Set in 1725 Japan, and made in 1967, isn't it interesting that this film reveals so many universal truths? Difficulties in marriage. The feeling in middle-age that comes when looking back at decisions and events in one's life. The need to stand up for what's right, despite a world that sometimes crushes us so unfairly. At the same time, the movie is distinctly Japanese. There are so many great shots from Director Masaki Kobayashi and cinematographer Kazuo Yamada, including such harmonious placement of people and objects in 'small' moments, that they're almost as if they were Zen rock gardens of their own. There are also of course the big scenes, such as the epic samurai showdown as the wind blows through the wild grass, which is amazing. Toshiro Mifune turns in a memorable performance, and leads an excellent cast. The soundtrack, with music provided by T?ru Takemitsu, fits the scenes and emotions beautifully. There is an undercurrent of defiance running through the movie, from Mifune's outspoken wife (Michiko Ôtsuka) to his son (Go Kato) and daughter-in-law (Yoko Tsukasa) clinging to one another despite cruelty from the local feudal lord. Mifune is calm as he braces for battle exclaims "I, in all my life, have never felt more alive than I do now", and we feel for the honor, for the rightness, of what he's about to do. Great film.