Reviewed by: Shannon Hammell
Starring: Toshir Mifune, Takashi Shimura, Keiko Tsushima, Kamatari Fujiwara | Produced by: Sojiro Motoki | Directed by: Akira Kurosawa | Written by: Shinobu Hashimoto, Akira Kurosawa, Hideo Oguni | Distributor: Columbia
My Asian history professor gave us a list of Asian films to write about for our two out-of-class activities. I selected this film out of that list because it seemed interesting. “The Seven Samurai” is a great film that grabs your attention and never lets go of it. There is always something happening. It’s also the first film that I have seen by the late Japanese director Akira Kurosawa. It’s a great movie made by a great director. Though it is not rated, it would be the equivalent of a PG-13 for violence, some profanity, light partial nudity, and a few scattered sexual euphemisms.
The story takes place in 16th century feudal Japan where some thirty or forty bandits threaten a small village occupied by poor farmers and their families. Desperate, they go to town to seek the services of professional samurais to protect their village.
They find their seven men: six professional warriors and a total idiot who thinks he’s a samurai (played by talented Japanese actor Toshir Mifune). Nevertheless, the seven men band together and form garrisons of farmers armed with bamboo poles to fend off the invading bandits.
The film is not a Christian film by any means. That is indicated by the polytheistic nature of the medieval Japanese. When the villagers hear of an attack by bandits, they cry out “Are there no gods to save us?.” That is the only amount of spirituality in this film, but it doesn’t necessarily shove the religion of the Japanese down the viewer’s throat. It does have Christian ideals: that one must stand up and fight for your fellow man, and the idea of brotherly love. It also teaches the character trait of self-sacrifice.
This is a great film but don’t rely on it for a good, Christian story. The film should be recommended for anyone 13 or older since it does have a great deal of violence (but no presence of blood since the film is in black and white), some light partial nudity (some men wear loincloths or the traditional “Sumo wrestler” loincloth), some profanity (including taking the Lord’s name in vain), and some mild sexual innuendoes. Only see this film if you are interested in a good foreign film.