Epic Kurosawa tale and the inspiration for the Hollywood classic - The Magnificent Seven. A small farming village is about to be overun with bandits - so they hire seven brave Samurai warriors to help them.
Directed by - Akira Kurosawa
(1954) - B&W - 210 min
A small farming village about to be overun by bandits calls a meeting of the elders to discuss how they can fight off the bad guys. The farmers go to town looking for some hungry Samurai - because they have no money to offer, only some food. The farmers find their first warrior - an older man who will act as leader and general of the farmer's Samurai Defense Force.
The farmers continue their quest to find worthy Samurai Warriors to help defend their village. The recruits must also be hungry - because the farmers have no money to pay them - just food. We meet Kyuzo - who is Mr Cool Samurai, plus a friend of the old Samurai leader and Gorobei. Some great scenes as they test the skills of the Samurai they are recruiting. Kikuchiyo (Toshiro Mifume) doesn't do to well on this test as he arrives drunk and disoriented. Lots of important character development - that makes the movie so cool.
The Leader and the Kid
Opens with a terrific scene where Kikuchiyo catches a fish with his bare hands. Then the Samurai defenders come to the village - but instead of being warming greeted - they are shunned. The Samurai haven't always been kind in the past - so the people are nervous, and worried that the village women will throw themselves at Samurai men. Kikuchiyo sounds the alarm that the bandits are coming and suddenly all the farmers are friendly. Plans are made to defend the village and everyone gets to work creating fences, ditches, booby traps, and barriers. Meanwhile, young Samurai Katsushiro makes eyes at Manzo's daughter in a beautiful scene in the forest. Back in the hut - command central - the Samurai leader - Kambei Shimada draws up intricate battle maps. Kikuchiyo shows up with some Samurai outfits and tells the leaders about the true nature of the farmers.
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The Friendly Samurai
The young Samurai boy Katsushiro continues wooing Manzo's young daughter Shino. The Samurais tell the farmers to dig a moat to protect the south from the bandits. But they also want to harvest the food before digging the moat - and that once the food is harvested, the bandits will come. So it's back to more training and some high speed harvesting of wheat. All the girls who have been hiding emerge to help with the harvest - which pleases Kikuchiyo. Meanwhile Shino and Katsushiro meet again in the forest and further character development of the Samurai and the farmers. Soon the battle will be at hand, and the Samurai chase some bandit scouts into the forest looking to kill them before they can report to the chief bandit. Two of the scouts are killed in the forest and they bring the third back alive to the village. A mob scene erupts - till the old woman who has lost her entire family, walks up with a hoe - and passes judgement.
The Samurai's plan an attack on the bandits fortress, hoping to catch them by surpirise and kill some of them without losing any of Samurai. The attack is successful until one of the Samurai (Heihachi) is killed by a gunshot. We also learn that Rikiki's wife has been taken by the bandits and that is why he made such a fuss - that ultimately caused the Samurai's death. The bandits make a few attacks, without much success - but are learning about how to best fight the village - and start using guerilla warfare by burning some houses outside the fortified village. The Samurais decide they must do something about the guns - so "Mr Cool Samurai" Shichiroji, volunteers to go steal one of the guns.
Mr. Cool Samurai (Shichiroji) comes back in the middle of night with one of the bandit's guns. Katsushiro tells him he's great, though Shichiroji just wants some sleep. The bandits attack the village - and the Samurai's let them in just a few at a time, where they are surrounded and summarily killed. Kikuchiyo decides to get one of the bandits guns - and leaves his post to go do so. He gets his gun - but the team loses another Samurai because he left his post.
The decisive battle - as they decide to let all the remaining bandits into the village. Watch the dramatic conclusion to Seven Samurai and see who lives and who dies - and whether Katsushiro will win Shino's heart!