Samurai Rebellion - Movie Reviews - Rotten Tomatoes

Samurai Rebellion Reviews

Page 1 of 9
Antonius Block
Super Reviewer
½ March 11, 2017
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.
½ January 18, 2017
Set in the early 18th century (Edo era), Kobayashi's taut and elegant tragedy tells of a conflict between a vassal samurai (Toshiro Mifune) and his lord (and the institutional bureaucracy around that lord). It is a tale of injustice met with resistance, showing that resistance is empowering. The plot is carefully laid out: a member of the lord's escort (Mifune) seeks a bride for his eldest son and the lord, dissatisfied with his key mistress (who has borne him a second son), decides that Mifune's son must marry his mistress (a punishment for her). Mifune attempts to refuse but his son yields. Later, when the lord's eldest son dies of illness, the lord wishes to recall his former mistress (mother of his heir) who is now happily married to Mifune's son. This is the final straw for Mifune who has lived in a loveless marriage himself and sees that his son has found the familial joy that was denied to him. Samurai rebellion! Kobayashi uses the widescreen to maximum advantage, trapping the characters in geometric designs formed from the formal structures and settings of old Japan. The black and white images are carefully balanced (or imbalanced) for a special sort of pictorial pleasure. Yet the film feels sparse and the tension builds gradually but ever so distinctly, as with the turn of a screw, until final violence breaks out in true chambara style (there is a subplot featuring Mifune's friendship with Tatsuya Nakadai that allows a final duel, necessary for the genre). The ending is realistically downbeat - can the powerless ever really overcome the forces against them? But Mifune's efforts are heralded; he never felt so alive as when fighting for justice. A classic with a deeper resonance/relevance.
September 18, 2016
A great samurai drama despite the slow start.
January 20, 2016
Basically, a perfect film.
January 11, 2016
This movie changed my life. :'<
½ August 22, 2015
Timeless drama...impressive
½ August 14, 2015
A proud local family is being harassed by the regional lord, demanding them to take his ex-wife. Some times later he wants her back, but they refuse. Stunning visuals and character close-ups. To the bone heart-gripping.
½ August 13, 2015
Toshiro Mifune is the greatest samurai in the history of cinema and whoever denies it should do harakiri. This is an excellent film. Made with knowledge of rhythm, impeccable performances, balanced tables and an unforgettable story.
½ August 1, 2015
Superb film! Has there ever been an actor more consistently awesome in every role than Toshiro Mifune? -- the Japanese John Wayne. Man's men, man's film. The mother deserves a slap.
November 15, 2014
Probably Kobayashi's best from what I've seen.
August 16, 2014
The original title was "Tatsuya Nakadai is the Greatest," but Western audiences kept responding with, "Who?"
May 17, 2014
Great story, and extremely well told. Mifune is great as usual, and I just loved the build up to the finale.
Super Reviewer
January 23, 2014
While I have seen only one other of Masaki Kobayashi's films (At the time of this review), Hara-kiri, I have no doubt whatsoever in his mastery as a director. Both films are masterpieces telling of injustices during Japan's feudal era and the enormity of the class differences. Samurai Rebellion which stars the legendary Toshiro Mifune, displays both a touching and emotionally investing film that has perfect balance. For the first hour and a half we are introduced to our characters and the plight that will soon spell disaster. The last half hour is a brilliantly filmed samurai showdown where Mifune truly shines as a man of justice and morality. The cinematography of the various Japanese landscapes and wonderfully detailed traditional Japanese housing really add depth and a sense of being that is hard to replicate. What an amazing and beautiful film to see and be moved by. If you love Japanese films, culture or samurai this is an absolute necessity to watch!
½ December 17, 2013
Fight for honor against dishonored master, Another masterpiece from Kobayashi.
½ October 23, 2013
The rebellion is on a personal level rather than being a revolution as one might expect. Fascinating look at how one rebels within a tightly structured society. It occurred to me while watching the film that, while each include both elements to a degree, Japanese films focus more on honor while American films focus more on justice in their displays of heroism and their satisfaction in the outcome. While an American hero might sacrifice honor in favor of justice, the Japanese hero seems more likely to satisfy honor without gaining justice.
October 6, 2013
Between this and "Harakiri", Masaki Kobayashi must specialize in samurai movies that will make you cry. This one's about a samurai warrior whose lord asks that his mistress be married to his son. Reluctantly, they agree. But then his son and the mistress fall in love and just as they have their first child together, the mistress is ordered back to the castle. They refuse. Let's say shit hits the fan. The film takes a while to get to the samurai action but it's an emotional roller-coaster ride getting there and by the time the action hits, you'll be too busy crying to see the astounding sword play. It's masterfully directed and Toshiro Mifune has never been better! Kurosawa may get a lot of press but I think Kobayashi deserves some attention too.
August 1, 2013
Not only one of the most effecting samurai films of all time, but one of the most elegantly and pointedly filmed movies of all time.
July 28, 2013
I am usually very patient with such quality films as I know I should be, however this movie seems to drag on with the verbal back and forth for way to long, and certainly a bit beyond the point when words should have already been exchanged for swords, in my opinion. That being said this movie was a true pleasure to watch as the acting was superb, the story powerfully delivered, and the samurai way impeccably styled.
½ July 6, 2013
I found it completely uninteresting for the first hour and a half. Then it very much so redeems itself in my mind with the last bit.
Page 1 of 9