Seven Samurai is number 177 on our top 200 movie list. It is directed by Akira Kurosawa and stars Takashi Shimura, Yoshio Inaba, Minoru Chiaki, and Toshiro Mifune
The Seven Samurai is a black and white movie which was filmed entirely in Japanese in 1954. Right off the bat that might make you skeptical and reluctant to watch this movie but if you sit down and give it a chance it actually has an intriguing story line. The story takes place in 1587 during the warring states period of Japan. It follows along the lives of a group of farmers who hire seven masterless samurai to fight the bandits who will come back to their village after the harvest to steal their crops.
The story starts with a lone villager overhearing a group of bandits plotting to come back to his village in a few months in order to ransack and steal the newly harvested food. The villager reports back to the town elder who suggests they hire a samurai to protect them. Several men go into the city to seek out their hero but they are turned down by every samurai they can find.
They happen to witness a great samurai rescue a young boy who has been taken hostage by a thief and upon seeing this feat of heroism the farmers believe that they have found the man that will help them. Eventually the great samurai agrees to help the farmers but reckons that he needs at least 7 total samurai to fight off the bandits. After recruiting all that he needs he follows the farmers back to the village where the villagers are frightened of them, and think the samurai will take all of their women. Over time the villagers start to trust the samurai and the two groups prepare for the upcoming battle. Will the village survive? Well to find out you need to watch the Seven Samurai.
Seven Samurai is a very interesting movie that opens a window into the ancient Japanese cast system. The samurai are feared but a needed entity when the farmer’s village becomes theartened. While the farmers really do not want the samurai anywhere near their village they must have them to protect them. In turn, the samurai find out the villagers have nothing to offer them but rice yet they stay because they said they would. The movie not only chronicles the battle for the village but two other storylines develop on the way. The first deals with Kikuchiyo a member of the seven samurai, but was not born a samurai. He is a runaway villager who was tired of the people in his village cowering every time they were threatened. Kikuchiyo at first is not accepted but over time he proves his worth and is finally viewed as an equal. The other plotline involves a young samurai named Katsushiro who falls in love with a village girl, but because of different upbringings their romance is forbidden.
Seven Samurai is beautifully directed and though it is a long movie, it flies by. What makes this movie standout is the fact that it helped usher in some of the common themes found in movies today. For example a ragtag team is assembled to carry out a mission is a common plotline in many Hollywood films. While I am not a big fan of foreign films, this is one I can say without a doubt is worth watching. I give Seven Samurai five shells out of five.
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