was expecting to be the private doctor of the shogun, and so he's unpleasantly surprised when he finds out what his new assignment is. The doctor who he's replacing seems especially cynical: "These people would be better off dead" he says of the empoverished patients. Not only is he cynical when it comes to the patients, he's also cynical of the hospital's overseer, "Red Beard" (Toshiro Mifune). The older doctor paints horror stories for the new young doctor of their boss with the red beard, and Yasumoto tries to get thrown out of his position by rebelling against the hardened Red Beard. Much like the film, Captains Courageous, Yasumoto soon learns his boss isn't really a monster, but a great and kind (if gruff) man, as he's shown how to truly help his fellow man. Red Beard unfolds like a great novel, it takes it's time in giving nuance and depth to the stories of the patients the doctors help. I was wondering how they'd work in a fight scene for Toshiro Mifune, what with him being a respectable doctor and all, but they somehow managed it. Mifune is undoubtedly one of the greatest actors of all time (note, I didnt' quantify it by saing "greatest Japanese actor", his appeal extends beyond national boundaries), and yet here he's probably playing one of his lesser roles (despite being the title character). It's a terrific ensemble cast. Kurosawa directs with his usual flair, but here there are some unique touches that really jump out at the viewer. Most noteably the strange lighting effect used in the scene with the little girl who's rescued from the brothel, as she's recouperating in bed. The way only her eyes are lit creates an eerie, creepy effect. Red Beard is a touching, poignant, comedy, drama, tear-jerker that runs the gamut of emotions. One of the best films ever.
    Devon B Super Reviewer
  • Nov 14, 2009
    The content is average, the form peerless.
    Tom S Super Reviewer

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