Yojimbo (1961) – Movie Review

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Westerns don’t get any better than this Eastern.

The gunfighter strolls down the dusty street of some god forsaken town beset by the evil within itself.  But instead of some long forgotten place in the American West, this scene is set in 19th century Japan.  Instead of a Colt 45, this dust-covered scruffy gunfighter has a samurai sword tucked in his belt.   The whiskey is replaced by sake, the dancing-girls by “geishas”, and so on.  But don’t let the thought that this is some B movie knockoff enter your mind.  This movie is a masterpiece.

The movie is shot in black and white, like many of the classic westerns, and subtitled.  The subtitles won’t get in the way of understanding the movie.  The movie is so well done in black and white, it would probably be a lesser movie if in color.  The story and human motivations are timeless and universal.  

As you watch this, you might think you’ve seen this movie before.   You probably have.  However this movie is not a copy of the one you’ve seen.  This movie is the original.  Clint Eastwood played this lone samurai in A Fistful Of Dollars (see Influence in this link).   If you think it just an accident that a film like this would be copied as an American western, think again.  Director Akira Kurosawa’s earlier movie masterpiece, Seven Samurai, was the basis for the movie, The Magnificent Seven.

Yojimbo is first-rate, therefore gets a one numb butt rating.  You won’t get up to go to the bathroom while this movie is playing.  Rent it, buy it or stream it through Netflix.  This is a movie worth seeing.

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One Response to “Yojimbo (1961) – Movie Review”

  1. Stu Says:

    “Westerns don’t get any better than this Eastern.”

    Damn straight. This is the Kurosawa I recommend to newbies. What is your favorite Samurai film?

    Like

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