Screening on Film
Directed by Akira Kurosawa.
With Toshiro Mifune, Eijiro Tono, Kamatari Fujiwara.
Japan, 1961, 35mm, black & white, 110 min.
Japanese with English subtitles.
Print source: HFA

Akira Kurosawa’s first "full-length comedy," Yojimbo is the story of a masterless samurai (played to perfection by the great Toshiro Mifune), who wanders into a country town where two rival factions are bent on destroying each other. Deciding to offer his services to the highest bidder, Yojimbo is hired first by one side, then another, eventually playing each against the other. Kurosawa conceived this light-hearted morality tale in an effort to overcome his sense of weakness in the face of such "senseless battles of bad against bad." In the end, however, it is the vitality of the Japanese master’s visual design and the humanity of his protagonist that have made this film a classic of modern cinema.

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Treasures from the Harvard Film Archive: U–Z