Starring Toshiro Mifune as Sanjuro Kuwabatake, the Ronin, or landless Samurai who comes to a crossroad that leads him to the town where feuding gangsters vie for control. Sanjuro plots to pit the gangsters against each other and free the people. Lots of terrific swordplay!
Yojimbo - The Bodyguard
Directed by - Akira Kurosawa
(1961) - B&W - 110 min
Set in Japan about 1850 - a landless Samurai uses his wits and his sword to become an unconventional hero. Things get complicated when one of the gangsters gets a gun. BTW - Kurosawa films like this created the basic plot for films like "A Fist Full of Dollars" and other classic spaghetti westerns!
Sanjuro Kuwabatake, a Ronin (landless Samurai) comes to a crossroads and tosses a stick into the air to point the way. Off he goes to a small town where crimelords control the people. Great shot of a dog running off with a hand in his mouth!
Sanjuro learns about the two warring factions when he has some sake with an old man. He decides to take all the bad guys on - armed with his wits and his skill as a Samurai killing machine. After he butchers up three gangsters from the Seibei (Seizaburô Kawazu) faction, he visits the other side's kingpin (Ushi Tora played by Kyu Sazanka) and gets paid in advance. He also learns they plan to kill him after they defeat the other side.
Okay - time for the big battle in the street - high noon in the wild, wild, East! He gives Seibei back his 25 ryo advance and sit this one out. Sanjuro decides to watch the action from a crow's nest - but his plan doesn't work as the warlords decide not to fight each other. Then he decides to offer himself up as a bodyguard.
Yojimbo - The Bodyguard
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More adventure and intrigue - the big fight and hostage exchange is planned for 3 a.m. Eventually the two sides exchange prisoners. One of the sons gets hold of a gun. Still - they decide it's best to have Sanjuro on their side and pay him 30 ryo. He tricks them - releases the mother and kills 6 guys to reunite the young family. Swords a flyin'.
Ushi Toro's men come back to the scene of the crime where 6 men lay dead and the girl has escaped with her family. Ushi Toro seeks revenge and burns down the silk factory. The Seibei busts open all the kegs of Sake. The undertaker laments - when a fight gets too big, they don't bother with coffins. Sanjuro's deception gets discovered when the son finds a thank you note to the Samurai. Then he gets beaten within an inch of his life - but eventually escapes.
The Samurai hides underneath the floor when some men come looking for him. A little slice and dice... then some more. Will Sanjuro get killed by the bad guys or will our unlikely hero save the day and free the people from the crime lords? Watch the conclusion and find out yourself!