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Kagemusha [DVD] [1980]

Tatsuya Nakadai , Tsutomu Yamazaki , Akira Kurosawa    Parental Guidance   DVD
3.9 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (35 customer reviews)
Price: £5.99 & FREE Delivery in the UK on orders over £10. Details
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Kagemusha [DVD] [1980] + Ran [DVD] + Rashomon [1950] [Special Edition] [DVD]
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Product details

  • Actors: Tatsuya Nakadai, Tsutomu Yamazaki, Ken'ichi Hagiwara, Jinpachi Nezu, Hideji Ôtaki
  • Directors: Akira Kurosawa
  • Format: PAL
  • Language: Japanese
  • Subtitles: English
  • Region: Region 2 (This DVD may not be viewable outside Europe. Read more about DVD formats.)
  • Aspect Ratio: 16:9 - 1.85:1
  • Number of discs: 1
  • Classification: PG
  • Studio: 20th Century Fox Home Ent.
  • DVD Release Date: 18 Feb 2013
  • Run Time: 153 minutes
  • Average Customer Review: 3.9 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (35 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 30,947 in DVD & Blu-ray (See Top 100 in DVD & Blu-ray)



The 1970s were difficult years for the great Japanese director Akira Kurosawa. Having been unable to secure full Japanese backing for his epic project Kagemusha, the 70-year-old master found American support from George Lucas and Francis Ford Coppola, who served as co-executive producers (through 20th Century Fox) for this magnificent 1980 production--to that date the most expensive film in Japanese history. Set in the late-16th century, Kagemusha centres on the Takeda clan, one of three warlord clans battling for control of Japan at the end of the feudal period. When their leader Lord Shingen (Tatsuya Nakadai) is mortally wounded in battle, he orders that his death be kept secret and that his "kagemusha"--or "shadow warrior"--take his place for a period of three years to prevent clan disruption and enemy takeover. The identical double is a petty thief (also played by Nakadai) spared from execution due to his uncanny resemblance to Lord Shingen--but his true identity cannot prevent the tides of fate from rising over the Takeda clan in a climactic scene of battlefield devastation. Through stunning visuals and meticulous attention to every physical and stylistic detail, Kurosawa made a film that restored his status as Japan's greatest filmmaker, and the success of Kagemusha enabled the director to make his 1985 masterpiece, Ran. --Jeff Shannon

Product Description

United Kingdom released, PAL/Region 2 DVD: LANGUAGES: Japanese ( Dolby Digital 2.0 ), English ( Subtitles ), WIDESCREEN (1.85:1), SPECIAL FEATURES: Interactive Menu, Scene Access, SYNOPSIS: In 1572, there is a civil war in Japan, and three powerful clans, leaded by the lords Shingen Takeda (Tatsuya Nakadai), Nobunaga Oda (Daisuke Ryu) and Ieyasu Tokugawa (Masayuki Yui), dispute the conquest of Kyoto. When Shingen is mortally wounded, the Takeda clan hides the incident and uses a poor thief to be the double of the strategist Shingen and keep the respect of their enemies. Along the years, Kagemusha incorporates the spirit of the warrior of the dead warlord. SCREENED/AWARDED AT: BAFTA Awards, Cannes Film Festival, Ceasar Awards, David Donatello Awards, Golden Globes, Oscar Academy Awards, ...Kagemusha - The Shadow Warrior ( Kagemusha )

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Customer Reviews

Most Helpful Customer Reviews
110 of 116 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Great film, average DVD 9 Nov 2002
By A Customer
Kurosawa’s 1980 samurai epic is much more than a dry run for his Shakespearean epic “Ran”. In its own right it is filmmaking on a vast canvas, documenting the downfall of the Takeda clan in 16th century Japan. The title refers to the double who takes the place of the warlord Takeda Shingen when the latter dies. The film then becomes concerned with the nature of identity, as the double learns to adapt to the role of the warlord, and reality and illusion merge.
Fans of the kinetic energy of Kurosawa’s classic black-and-white pictures must have been surprised by the opening shot – the camera doesn’t move once for the whole six-minute scene. In fact, the mostly static camera is a feature of Kurosawa’s mature style: detached, fatalistic, his characters now trapped by destiny and unable to change its course. “Kagemusha” is a pessimistic work, one which offers no hope of action. Kurosawa had begun to delineate the way things fall apart, and the atmosphere is one of melancholy and, ultimately, despair.
I have heard it remarked that this film (and “Ran”) suffers from the absence of Toshiro Mifune. While I agree that the break-up of Kurosawa and Mifune made cinema a poorer place, it must be said that Tatsuya Nakadai (a stage actor who had previously played villains in “Yojimbo” and “Sanjuro”) does an excellent job in a role originally intended for the comic actor Shinaro Katsu. However, the true greatness lies, as always, in Kurosawa’s direction. Like “Ran,” “Kagemusha” was meticulously planned, mapped out first in the form of drawings and diagrams, a result of Kurosawa’s inability to secure financial backing for the film for several years.
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59 of 62 people found the following review helpful
1.0 out of 5 stars Superlative film - diabolical dvd! 5 Jan 2004
As another reviewer has already observed, surely this masterpiece deserves the best possible remastering for DVD? Apart from the awful editing and cutting, the picture quality is very poor and the sound is a disgrace. Kurosawa San and Kagemusha should be afforded the proper respect and until that happens I strongly advise would be viewers to see this magnificent film in all its' glory on the big screen.
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22 of 23 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars layer cake of delight 2 Feb 2006
I saw this film 25 years ago & found it visually stunning, gruesomely beautiful, a rich yet dark experience. But you know how it can sometimes be, with books or films you've read or seen a long time ago - more often than not a series of disappointments - & you can end up half-despising the younger self who so naively thought this wonderful... Not this time, though: Kagemusha is a brilliant cinematic achievement.
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12 of 13 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A magnficent drama 9 Oct 2003
I must admit, this is my first Akira Kurosawa film but I have loved it to bits. The characters are very well portrayed, especially Oda Nobunaga and Takeda Shingen/Kagemusha. This is a must have movie for any samurai fans out there. Many seem to stereotype these kind of movies as samurai films: just westerns but with swords, but Akira Kurosawa's films are epic dramas and can only be classified as an Akira Kurosawa film. Although the subtitles are for the hard of hearing for the English, it is still something that I could easily get used to with this clasic.
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4 of 4 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars "Kagemusha" on BLU RAY - Which Version To Buy 26 Feb 2014
As you've probably gathered most of the reviews for the mighty Kurosawa epic “Kagemusha” are for the 'DVD' version (which had questionable picture quality). And the first BLU RAY reissue is available in a number of territories – including the UK and EUROPE. But which release do you buy?

Unfortunately the uber-desirable USA Criterion version is REGION-A LOCKED although it doesn't say so on Amazon.
So it WILL NOT PLAY on most UK BLU RAY players unless they're chipped to play 'all' regions (which the vast majority aren't).
Don’t confuse BLU RAY players that have multi-region capability on the 'DVD' front – that won’t help.

Luckily there’s a new March 2014 20th Century Fox BLU RAY (with involvement from Scorsese and Coppola) that promises the same restored elements and will play on UK machines.

Check you’re purchasing the right version before purchase...
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4 of 4 people found the following review helpful
After years in the wilderness ended only when Francis Ford Coppola and George Lucas persuaded 20th Century Fox to invest some of the money they'd made from Star Wars in his financially stalled epic, Akira Kurosawa's Kagemusha was one of those real life fairy tales that you feel bad for not liking more. It's a film with good things in it and the odd great moment, but despite having a good story to tell and the budget to do it justice it never really comes to life. The tale of a thief whose uncanny resemblance to a warlord leads to him assuming his role after his death to prevent his kingdom falling apart and slowly gaining both the admiration and unease of those who use him over his alternately inspired or disastrous improvisation in the role itself tends to feel like a convincing imitation rather than the genuine article. A big part of the reason is that the characters never come to life thanks to a script that's thin on character and a performance by Tatsuya Nakadai that's more than competent but feels like it's had the life directed out of it. Kurosawa originally cast Shintaro Katsu, the larger than life star of the Lone Wolf and Cub and Hanzo the Razor films, only to fire him in rehearsals over what he saw as a lack of respect and, as Coppola suggests on one of the interviews on Criterion's DVD and Blu-ray, that was probably what the part needed instead of Nakadai's quieter, more contained but all too often near-anonymous performance. Throughout he seems kept at arm's length, observing events but never allowed to take centre stage until near the end of the film.

The film's other big problem is it's pacing.
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Most Recent Customer Reviews
5.0 out of 5 stars ariived very quickly
The movie is one of my fav's so i was delighted when it arrived very quickly, and the dvd was immaculate. I'm very happy with both the product and the seller.
Published 5 months ago by Jay Hennigan
5.0 out of 5 stars S-P-L-E-N-D-I-D! A film fast as the wind but silent as the forest,...
This is an extraordinary film combining great scenario and incredible visual effects, made by THE great master of Japanese cinema Akira Kurosawa. Read more
Published 6 months ago by Maciej
4.0 out of 5 stars Top rate DVD of second rate Kurosawa
I'm writing this primarily to clear up the confusion among other reviews here of Kagemusha. Reviews complaining about the quality of the DVD transfer would appear to be of the... Read more
Published 11 months ago by Film Buff
5.0 out of 5 stars Excellent
This is classic Kirasawa: set in feudal Japan it tells of a look-alike who is taken on to impersonate the Lord when the former is fatally wounded. Read more
Published 14 months ago by Peter Gray
3.0 out of 5 stars Not the best...
Kagemusha is a fantastic film, one of my favourites in fact, unfortunately the transfer here is at best adaquate. Read more
Published 17 months ago by Mark A. Streets
5.0 out of 5 stars Kagemusha
I remember seeing this film back in the 1980's and how stunning it was, my opinion has not changed, both the story and the backdrops are still alive. Read more
Published on 15 April 2012 by Tonyham
1.0 out of 5 stars Badly remastered DVD
I wouldn't mind the quality of the footage - that I can understand but the sound! It's just poor! This DVD is going back as it fails to deliver quality I would expect from this... Read more
Published on 26 Oct 2011 by Mr. S. Cmakal
5.0 out of 5 stars Kurasawa classic !
This 1980 film won a Golden Palm Award at the Cannes Film Festival and it was rightly deserved .It is the story of a dying powerful warlord who on his deathbed orders his clan to... Read more
Published on 20 Aug 2011 by David McDonald
2.0 out of 5 stars Historically Accurate
Although this DVD is historically Accurate as far as the main story goes there was no Shadow Warrior. Read more
Published on 12 Feb 2011 by Mr. A. D. Chaplin
3.0 out of 5 stars Rubbish Ending!
The film's ending was just pathetic! It totally ruined the film for me since it was rather like an after-thought. What a shame.
Published on 13 Oct 2010 by Dr. A. Sahal
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