The Tale of Zatoichi

1962, Action/Adventure, 1h 36m

7 Reviews 1,000+ Ratings

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Movie Info

Zatoichi (Shintaro Katsu) is a blind samurai who becomes the masseur for a Yakuza boss, who hires him anticipating a battle with a rival gang. Zatoichi has few equals on the battlefield or in the gambling den. But the rival gang hires Miki Hirate (Shigeru Amachi), an equally skilled swordsman for whom Zatoichi has great respect. When the gang war begins, Zatoichi is reluctant to battle his counterpart. But Hirate, who has discovered he is terminally ill, craves one final showdown.

Cast & Crew

Shintarô Katsu
Zatôichi, Blind Man Ichi, Masseur Ichi
Masayo Banri
Tane, Tatekichi's sister, Seisuke's ex-lover
Ryuzo Shimada
Shigezô of Sasagawa, Sasagawa yakuza boss
Hajime Mitamura
Hanji of Matsugishi
Chitose Maki
Yoshi, Hanji's wife
Eijirô Yanagi
Sukegorô of Iioka, Iioka yakuza boss
Toshiro Chiba
Masakichi, Iioka yakuza member
Manabu Morita
Seisuke, Tane's ex-lover, Iioka yakuza member
Yoshito Yamaji
Yahei, Father of Tane and Tatekichi
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Critic Reviews for The Tale of Zatoichi

All Critics (7) | Fresh (7)

Audience Reviews for The Tale of Zatoichi

  • Feb 26, 2012
    While "The Tale of Zatoichi" went on to inspire and give life to a long series of films that sum up Zatoichi and his life and adventures, the film was a little slow at times as it had to develop and showcase the Zatoichi character to viewers for the first time. This isn't to say the film isn't worth a watch and has several truly exciting and stylish moments to witness throughout, quite the contrare. I love samurai films and while this isn't at the top of the group, it is nevertheless a good film and very prevalent to Japan as it's become almost like the Japanese James Bond franchise. If you're into samurai films then this is a series of films worth checking out and delving into as the 26 films (25 of which are together for the first time on Criterion's spectacular Zatoichi: The Blind Swordsman Blu-ray boxset) tell one complete story of the legendary character. Of course there is the televesion series as well to take note of and should be viewed before watching the 26th and final film. Can't wait to continue onwards!
    Chris B Super Reviewer
  • Feb 22, 2010
    http://www.hulu.com/search?query=zatoichi&st=0 criterion has made 6 zatoichi films available on hulu! sorry, people who don't live in u.s. :(
    Stella D Super Reviewer
  • Aug 11, 2009
    Quite simply put, this is a perfect movie. The Tale of Zatoichi is the first in a long line of films, detailing the adventures of a blind swordsman. The film begins with Zatoichi using his cunning and his "disability" to his advantage, as he outwits some gamblers. Soon, Zatoichi is hired as a "weapon" for a gang that wishes to wage war on another gang. This other gang also have their own samurai, whom is dealing with his own affliction. The film removes the focus from an all out war and delves into the relationship between the two swordsmen. Both respect each other and have allegiances to their honour and themselves, rather than those that have hired them. The respect they show is very moving, as they bond over fishing nd drinks, and the film eventually culminates in one of the finest climaxes of all time. The fight is not ruined by quick cuts or melodramatic music. Nor is it over-the-top or unbelievable. It still manages to be both gripping, exciting and beautifully moving, proving that you don't need cheap parlor tricks to manipulate an audience. The performances are wonderful and the pacing divine. It literally whips by. It gives you a chance to breath and offers up a bit of a love story, but instead of relying on such a predictable crutch, the character of Zatoichi brushes it aside and the film retains focus on the true story at heart.
    Luke B Super Reviewer
  • May 06, 2008
    this is a simple yet very engaging samurai classic. katsu plays this role well and the story was well told with a great climax ending. i cant wait to make my way through the entire zatoichi series.
    danny d Super Reviewer

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