Yojimbo (1961): Japanese masterpiece

What is it about?

Two opposing gangs run a small village in 19-century Japan. They mostly kill each other with swords of various level of deadliness, although, one guy has a pistol as well! That’s a bit cowardly if you ask me, but it seems nobody is brave enough to point that out to him. Probably because he has a gun!

A lonely ronin from who knows where wanders into the village and starts interacting with members of both gangs. And when I say interacting, I mean he’s kicking the shit out of them, switches sides, and brings havoc and mayhem to a peaceful village. Well, other than the occasional murders and robberies.

Who should watch it?

  • Should I watch it with my kid(s)?

If you find a kid that would genuinely want to watch a black and white  Japanese movie from 1961, congratulations! Your kid is weird! But seriously, it’s highly unlikely your kid would want to watch that. If by some chance you do have a child that has a taste for 55 years old Japanese movies, don’t let him watch it as the movie has a solid amount of violence.

  • Is it good to watch on a date?

Not really. Unless you are both huge fans of Akira Kurosawa, which is statistically highly unlikely.

  • For what age and gender is it intended?

Pretty much for everyone older than 16 and especially for people who like Akira Kurosawa and/or samurai movies.

 What can I expect from this movie?

  • Will I fall off the couch laughing and have sore abs the next day due to laughing too hard?


  • Is my brain going to implode trying to figure out the movie?


  • Will I learn anything from this movie?

Yes. Nobody fucks with a ronin. Nobody.

  • Is it based on something?

It’s loosely based on Dashiell Hammet’s novel “The Glass Key”. And when I say loosely, I mean loosely.

Yes! It’s a masterpiece and should not be missed by anyone.

Similar movies like “Yojimbo”?

For similar movies, I recommend Miller’s Crossing, and “The Last Man Standing”, which is not as good, but it’s a decent action movie with Bruce Willis.

Of course, I encourage you to check some other movies from Akira Kurosawa as well, especially “Seven Samurai”.

Judgment time!

Akira Kurosawa is a well-known master of film. Pretty much all of his movies are cinematic gems that don’t get worse as time passes. “Yojimbo” is no different. In this epic struggle of one man against a corrupt system Kurosawa was able to capture all of the glory and honor that a ronin possesses. Action scenes are made superbly and the atmosphere is simply stunning.

Unlike some other Kurosawa’s movies, “Yojimbo”, even though it’s very arty, it offers a lot of entertainment, which makes it suitable for a very broad audience and not just for people who dig Kurosawa. I give it 10/10.


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