Play Now Shichinin no samurai / Seven Samurai Full Movie
Also Known As: The Magnificent Seven
Taglines: Unmatched for suspense and spectacle!
Japan, XVI century, the end of the period of internecine feudal wars. Peasants from an abandoned mountain village suffer from robber raids. The bandits are waiting for the harvest to attack the village again and take everything away. The village elder advises the villagers to hire a professional warrior – a samurai who would agree to protect them only for food, because there is nothing more for the peasants to pay. Going into the city, the villagers become witnesses to the courageous act of the samurai Kambei: he famously coped with the armed criminal who took the hostage. The peasants persuade Kambei to help them, but the samurai is sure that seven people like him will be needed to protect the village. Soon, it was possible to assemble a team of six sword masters. Seventh later becomes the eccentric adventurer Kikuchiyo, the son of a farmer, who presented his fellow comrades with a false samurai pedigree.
At first, the villagers were wary and suspicious of their defenders, hiding their wives and daughters from them. Samurai will have to gain the confidence of the village, teach the peasants to build fortifications and keep the defense, despite the superior enemy forces. But military strategy and tactics, exciting action – these are only small components of a large-scale encyclopedia of life and customs of the samurai era, which is a film. The director masterfully reveals the topic of social inequality, and the search for a spiritual leader, a clash of characters. In the confrontation with the bandits, in their own way, not only each of the seven warriors who arrived, but also the most active residents of the village will be revealed. There was a place in the picture and a love line.
A poor village under attack by bandits recruits seven unemployed samurai to help them defend themselves.
A veteran samurai, who has fallen on hard times, answers a village’s request for protection from bandits. He gathers 6 other samurai to help him, and they teach the townspeople how to defend themselves, and they supply the samurai with three small meals a day. The film culminates in a giant battle when 40 bandits attack the village.
Director: Akira Kurosawa
Star Cast: Toshiro Mifune, Takashi Shimura, Keiko Tsushima, Isao Kimura, Daisuke Katō, Seiji Miyaguchi, Yoshio Inaba, Minoru Chiaki, Kamatari Fujiwara, Kokuten Kōdō, Yoshio Tsuchiya, Eijirō Tōno, Jun Tatara, Atsushi Watanabe, Yoshio Kosugi, Bokuzen Hidari, Yukiko Shimazaki
Producer (s): Sōjirō Motoki
Cinematographer: Asakazu Nakai
Music: Fumio Hayasaka
Production House: Toho Company
Original network / Official Sites: Toho
Release Year: 1954 (Japan), 19 November 1956 (USA)
Genres: Action, Adventure, Drama
Part 1: Bandits discuss raiding a mountain village, but their chief decides to wait until after the harvest as they had raided it fairly recently. They are overheard by a farmer, whereupon the villagers ask Gisaku, the village elder and miller, for advice. He states that he once saw a village that hired samurai and remained untouched by raiders, and declares they should also hire samurai to defend them. Since they have no money and can only offer food as payment, Gisaku advises them to find hungry samurai.
After having little initial success, the scouting party watches Kambei, an aging but experienced rōnin, rescue a young boy who had been held hostage by a cornered thief. A young samurai named Katsushirō asks to become Kambei’s disciple. The villagers then ask for help, and after initial reluctance, Kambei agrees. He recruits his old friend Shichirōji and, with Katsushirō’s assistance, three other samurai: the friendly, wily Gorobei; the good-natured Heihachi; and Kyūzō, a taciturn master swordsman whom Katsushirō regards with awe. Although inexperienced, Katsushirō is accepted because time is short. Kikuchiyo, a wild and unpredictable man who carries a family scroll that he claims proves he is a samurai (though the birth date on it is for a teenager), follows the group despite attempts to drive him away.
On arrival, the samurai find the villagers cowering in their homes, refusing to greet them. Feeling insulted by such a cold reception, Kikuchiyo rings the village alarm, prompting the villagers to come out of hiding and beg for protection. The samurai are both pleased and amused by this, and accept him as a comrade-in-arms. Slowly the samurai and farmers begin to trust each other as they train together. Katsushirō forms a relationship with Shino, a farmer’s daughter, who is masquerading at her father’s insistence as a boy for protection from the supposedly lustful samurai. However, the six professional samurai are angered when Kikuchiyo brings them armor and weapons, which the villagers most likely acquired by killing injured or dying samurai. Kikuchiyo retorts in a rage that samurai are responsible for battles, raids, taxation and forced labor that devastate the villagers’ lives. By so doing, he reveals his origin as an orphaned farmer’s son. The samurai’s anger turns to shame.
Part 2: Three bandit scouts are spotted. Two are killed, while another reveals the location of their camp. Against the wishes of the samurai, the villagers kill the prisoner. The samurai burn down the bandits’ camp in a pre-emptive strike. Rikichi, a troubled villager who helps the samurai, breaks down when he sees his wife, who had apparently been kidnapped and made a concubine in a previous raid. On seeing Rikichi, she walks back into the burning hut. Heihachi is killed by musket fire while trying to save Rikichi, whose grief is compounded.
When the bandits finally attack, they are confounded by new fortifications, including a moat and wooden fence. Several bandits are killed following Kambei’s plan of allowing single horse-mounted bandits to enter the village, where they are trapped and killed by groups of farmers armed with bamboo spears. Gisaku’s family tries to save the old man when he refuses to abandon his mill on the outskirts of the village. All perish but a lone baby rescued by Kikuchiyo, who breaks down in tears, as it reminds him how he was orphaned.
The bandits possess three matchlock firearms. Kyūzō ventures out alone and returns with one. An envious Kikuchiyo abandons his post—and his contingent of farmers—to bring back another. He is chastised by Kambei because, while he was gone, the bandits killed some of his farmers. The bandits attack again, and Gorobei is slain. That night, Kambei predicts that, due to their dwindling numbers, the bandits will make one last all-out attack. Meanwhile, Katsushirō and Shino’s relationship is discovered by her father. He beats her until Kambei and the villagers intervene. Shichirōji calms everyone down by saying the couple should be forgiven because they are young and that passions can run high before any battle.
The next morning in a torrential downpour, Kambei orders that the remaining thirteen bandits be allowed into the village. As the battle winds down, their leader, armed with a gun, hides in the women’s hut and shoots Kyūzō. An enraged Kikuchiyo charges in and is shot, but kills the bandit chief before dying. The rest of the invaders are slain.
The three surviving samurai later watch from the funeral mounds of their comrades as the joyful villagers sing whilst planting their crops. Kambei reflects that it is another pyrrhic victory for the warriors: “In the end we lost this battle too. The victory belongs to the peasants, not to us.”