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Seven Samurai 
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A film Akira Kurosawa
In sixteenth-century Japan a poor village is raided every year by a group of bandits until, driven to the brink of starvation, the villagers decide to hire professional warriors to protect them. With only three meagre meals a day to offer as payment, their quest seems an impossible one.
A simple plot, flawlessly executed - Seven Samurai combines comedy, pathos, memorable characters, gripping tension and some of the finest action scenes ever filmed into an enthralling cinematic experience.
Kurosawa's masterpiece testifies to his admiration for the classic Western, and in 1960 John Sturges repaid the compliment by remaking Seven Samurai as The Magnificent Seven.
At 190 minutes this is the most complete version of the film available, and has been digitally remastered from a new print.
The DVD features moving menus, chapter selection, on-screen biographies and a video essay by film historian Philip Kemp.
Japan | 1954 | black & white | Japanese language with English subtitles | 190 minutes | Ratio 1.33:1
Region 2 DVD
'One of the purest adventure movies ever made' --Rolling Stone
'..the yardstick by which all other action movies should be measured' --Empire
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This is a black and white film, in Japanese with English subtitles. The quality isn't particularly brilliant but this has to be expected considering it was made in 1954. But don't be put off by any of this - you will be drawn into it and, like any great film, you will want more, even though it is 190 minutes in length. Do not expect blood spurting everywhere with guts hanging out and limbs being lopped off wherever possible - great character building, amusing incidents that will make you smile, shocking and sad moments, excellent fight scenes and realism are the order of the day. Watch out for Toshiro Mifune turning up to enlist - I laughed out loud (and still laugh whenever I remember it)
I suggest you watch this as a late night movie - it's great!
The film is as old as I am!! I have seen a number of versions over the years, the major difference being the length of the film. The original is very long as it spends a great amount of footage on the first Samurai's funeral. This Blu-Ray version, at 207 minutes, is probably the longest anyone will now see on disk. Whether the original film and the full footage still exists I do not know.
When you realise that the greatest western "The Magnificent Seven" is based on this film, and other westerns and the StarWars trilogy are based on other Kurosawa films, you have to see them all to enjoy the artistry of this director.
"The Seven Samurai" is the pinnacle of Kurosawa's work
If you don't mind the sub titles I highly recommend and the re-mastering makes it even more enjoyable.
That Hollywood had sought to imitate it in the Magnificent Seven is just the sincerest praise of this film's quality. Kurosawa is indeed master of his craft.
I have a complete collection of his Samurai films.Why did I buy this now? Because my first copy of Seven Samurai somehow got unplayable for some damn inexplicable reason.
It wasn't until I became more knowledgable of Japanese history and culture, that I felt able to appreciate this level of quality film making and give it 5 stars. I would otherwise maybe have gone with 4. Despite all it's impressiveness, there are parts that are drawn out enough that those of a contempory, modern western nature may find hard to fully concentrate on. For some, there are sequences when not enough is happenning. Also, the subtitling could be better. The film is not perfect, especially in certain technical matters. Although the performances are almost universally excellent.
Is this a Drama (as Amazon classify it)? Is it a 17th century set eastern? Action film with period context? World cinema? I find it hard to classify, because there is not enough action to call it a full on action movie. But there is more combat or other martial references than one gets in what would be normally perceived as "Drama".
Not everyone can like this movie. And certainly not everyone should blithely give it five stars, but it would be folly to ignore how influential it has been. There are rare benchmarks in most genres (some of which have even been influenced by this one). Star Wars, Seventh Seal, Terminator, Shawshank Redemption, The God Father, Jaws, Akira, Die Hard, The Battleship Potempkin et al. Seven Samurai is a film that rightfully deserves to be "up there".