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January 05, 2009

Seven Samurai

412pxseven-samurai-poster Akira Kurosawa introduced Samurai to the Western world in 1954 with his epic Japanese 16th century period film about a group of Samurai hired by farmers to defend a peasant village overrun by bandits. “Seven Samurai” served as a template for such popular American westerns as “The Magnificent Seven,” “The Wild Bunch,” and “The Good, The Bad, And The Ugly.”

Toshiro Mifune is in top form as a rowdy Samurai exhibitionist still in command of the ideals and values of his quickly disappearing noble class. The original "assemble-the-team” movie (think “Reservoir Dogs”) operates on several social and historical levels that give it a timeless quality. Kurosawa's intention of making his first period film "entertaining enough to eat" is brought to that palpable condition through Mifune's endlessly watchable peasant warrior.

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