Seven Samurai (Shichinin no Samurai)

Critics Consensus

Arguably Akira Kurosawa's masterpiece, The Seven Samurai is an epic adventure classic with an engrossing story, memorable characters, and stunning action sequences that make it one of the most influential films ever made.



Total Count: 61


Audience Score

User Ratings: 90,817
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Movie Info

Akira Kurosawa's epic tale concerns honor and duty during a time when the old traditional order is breaking down. The film opens with master samurai Kambei (Takashi Shimura) posing as a monk to save a kidnapped farmer's child. Impressed by his selflessness and bravery, a group of farmers begs him to defend their terrorized village from bandits. Kambei agrees, although there is no material gain or honor to be had in the endeavor. Soon he attracts a pair of followers: a young samurai named Katsushiro (Isao Kimura), who quickly becomes Kambei's disciple, and boisterous Kikuchiyo (Toshiro Mifune), who poses as a samurai but is later revealed to be the son of a farmer. Kambei assembles four other samurais, including Kyuzo (Seiji Miyaguchi), a master swordsman, to round out the group. Together they consolidate the village's defenses and shape the villagers into a militia, while the bandits loom menacingly nearby. Soon raids and counter-raids build to a final bloody heart-wrenching battle. ~ Jonathan Crow, Rovi


Toshiro Mifune
as Kikuchiyo
Yoshio Inaba
as Gorobei
Minoru Chiaki
as Heihachi
Daisuke Katô
as Shichiroji
as Katsushiro, young samurai
Ko Kimura
as Katsushiro
Jiro Kumagai
as Gisaku's Son
Haruko Toyama
as Gisaku's Daughter-in-Law
Fumiko Homma
as Peasant Woman
Toranosuke Ogawa
as Grandfather
Noriko Sengoku
as Wife from Burned House
Yu Akitsu
as Husband From Burned House
Gen Shimizu
as Masterless Samurai
Jun Tasaki
as Big Samurai
Jun Tatari
as Laborer
Yukiko Shimazaki
as Rikichi's Wife
Sojin Jr.
as Minstrel
Shimpei Takagi
as Bandit Chief
Akira Tani
as Bandit
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Critic Reviews for Seven Samurai (Shichinin no Samurai)

All Critics (61) | Top Critics (12) | Fresh (61)

Audience Reviews for Seven Samurai (Shichinin no Samurai)

  • Mar 09, 2018
    It's hard to heap more superlatives on this film given all those that it's received from countless critics and viewers over the years. It's certainly worthy of them. The story is perfect. The characters and acting are memorable. Director Akira Kurosawa has a fantastic sense of pace, and even at three and a half hours, every scene seems important. We're transported to 16th century Japan, a time when bandits terrorize the countryside and a village of farmers, but the film's themes are timeless. As epic as the movie is, with a samurai team of six assembled one by one by its leader (Takashi Shimura), it would not have been the same without the seventh, a samurai-wannabe played by Toshiro Mifune. He's brash, exuberant, funny, brave, foolish, and heartfelt. He's in many brilliant scenes, but my favorite is when he describes what tricks the farmers may be up to, and we gradually understand that he himself was a farmer's son, with a tragic past. His performance is right up there with Brando in terms of intensity and honesty. Kurosawa is smart in so many ways here, one of which is to orient the viewer to the village and its surroundings by showing the leader of the group plan its defense. In addition to Mifune's character, he also lightens the mood with the forbidden love between the young samurai apprentice (Isao Kimura) and a young woman masquerading as a boy (Keiko Tsushima). Their scene in the woodland flowers is gorgeous. I love how the samurai are as tough as nails, but know they don't need to show it, and instead exude a sense of calm, playfulness, and understanding. With the exception of an extremely skillful and solemn swordsman (Seiji Miyaguchi), they smile in many scenes, and all of them accept the difficulty and danger of their fate. Despite their skill, they do not seek out violence. They are calm in moments of peace, intelligent in planning for battle, and brave and unflinching under attack. While the film and these character types have been emulated many times over the years, the difference between these samurai and western action heroes is still stark, and refreshing. In this little village and the situation it faces, we see a microcosm of the world. Despite the mythic quality of a small outnumbered band of heroic samurai, the film has an authenticity to it. We see all of the very natural reactions to pressure. There are themes you might expect: honor, duty, discipline, and that sort of thing, but at its core, the message is the need to stand up to evil, and the great debt that we owe to those who have done so.
    Antonius B Super Reviewer
  • Sep 22, 2016
    When it comes to all-time classic films, the title Seven Samurai gets thrown around a lot. Released in 1954, spawning many different versions as time went on, most notably the 1960 recreation known as The Magnificent Seven, Seven Samurai is not just your average epic. Taking its time to tell its brilliant, yet simple story to its audience, it was clear that director Akira Kurosawa expected a much maturer demographic. Released over 60 years ago, films of the 1940's and 1950's are very rarely talked about, with the exceptions of a few everlasting ones. People say that the likes of Citizen Kane or The Wizard of Oz are the best of the best from those decades, but not enough people talk about Kurosawa's masterpiece in Seven Samurai. Here is why I believe it is still one of the greatest films out there, even today. While it is without question that its 206 minute running time can be daunting to some viewers, it just goes to show that the attention span for cinema has dwindled over the years. Upon its initial release, films featured intermissions approximately halfway through, thus giving the audience a bit of time to let everything sink in. Today's films have to rush everything into a maximum of two hours or its audience will begin to lose interest. It is sad but true, with the exception of a few greats. Giving just enough screen time to each and every one of the main characters, this film balances its cast perfectly. Utilizing its action sequences just as things may start getting a little boring, Kurosawa knows exactly where and when to place every scene. I admire this film for every risk it takes, and every one that it doesn't. Although I mention that its pacing is slower due to the fact that it focusses on every character in order to make you care about them, Seven Samurai is also no stranger to exciting action sequences. Even though it is still brutal for the time, the shots composed throughout every epic action sequence feels rich and cared for. Not a frame of this film occurs without purpose and I cannot admire a film that does that enough. Seven Samurai makes you feel emotions that you never thought you would feel from watching a samurai epic. In the end, I was sucked in and put on the edge of my seat. Sure, watching this film nowadays, you can see the outcome from a mile away, due to the fact that many films have borrowed its story elements over the years, but for its time, the ending is simply beautiful. The plot to this film is simple. A group of bandits threaten to steal all of the rice being harvested by farmers. Afraid of losing everything, they recruit seven samurai warriors to train with them in order to strike when the time comes. With a plot like this, you are looking at a 90 minute running time for any average movie with this plot nowadays, but the fact that this film takes its time to flesh out every character and tastefully stage its action sequences so that you care about everything that is going on, makes for even even greater experience. There are endless things to love about this classic picture. In the end, this is a film that I can easily recommend to any cinema lover who doesn't mind a longer film. If you do not like sitting through lengthy films and you do not enjoy subtitles or cannot speak the languages spoken throughout the film, it may not be for you. That being said, this is a rich looking epic, with incredible direction, great performances for its time, a simple story told with vigour and care, as well as pacing that flies by if you are able to follow everything that is happening. I love this film from start to finish and it definitely deserves recognition as one of the greats. I quite simply do not have anything to complain about here. Seven Samurai is cinema at its best.
    KJ P Super Reviewer
  • Jan 28, 2015
    Kurosawa's perfected blend of action, humor, and pathos is on display in this masterpiece. Three and a half hours never felt so short and entertaining.
    Kase V Super Reviewer
  • Jun 01, 2014
    Directors C Super Reviewer

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