The genre includes both chanbara (action-oriented sword-fight films) and jidai-geki which equates to . Jidaigeki may refer to a story set in an historical period, though not necessarily dealing with a samurai character or depicting swordplay.
The films are usually set during the(1600-1868), and focuses on the end of an entire way of life for the samurai. Many of the films deal with masterless samurai or , or samurai dealing with changes to their status resulting from a changing society.
While earlierPERIOD PIECES were more dramatic rather than action-based, SAMURAI MOVIES posthave become more action-based, with darker and more violent characters. Post-war samurai epics tended to portray psychologically or physically scarred warriors. stylized and exaggerated death and violence in his SAMURAI EPICS. His samurai, and many others portrayed in film, were solitary figures, more often concerned with concealing their martial abilities, rather than bragging of them.
SEVEN SAMURAI(Shichinin no Samurai) is a 1954 Japaneseco-written, edited, and directed by . The film takes place in 1587 during theof . It follows the story of a village of farmers that hire seven masterless() to combat bandits who will return after the harvest to steal their crops.
Seven Samurai is described as one of the .
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YOJIMBO (Y jinb ) is a 1961 (period drama) film directed by . It tells the story of a , portrayed by , who arrives in a small town where competing crime lords vie for supremacy. The two bosses each try to hire the deadly newcomer as a bodyguard (yojimbo in Japanese).
Based on the success of Yojimbo, Kurosawa's of 1962 was altered to feature a very similar lead character.
SANJURO (Tsubaki Sanj r ) is a 1962 black-and-whitedirected byand starring.
Originally an adaptation of an unrelated short story, the script was altered with the success of Kurosawa's 1961 to become a thematic sequel to that film.
, "Great Bodhisattva Pass"), is a released in . It was directed byand stars . It was based on the(Japanese), reportedly the longest novel ever written in any language.
The film's abrupt ending leaves many plot elements unresolved. The film originally intended to begin a trilogy of films, based on the historical novel of the same name by Kaizan Nakazato. That 41-volume novel encompassed 1,533 chapters and over 5.7 million --considered the largest novel in Japan until the publication of Sohachi Yamaoka's 40-volume serialized novel . The filmmakers wanted to complete the story in later sequels, but these were never made.
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HARAKIRI (Seppuku, 1962) is a Japanese (period-drama) film directed by . The story takes place between 1619 and 1630 during theand the reign of the . It tells the story of HanshirTsugumo, a or warrior without a lord.
HARA-KIRI: DEATH OF A SAMURAI (Ichimei) is a 2011 Japanesedrama film directed by . It was produced by and Toshiaki Nakazawa, who previously teamed with Miike on 2010 s . The film is a 3D remake of's 1962 film .
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13 ASSASSINS (:: J sannin no Shikaku) is a 2010 (period drama) film directed by. The film is a remake of 's 1963 black-and-white Japanese film of the same name, J san-nin no shikaku. The screenplay was written by Daisuke Tengan.
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THE HIDDEN BLADE (Kakushi ken: Oni no tsume, literally "Hidden Blade: 's Claw") is a 2004 film, set in , directed by . The plot revolves around severalduring a time of change in the ruling and class structures of Japan. The film was written by Yamada withand, like its predecessor , based on a short story by .
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THE TWILIGHT SAMURAI or TASOGARE SEIBEI (, literally "Twilight Seibei") is a 2002 Japanese film directed byand stars Hiroyuki Sanada.Set in mid-19th century Japan, a few years before the , it follows the life of Seibei Iguchi, a low-ranking employed as a bureaucrat. Poor, but not destitute, he still manages to lead a content and happy life with his daughters and mother. Through an unfortunate turn of events, the turbulent times conspire against him.
The Twilight Samurai was nominated for theat the , , losing to the() film . The Twilight Samurai also won an unprecedented 12 , including Best Picture, Best Director, Best Actor, Best Actress, and Best Screenplay.
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THE LAST SAMURAI (: ) is a 2003 Americandirected and co-produced by , who also co-wrote the screenplay with . The film stars , who also co-produced, as well as , , , ,and . Inspired by a project by , it interested Zwick, with Ward later serving as executive producer. The film production went ahead with Zwick and was shot in Ward's native .
Cruise portrays an American officer, whose personal and emotional conflicts bring him into contact withwarriors in the wake of thein . The film's plot was inspired by the 1877led by , and on the westernization of Japan by colonial powers, though this is largely attributed to the United States in the film for American audiences. It is also based on the stories of , acaptain who fought alongsidein the earlier and , an American mercenary who helpedthe Chinese army by forming the .
The Last Samurai was well received upon its release, with a worldwide box office total of $456 million. It was nominated for several awards, including four , threeand two .
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A total of 26 Zatoichi films were made from 1962 to 1989starring Shintaro Katsu.This is the 26th and final film of the original series of movies.
One of the best things about this final film is that the bad guys are so truly despicable that when Ichi finally takes matters into his own hands, we are sure of his moral rightness, and highly satisfied. After being released from prison the movie has Ichi revisit all of his familiar plot lines. He turns the tables on cheating gamblers, getting them angry doing so. He is caught between a war twixt rival yakuza gangs. He encounters a highly likable, but ultimately flawed samurai. So, while there is nothing new here it is all done using the familiar Zatoichi formula, and thus comes off extremely entertaining.
Zatoichi fullWith a price on his head, Ichi seeks tranquillity in a favorite village. Since his last visit, it has fallen prey to Boss Masagoro, the son of a merchant rumored to have stolen gold from the shogunate. The boss has hired Yojimbo as his hard-drinking enforcer, but Yojimbo is both a spy for the shogunate, trying to find the gold, and in love with the merchant's unwilling mistress, Umeno. Ichi hires on as the merchant's masseur and buys Umeno's freedom with his employer's own money. This embarrasses Yojimbo who withdraws from a pact with Ichi to stir up trouble between father and son and their gangs. As the two sides fight, Ichi finds the gold and sets up a final set of confrontations.
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ZATOICHI (Zat ichi) is a 2003 Japaneseand , directed, written, co-edited, and starring("Beat" Takeshi).
The film is aof the classic series..It premiered on September 3, 2003 at the , where it won the prestigiousaward, and went on to numerous other awards both at home and abroad. It also stars , , , Guadalcanal Taka, , Yuko Daike,, , and .
Rurouni Kenshin is a 2012 Japanese film adaptation of Rurouni Kenshin based on Nobuhiro Watsuki's popular manga of the same name. Directed by Keishitomo, the film stars Takeru Satoh and Emi Takei.
The film focuses on fictional events that take place during the early Meiji period in Japan, telling the story of a wanderer named Himura Kenshin, formerly known as the assassin Hitokiri Batt sai. Kenshin is an extremely powerful swordsman with virtually unmatched skills. Kenshin practices the Hiten Mitsurugi-ry(?, lit. "Flying Heaven Honorable Sword Style"), a fictional ancient sword art which can be based on Batt jutsu, that enables him to exercise superhuman speed and reflexes, study and predict his opponent's movements in battle, as well as perform many powerful sword techniques.
At the end of the Bakumatsu, he becomes a wandering samurai, now wielding a sakabat(?, lit. "reverse-blade sword"), a katana that has the cutting edge on the inwardly curved side of the sword, thus being nearly incapable of killing. Kenshin wanders the countryside of Japan offering protection and aid to those in need, as atonement for the murders he once committed as an assassin.
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