Seven Samurai

(Shichinin no samurai) 七人の侍
Japan 1954. Dir: Akira Kurosawa. 208 min. 35mm

“The greatest foreign-language film of all time.”

Akira Kurosawa’s stirring epic topped a recent BBC poll in which critics from 43 countries selected the greatest foreign-language (i.e. non-English-language) films of all time. The film is set in 16th-century Japan, where seven unemployed swordsmen are hired to defend a village against marauding bandits. Seven Samurai was over a year in the making and became the most expensive movie ever made in Japan, nearly bankrupting Toho Studios. Its debt to the Hollywood Western (the films of John Ford in particular) was openly acknowledged by Kurosawa; Seven Samurai, in turn, influenced a wide range of non-Japanese cinema, from the Spaghetti Westerns of Sergio Leone to the Star Wars cycle of George Lucas, and was remade in America as The Magnificent Seven. Kurosawa pioneered the use of multiple cameras and the telephoto lens for the tour-de-force battle sequences, including the remarkable, rain-drenched finale. This brilliant, kinetic movie, fair to say, invented the modern action film. Kurosawa mainstays Toshiro Mifune and Takashi Shimura head the large cast.

Please note: Double-bill prices in effect for this film. There will be a 10 minute intermission.



"The greatest movie ever made about warriors and battle ... You will see nothing better all year — and few better films in your lifetime."

Chicago Tribune | full review

"Rich in detail, vivid in characterization, leisurely in exposition, Kurosawa’s epic is a movie to immerse yourself in."

Village Voice | full review