Sanjuro (Tsubaki Sanjûrô)

Critics Consensus

Technically impressive and superbly acted, Sanjuro is a funny, action-packed samurai adventure featuring outstanding cinematography and a charismatic performance from Toshiro Mifune.



Reviews Counted: 21

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Audience Score

User Ratings: 14,414


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Average Rating: 4.2/5

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Movie Info

Toshiro Mifune stars here as a wandering samurai warrior who becomes the warrior-mentor for a bunch of budding samurai who are heading toward a showdown with their corrupt clan fathers. Sanjuro was directed by Akira Kurosawa.

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Toshiro Mifune
as Sanjuro Tsubaki
Tatsuya Nakadai
as Hanbei Muroto
Yuzo Kayama
as Ioti Izaka
Reiko Dan
as Koiso
Yunosuke Ito
as Matsuda the Chamberlain
Takako Irie
as Chamberlain's Wife
Kamatari Fujiwara
as Takebayashi
Akihiko Hirata
as Young Samurai
Kunie Tanaka
as Young Samurai
Hiroshi Tachikawa
as Young Samurai
Tatsuhiko Hari
as Young Samurai
Tatsuyoshi Ebara
as Young Samurai
Kenzo Matsui
as Young Samurai
Yoshio Tsuchiya
as Young Samurai
Akira Kubo
as Young Samurai
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Critic Reviews for Sanjuro (Tsubaki Sanjûrô)

All Critics (21) | Top Critics (4)

Audience Reviews for Sanjuro (Tsubaki Sanjûrô)

A successful follow-up to director Akira Kurosawa's smashing "Yojimbo", where he continues to chronicle the life events of a mysterious samurai (Toshiro Mifune) and how he feels tasked to help some members of a small village take back their town from a corrupt chamberlain and his men. While it does not pack the dramatic punch "Yojimbo" did, and several of the plot points are relatively familiar given the direction the first film went in, this movie still remains fascinating to watch given the nature of the lead character. He is still unpredictable even when certain parts of the story feel somewhat repetitive, and Mifune's rock-solid performance is the real driving force behind this movie in particular. A good movie worth viewing, but in my opinion not very close to the classic status equated with that of "Yojimbo".

Dan Schultz
Dan Schultz

Super Reviewer

Toshiro Mifune's wayward samurai returns to help out in the kidnapping of a statesman by a corrupt official intent on discrediting him to cover up his own crimes. Sanjuro was made hot on the heels of Yojimbo, and is obvious proof that a studio trying to cash in on the commercial success of a film by throwing together a rehash is far from a new phenomenon. The fact is, Sanjuro just copies the formula of the original with a bit more crowd pleasing action and humour and a bit less intelligence and characterisation. But let's face it, the combination of Akira Kurosawa and Toshiro Mifune was never going to disappoint no matter what the reasons for their collaboration and Sanjuro is yet another beautifully crafted and hugely entertaining samurai movie. It's mildly comic approach does not capture the dramatic gravitas of the original film but Kurosawa's eye is still perfection and Mifune's performance still a powerhouse of charisma. In fact despite the commercialism of the film, the final scene is still pure Kurosawa through and through. Cash in it may have been, but it's still head and shoulders above the vast majority of the herd.

xGary Xx
xGary Xx

Super Reviewer

Akira Kurosawa's sequel (of sorts) to Yojimbo finds the hero (Toshiro Mifune) once again coming to the aid of hapless ineffectuals. This time it's a clan of samurai who suspect there are traitors in their rank. The nine men on the side of justice are bungling greenhorns seemingly incapable of doing anything themselves. Sanjuro almost has to carry them through the movie like infants in his arms as they mess up one mission after the other. In fact, Sanjuro is basically a superman, and maybe a metaphor for God, especially when, in one scene they doubt Sanjuro's loyalty and it winds up being a costly mistake for them. But on a purely visceral level, the movie, like most Kurosawa films, is highly entertaining. The lady of the house, who doesn't care for violence and rough language is a comedic highlight, in contrast to Sanjuro's exasperation. Kurosawa is great at making well-rounded, entertaining movies with great characters and engaging storylines. Toshiro Mifune is the John Wayne of Samurai movies, only more a method actor than the Duke (he doesn't pull his punches or his sword slices). Check out the bonus documentary on the criterion collection disc. It's well worth it.

Devon Bott
Devon Bott

Super Reviewer


It may be lighter in tone, a little funnier, and not as good as its predecessor Yojimbo, but Sanjuro is still a very good and highly entertaining film. Parts of it seem a little muddled, but all in all, it's a fun samurai film with a great message and cool characters. I've seen 4 of Kurosawa's films now, and none of them have missed the mark. It's a shame that there aren't really any more directors like him or films like his being made in this day and age.

Chris Weber
Chris Weber

Super Reviewer

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