The Yakuza (1975)

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Movie Info

Between making They Way We Were and Three Days of The Condor, Sydney Pollack directed this little-seen thriller from a script by Paul Schrader and Robert Towne. The Yakuza stars Robert Mitchum as Harry Kilmer, a former soldier who returns to Japan to help rescue the daughter of his friend George Tanner (Brian Keith). Once he arrives in the country, Kilmer discovers that the daughter has been kidnapped by the Japanese mafia, called the Yakuza. In order to battle the ruthless organized crime outfit and save the girl, Kilmer finds himself left with few options and reluctantly enlists the help of his old nemesis, Tanaka (Ken Takakura). The film was later re-titled The Brotherhood of the Yakuza and was originally shown in a 123-minute cut.

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Cast

Robert Mitchum
as Harry Kilmer
Brian Keith
as George Tanner
Ken Takakura
as Tanaka Ken
Keiko Kishi
as Tanaka Eiko
Eiji Okada
as Tono Toshiro
Kyosuke Mashida
as Kato Jiro
Denis Akiyama
as Tono's Bodyguard
Lee Chitillo
as Louise Tanner
Go Eiji
as Spider
Lee Chirillo
as Louise Tanner
M. Hisaka
as Boy Friend
William Ross
as Tanner's Bodyguard
Akiyama
as Tono's Bodyguard
Harada
as Goro's Doorman
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News & Interviews for The Yakuza

Critic Reviews for The Yakuza

All Critics (14) | Top Critics (4)

A confused and diffused film which bites off more than it can artfully chew.

Nov 6, 2007 | Full Review…
Variety
Top Critic

The final show-down is one not to be missed.

Feb 9, 2006 | Full Review…
Time Out
Top Critic

A superior action movie, but all the same, it's for audiences that have grown accustomed over the last few years to buckets of blood, disembowelments and severed hands flying through the air.

Oct 23, 2004 | Rating: 2.5/4 | Full Review…

Unsettling, but ultimately unsatisfying.

Jan 1, 2000 | Full Review…

Matching an aged and rugged Robert Mitchum with ultimate Japanese gangster actor Ken Takakura, The Yakuza is, frankly, a piece of masculine cinematic heaven.

Nov 13, 2018 | Full Review…

"The Yakuza" is a beautifully flawed film that nonetheless catches you off guard when you least expect it.

Jan 24, 2018 | Rating: B+ | Full Review…

Audience Reviews for The Yakuza

"When an American cracks up, he opens up the window and shoots up a bunch of strangers. When a Japanese cracks up, he closes the window and kills himself. Everything is in reverse." Not quite as wonderful as The Friends of Eddie Coyle, this is still a pretty great late Mitchum movie, and as an example of mid-Seventies Hollywood flirting with the Far East, The Yakuza is certainly better than Peckinpah's The Killer Elite. By modern standards the film is so slow-moving it barely qualifies as a thriller, though the funereal pacing is very deliberate, emphasising the dignity of the characters, maximising the tension and making the sudden, cathartic eruptions of violence all the more startling. The whole movie is brilliantly shot and edited, not just the splendid fight scenes, with Pollack cleverly cutting through much of the script's wordy exposition by carrying the dialogue of one scene over into the next. Among the interesting credits, the script was written by Leonard and Paul Schrader, with rewrites by Robert Towne; Robert Aldrich was originally slated to direct but Mitchum had him replaced by Pollack; and Mitchum's love interest is played by Keiko Kishi, who played the 'Woman in the Snow' in Kobayashi's Kwaidan.

Stephen M
Stephen M

Super Reviewer

My 2nd favorite Schrader script, my 2nd favorite Robert Towne script and my 2nd favorite Sydney Pollack film.

Ken Stachnik
Ken Stachnik

Super Reviewer

An american meets the dark and violent japanese underworld. an ode to friendship, honor codes and sacrifice among far east gangsters.

Pierluigi Puccini
Pierluigi Puccini

Super Reviewer

Really exciting and haunting East-meets-West-head-on thriller with tough hero Robert Mitchum who goes against the yakuza (Japanese gangster) to protect his Japanese friends he trusts like a family.

Dean McKenna
Dean McKenna

Super Reviewer

The Yakuza Quotes

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