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Seven Samurai
Year:
1954
Country:
Japan
Genre:
Drama, Action, Adventure
IMDB rating:
8.7
Director:
Akira Kurosawa
Takashi Shimura as Kambei Shimada
Toshirô Mifune as Kikuchiyo
Yoshio Inaba as Gorobei Katayama
Minoru Chiaki as Heihachi Hayashida
Daisuke Katô as Shichiroji
Isao Kimura as Katsushiro Okamoto
Yukiko Shimazaki as Rikichi's Wife
Kamatari Fujiwara as Manzo, father of Shino
Yoshio Kosugi as Mosuke
Yoshio Tsuchiya as Rikichi
Kokuten Kodo as Gisaku, the Old Man
Storyline: A poor village under attack by bandits recruits seven unemployed samurai to help them defend themselves.
Type Resolution File Size Codec Bitrate Format
720p 960x704 px 7680 Mb h264 4829 Kbps mkv Download
Reviews
A veteran samurai, who has fallen on hard times, answers a village's.
A veteran samurai, who has fallen on hard times, answers a village's request for protection from bandits. He gathers 6 other samurai to help him, and they teach the townspeople how to defend themselves, and they supply the samurai with three small meals a day. The film culminates in a giant battle when 40 bandits attack the village.

A veteran samurai, who has fallen on hard times, answers a village's request for protection from bandits. He gathers 6 other samurai to help him, and they teach the townspeople how to defend themselves, and they supply the samurai with three small meals a day. The film culminates in a giant battle when 40 bandits attack the village
2017-05-14
One of my favourite films of all time
The only other Akira Kurosawa film I had seen before this was Rashomon, which I watched for the first time last week. After hearing much about The Seven Samurai, I also decided to watch this film today for the first time.

The first thing I noticed when I started watching the film is the incredibly long length: 3 hours and 27 minutes. I must admit that I initially wasn't terribly excited at the prospect of sitting through a single film for such a long period of time. Nevertheless, by the time the first half-hour of the film had passed, I found myself hooked.

I'm not really sure where to begin, but I guess Kurosawa's superb direction might be a good place to start. Like Rashomon, the direction for The Seven Samurai was well ahead of its time. In terms of cinematography, he made effective use of some of the techniques he had previously pioneered in Rashomon, one of his most influential examples being the way in which he points the camera up towards the sun, with the sunlight glaring onto the screen. I found these shots impressive in Rashomon and am equally impressed by them here in The Seven Samurai.

The story itself was also well ahead of its time. The now-common plot element of recruiting and gathering a ragtag group of protagonists for a specific goal began with this film and went on to inspire many later films, though none of them were able to surpass the original. I had already seen some of those inspired films beforehand, but what sets The Seven Samurai apart is its greater sense of realism, something which later inspired films seem to be lacking. The realistic aspect of the film truly shines during the battle sequences in the last hour of the film. They are possibly the most realistic and yet exciting battle scenes I have ever seen on film. There wasn't much melodrama either and most of the film barely has a background score to it (some scenes did have it but I found the music largely forgettable), and yet the film was powerful and incredibly moving, especially the ending.

As for the acting, Toshiro Mifune was again impressive just like he was in Rashomon. While I thought his acting was slightly more versatile in Rashomon, his performance as 'Kikuchiyo' in The Seven Samurai was much more moving and really made me care for his character. Some of the other leading actors in Rashomon also returned in The Seven Samurai, such as Minoru Chiaki and Takashi Shimura, who gave a very impressive performance as the group leader Kambei. Other memorable performances in the film came from Seiji Miyaguchi and Isao Kimura. The only issue with the cast is the obvious lack of female characters, with the only notable one being Shino, who was portrayed reasonably well by Keiko Tsushima.

Overall, Kurosawa has shown a lot of improvement with this film, as I found The Seven Samurai to be a superior film to Rashomon in nearly every way. In fact, The Seven Samurai is now one of my favourite films of all time, second only to Satyajit Ray's 'The Apu Trilogy' (1955-1959), which also happen to be from the 1950s. In my opinion, it was quite possibly the greatest decade for films, with 'The Apu Trilogy' and 'The Seven Samurai' being the finest examples from that era.

10/10
2009-03-29
Not just an action movie: an elaborate composition
"Seven Samourai" has become a reference in action genre, but is much more: a finely crafted, multi-level masterpiece. Because there have already been many analyses on different aspects of this movie, the following review will focus on just one of them: how apparently simple features are actually very elaborate.

*** WARNING: CONTAINS SPOILERS ***

THEATRICAL ACTING

The exaggerated play of some actors can be disconcerting. We know upfront how characters feel: emotions precede action, not the opposite. Kurosawa pays tribute to Japanese traditional theatre (kabuki), where acting and makeup can be very expressive.

To put this expressiveness into perspective, Kurosawa frequently introduces representations, where a crowd watches an important event, precisely as in a theatre: Kambei kills the child kidnapper, Kyuzo defeats a samurai in duel, Kikuchiyo mounts a horse, women see the final battle from inside, etc. And of course, farmers and samurais watch the bandits, who watch them.

Additionally, characters constantly gaze at each other: it seems one is playing a role, looking at others playing theirs and checking how others look how one is playing it. Kambei and Kikuchiyo intensely stare at each other the first time they meet, Katsushiro looks at everybody, three samurais watch the bandits inside their lair, Kikuchiyo gawks at women, Kyuzo sees the two lovers under the rain, etc.

VARIED CHARACTERS

If there is a central character, it is the crazy Kikuchiyo. On the surface, he appears to be a simple comic relief. However he represents the link between the three opposed environments: he is at the same time a samurai and a former farmer, and we feel he could have turned into a bandit under different circumstances. Also, he performs key actions: he drives the farmers out of their homes by ringing the alarm, discovers the hidden samurai armoury, makes a convincing speech on farmers and samurais, plants the sword on top of Heihachi's grave (a figure that will be repeated, and that composes the last frame of the movie), steals a musket, defeats the bandit chief who uses a musket and thus could have killed other samurais.

Hence Kikuchiyo is more complex than he originally seems. The scene when he hugs the abandoned baby and admits he lived the same fate, is gripping. Kikuchiyo embodies instinct and as such is opposed to Kambei, the mind (a frequent theme in Kurosawa's films).

Characters are archetypal: samurais each have a distinct feature, farmers are immediately recognisable. In contrast, bandits are an anonymous, irresistible force: Kurosawa was inspired by Westerns of the period. Interestingly, his film in turn influenced numerous Westerns and other movies (see its Connections section on IMDb).

INDIVIDUAL & COLLECTIVE HISTORY

"Seven Samurai" depicts medieval Japan, with its harsh conditions, social classes and their contrasting codes: samurais, farmers, city dwellers, bandits. As said, everybody fulfills their roles. Conflicts between these classes abound, but also within each: samurais (Kikuchiyo versus Kambei), farmers (many arguments), bandits (two deserters get shot).

We feel this world is changing. The grand samurai tradition, notably, is fading. All samurais except Kikuchiyo are based on historical persons. They always show high moral standards, challenged by the bandits and the farmers (cowardice, treachery). When the samurais want to spare the prisoner according to their ethics, the old woman and the village chief (experience and wisdom) override their decision. Samurais have a strong fighting etiquette, of which sabre is the emblem. Revealingly, all four samurais are killed not by a traditional weapon, but by a gunshot: technology is changing the spirit of warfare. In a stupefying yet logical move, Kyuzo, the perfect professional, throws his sabre angrily just before dying.

Eventually "The farmers have won, not us", Kambei bitterly admits. Honour, courage and solidarity had their purpose, now is time for production, abundance and life. Farmers sing when they plant the rice; it is sunny as it previously was when they harvested it: they represent future and hope.

TAILORED STYLE

Kurosawa remarkably adapts style to the action. Just two examples.

1. The love story between Katsushiro and Shino unfolds progressively to offset tension and provides ravishing scenes: with limited length and dialogues, Kurosawa beautifies their feelings.

The first scene is a jewel. It starts as a bright dream where almost all senses are fulfilled: Katsushiro sees white flowers and moving leaves (subjective shot), hears the flowing stream, smells the flowers, feels them under his back. Desire (Shino) barges into Katsushiro's juvenile environment: he will then become a man. In the following chase, they go down a dark hill: an opposition emerges between the delightful flowers and music (pure emotions) versus the dark, low, entangled branches (lust, social taboo).

They meet again amid the flowers, then under the rain, and finally at night among fires: while their first meetings were under the sign of water (stream, rain), the night they make love is under the sign of fire (superb shots of flame reflections over their bodies). All these scenes are gems sprinkled in the movie.

2. The final climatic battle is a tour de force, ground-breaking for the period and never equalled since. It is raining hard. Fighters move heavily, fall, crawl, make pathetic movements to save their lives. They are drenched, frightened, exhausted, covered with mud. Bandits make a disgusting sound when they die. Editing is convulsive, images are confusing: we have trouble understanding what is happening, just as the fighters themselves. It is total chaos. This realism is very far from the heroic fights of Curtiz or the choreographed ultra-violence of Peckinpah and Tarantino. There is no better demonstration that war is dreadful.

Last, the score admirably illustrates the story. Each character type has a musical theme: samurais, farmers, women, elderly, bandits. An idea that has since been been used in various films.

The movie lasts for 3h30 but at no moment feels long. Action, epic, emotions, values, harshness, humour, beauty: it has it all.
2016-10-06
One of the best films ever dedicated to cinema
"Seven Samurai" is an immortal gem in cinema history which sets the standards of masterful filmmaking. It features stupendous performances, specially from Toshiru Mifune. It holds you like a magnet from the first frame to the last. I have never seen such a well-crafted movie with exemplary direction. Kurosawa was a cinematic titan who also made many masterpieces like Yojimbo, Ran, Red Beard, Throne of Blood, High and Low and much more. His work is unparalleled for he infused so much finesse and craftsmanship in his films that they inspire me every time I watch them.

Very few directors can match his ability and is still counted among legends such as Ozu, Hitchcock, Fellini, Antonioni, Ford, Welles etc.

He will always be an inspiration for aspiring directors who want to make quality cinema and not the trash-can, garbage films of today.
2013-11-18
Brilliant composition plus brilliant acting = brilliant flawless movie!
It is hard to know exactly where to begin when talking about a film of such utter quality. What must be said at the start is that "The Seven Samurai" is flawless. It's characters are brought to life by some of the finest and most committed acting I have ever seen. It is a compelling story of courage, duty, honor, respect and change.

I could echo Roger Ebert's commentary, in which he noted that Kurosawa's film set the standard for the modern action film. It was he notes the first film to assemble a team of hardened men to undertake a mission. But I say read Eberts review if you want to get his take.

I have watched the film several times and what is truly amazing about "The Seven Samurai" is the way in which Kurosawa choses to tell his tale, which is, I think, truly innovative and subtle.

Growing up on action fare as we have "Seven Samurai" should really hold no magic for us. We have the formula (in many forms) before. Countless times. However it is not old to us and magic it carries. I make the case (now anyway) that this comes largely from Kurosawa's knack, his amazing gift, for photographic composition. Most filmmakers today in the action genre have some flare for flashy cinematography. We get sharp angles, dramatic poses (most favorably lighted), and fast cuts. I guess this is to involve us in the high emotion of the situation. But Kurosawa has patience and while I think he gave the blocking of his shots, and their composition a great deal of thought, it comes across as if he did not. His camera moves as though it were simply following the characters through the story. The camera work in "Seven" is so much more subtle and so much more compelling than almost any action fare today. His camera allows, we the viewer, to be, at various times, all of the major characters in the film.

Toshiro Mifune's emotional explosion at his "fellow" Samurai is probably the most obvious example of this. He gets up and at first appears to agree with the Samurai sentiment that killing all of the villagers is a good idea, but when he turns and his anger is directed at them the scene and our place in it change. We are no longer passive viewers watching heated exchange between two factions. The angry Toshiro is yelling at us, looking down at us. For we are looking up at him as his fellow samurai would see him. By the end of his out burst he angrily leaves the room but before he goes he turns slightly to look at us, but we don't see his face, for now we are looking (in one of the great shots of the film) at his feet. The Samurai are ashamed and so are we because we identified with them at first and Kurosawa had the guts to show us that we are wrong to do so.

I could go on, and on about his film, but I leave you with this, watch it.
2001-08-31
Kurosawa is the greatest director that ever lived
Akira Kurosawa's masterpiece... The Japanese equivalent to Orson Welles' Citizen Kane.. I say it's just as good, if not even better. Not only Kurosawa's most well known film, but the most widely recognized Japanese film ever made. This movie will forever be known as a milestone in motion picture history.

The story revolves around a village that has become a group of bandits' common looting and pillaging ground. The villagers cannot take this any longer and go to town to hire warriors to defend the village from the bandits. A wandering ronin, Kambei (Takashi Shimura) agrees to help them and with his help, they recruit six others that agree to take the job. The seven samurai teach the villagers how to stand up to the bandits and defend themselves. Finally, when the time comes, they engage in a fierce battle with the attacking bandits.

About once in every 20 years or so we are gifted with a film that has the meaning, power, richness, and technique that The Seven Samurai has. I cannot urge anyone enough to see this film, the images are true cinematic poetry rich with so much emotion that I cannot even describe them in words. If you have never seen any of Kurosawa's works, then please see Seven Samurai... you will witness the true beauty, excellence and magic that the art form known as film is capable of.
1998-12-26
A couple of hours.. or maybe days.. after I watched it, I fell in love with it.
There was absolutely no other reason for me to watch Seven Samurai, other than my plan of watching all movies currently in the top 250. I wasn't looking forward to it, I don't care for action movies, or Japanese movies, and the playtime of 200+ minutes.... Let's just say I put of watching this movie for a long, long time.. But then, with nothing else to do or to watch, it was time. And I won't lie to you, I have struggled through it. It was long, it was slow, it took me a while before I got what the story was about and some of the scenes didn't make sense to me. Still, I watched the full movie and I'm pretty sure I'm better for it. The best movies take effort to watch, and this one took a lot of effort. But I learned something from it, the story ended up grabbing me, not right away, but at the end. Some of the scenes were amazingly complex, at times it looked and felt like total chaos for minutes! It's a rich movie, with many stories to tell, I've never seen anything like it, that's probably one of the reasons why it was so hard to watch, but I understand now why it's in the top 250. It deserves to be! Watch it, wait for it.. and after it's gone, you will love it!
2015-01-14
Mud and Rain and Conflict
This film is undoubtedly Kurosawa's masterpiece (no mean feat when one considers the opposition such as "Throne of Blood", "Ran" and "Yojimbo"). The film's story, construction, credible and engaging characters, and that perfect ending are assets that most directors would give their eye teeth for but Kurosawa also proves himself the most economically effective director of action scenes who puts Hollywood directors like Spielberg firmly in his place: the climactic scene where he shows only horses hooves and human legs rushing hither and thither in the mud and torrential rain is most effective in conveying both the ferocity of the conflict and the panic of the villagers, and serves to prove that imagination and invention will always triumph over computer-generated images.
2000-04-07
Seven Samurai (5/5)
Synopsis: "Seven Samurai" is the story of seven samurais (duh) who are hired by poor farmers to protect their village from pillaging bandits. This is Akira Kurosawa's finest film and it is probably the first modern action flick ever made. The film begins quite slowly as we watch several farmers recruit samurai warriors to come to their aid. This takes up the first half of the three hour long movie, and at times it can become a bit boring. However, this phase of the film is absolutely necessary. It allows Kurosawa to introduce each of his beloved characters and flush them out in full detail.

As soon as the viewer starts to wonder where all the supposed "action" is, he is delighted to find that the last half of the feature is an extravagant battle between the forces of good (the samurais and villagers) and evil (the bandits). It is here that Kurosawa really shows his skill. He invents the "final climatic battle sequence" that we see in every action film made after this one. The battle is a rush, and because we know and love the characters we can truly appreciate the conflict; we worry about their well-being.

As one might have guessed, the heroes are successful and the small village survives the siege, but it is not without a heavy price: there are many who die. Of course, we only care for the heroes who die, not for the villains. We scarcely know these marauding bandits; they are simply nameless enemies. At first, one might see this as a weakness in the story. It appears to be a simplistic way of looking at the world: only the good guys are human and the evil folks are just mindless minions. However, I believe that this is an appropriate choice on Kurosawa's part. Although it is true that the people we often label as villainous or evil have a good side to them, this film's purpose is to focus solely on heroic individuals. This is Kurosawa's tribute to the selfless and perhaps reluctant hero.

"Seven Samurai" is a cinematic masterpiece. Kurosawa masterfully blends characters, story, camera techniques (every shot is carefully constructed and adequately done), and music to create one of the most influential films ever conceived. Kurosawa is a true master of his craft and this is his tour-de-force. "Seven Samurai" rightly deserves: 5 out of 5 stars.
2006-02-26
Haven't you seen it yet?
Well, if you haven't seen Seven Samurai then you're not really qualified to call yourself a film fan, basically. One of the most influential movies of all time, that still holds up extremely well nearly 50 years later. Akira Kurosawa's epic tale of heroism and barbarism set the standard in so many ways it's hard to imagine that any modern film does not show its influence in some way or other. A great script, great characters, mostly great acting, splendid cinematography and action sequences that wrote the book about how these things should be filmed. Even now, after so many have tried to imitate or beat it, Seven Samurai remains a totally gripping 3.5 hour experience. Akira Kurosawa is one of the gods of Cinema - men who seem to have been born to make films, who have it in their blood. People like Alfred Hitchcock, Stanley Kubrick, King Hu and Steven Spielberg, who make it look easy... who so obviously "get it". In this pantheon, Kurosawa is perhaps the daddy of them all, however, and Seven Samurai is one of his finest moments. The scale of the production is remarkable - to undertake making such an epic in post-war Japan was a feat in itself. The cast of dozens of inhabitants of a village specially built for the movie, the 40 bandits and their horses, all the costumes, the armour, the weapons. Few directors could have brought all of this together and still paid such attention to the smallest of details in script and scene. Credit must go to the team Kurosawa worked with too, I presume The movie's setup became the template for many movies to follow, the most recentl example that comes to mind being the excellent Korean period movie MUSA (The Warrior), for example. A motley band of characters is assembled and placed in a situation where the odds are seemingly stacked against them, and each gets there chance to really shine, prove themselves and become something more than a normal man. Kurosawa's Samurai movies all share a little bit in common, which is the depiction of the Samurai as some noble beast, different from the common and pathetic rabble of ordinary man. In Seven Samurai the farmers are a base lot, cowardly, selfish, vain, pathetic and treacherous. How he found actors with such miserable looking faces is a mystery in itself. In contrast, the Samurai embody all the qualities that humanity would generally like to believe define it (us). Brave, righteous, honest, strong and heroic. Toshiro Mifune's character stands in the middle and represents this difference - perhaps meant to suggest that mankind can strive to rise above his flaws, but mostly suggesting to me that the common man is basically a mess and we should learn to respect our betters. Kurosawa was definitely not a socialist, unless I'm mis-reading him wildly. I'm sure many out there wonder, does a 50 year old black and white movie about Samurai really have any interest or relevance to us in the 21st century? The answer is a definite "Yes!". Seven Samurai shows us what cinema can be, what cinema is *meant* to be. It is moving picture as art in a way that the multiplex-fillers of today cannot possibly claim to be. It's a film that satisfies on many different levels, and still provides a bench mark which today's film makers could and should use to evaluate their own contributions. True, few out there will ever be able to claim they've made a film that rivals Seven Samurai in scope or beauty, but this *is* what every director should aspire to! The sad thing is, I just can't see a project like this ever coming out of the Hollywood studio system, where art is just another commodity and marketing is the new god
2003-01-31
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