Yojimbo (1961) - Rotten Tomatoes

Yojimbo (1961)



Critic Consensus: As effortlessly engaging as it is widely influential, Yojimbo represents Kurosawa at the peak of his powers -- and lays the groundwork for the modern American western.

Movie Info

In this film, a samurai warrior is recruited by both sides of a village divided by warfare. He is tempted to go with the side that offers the most money until he learns he is to be killed after his services have been rendered.more
Rating: Unrated
Genre: Action & Adventure, Art House & International, Comedy
Directed By:
Written By: Hideo Oguni, Akira Kurosawa, Ryuzo Kikushima, Hideo Oguni
In Theaters:
On DVD: Sep 28, 1999
Criterion Collection


Toshiro Mifune
as Sanjuro Kuwabatake
Eijir˘ Tono
as Gonji the Sake Selle...
Kyu Sazanka
as Ushitora
Daisuke Kat˘
as Inokichi
Atsushi Watanabe
as Coffin Maker
Yoshio Tsuchiya
as Kohei the Farmer
Yosuke Natsuki
as Farmer's Son
Show More Cast

News & Interviews for Yojimbo

Critic Reviews for Yojimbo

All Critics (36) | Top Critics (7)

A movie that is both a wow of a show and a masterpiece of misanthropy.

Full Review… | March 4, 2013
TIME Magazine
Top Critic

Action-packed, highly comic 1961 translation of Dashiell Hammett's Red Harvest.

Full Review… | February 9, 2007
Chicago Reader
Top Critic

If the plot sounds familiar, it's probably because Leone stole it for A Fistful of Dollars.

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

Even Eastwood's Man With No Name is inspired, perhaps, by the samurai in Yojimbo.

Full Review… | January 20, 2006
Chicago Sun-Times
Top Critic

Despite the sometime appearance of the whole thing as a forthright travesty, it does have stretches of excitement and cinematic power.

Full Review… | May 20, 2003
New York Times
Top Critic

It is fair to say that, without Yojimbo, certain key aspects of Western cinema would not be the same today.

Full Review… | October 10, 2002
Top Critic

Audience Reviews for Yojimbo

Kurosawa's classic film that served as a major inspiration for other directors like Sergio Leone and Quentin Tarantino, employing a curious, dark sense of humor in a very entertaining samurai story that also features a great performance by Toshiro Mifune.

Carlos MagalhŃes

Super Reviewer

Akira Kurosawa helms this phenomenal action drama that elevates the genre of Samurai films even further. His style is unique, one that evokes a strong sense of grand storytelling, which was the case with Seven Samurai. Yojimbo is a great film, one that boasts an impressive cast of actors, a good script, and well paced, thought out scenes that make this film standout. I much preferred Seven Samurai to this film, nonetheless, it's a good film, one that should be seen by fans of the director, and if you enjoy these films, then you ought to check this one out. The film is very well acted and directed, as well as it helped influence many films that would try to duplicate it, but never quite match it. This is a well crafted picture, one that ranks among the finest genre films ever made, and the way it's shot, with its simple story and its acting really ring through. This is a phenomenal film, and definitely one of Akira Kurosawa's best films. The film works well on many levels, and if you enjoy a well constructed story, with plenty of action, thrills and memorable scenes, Yojimbo is such a picture worth seeing. This is a genre classic, one that ranks among the finest samurai films ever made, and it's an expertly crafted picture that has a unique directorial touch that Akira Kurosawa could provide. His filmmaking is wonderful, and gets most out of the scenes because of the cinematography, which is always one of the highpoint of his pictures. Add to that a great sense of storytelling, and you a film that is both grand and memorable, as well as furthering the art of terrific Samurai movies to the big screen. If you've enjoyed Seven Samurai, you're sure to enjoy this powerful piece of cinema, and it's a picture that has a standout legacy, which influenced countless other filmmakers, some of the finest directors to create their own slice of cinematic history. Yojimbo is great for what it is, but it's not as epic in scope as Seven Samurai, which is hard to beat. Nonetheless, Yojimbo is a solid film well worth seeing.

Alex roy

Super Reviewer

A hugely influential and masterfully constructed samurai tale with Western undertones concerning an impoverished roamer (Toshiro Mifune) who comes to a small Japanese town ruled by two evil gangs who threaten to tear it apart. Instead of taking one side over the other, the drifter elects to in turn attempt to manipulate each group into destroying each other, although this proves not to be a plan without flaws, including a nearly fatal lesson in pride going before the fall. Mifune is absolutely phenomenal, as he effortlessly portrays a character that is committed to accomplishing what the common good is for everyone. The themes of power, pride, redemption, and equality are ones that prove to be utterly arresting thanks to the wonderful direction from legendary filmmaker Akira Kurosawa. Mostly, this is a simple movie that does not try to be anything more than it is, but ultimately, thanks as well to a thrilling finale, this is a masterpiece.

Dan Schultz
Dan Schultz

Super Reviewer

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