Not Rated | | Adventure, Drama
A poor village under attack by bandits recruits seven unemployed samurai to help them defend themselves.
Early in the writing process, six of the samurai were conceptualized, all loosely based on historic figures. For example, Kyuzo was based on Miyamoto Musashi, one of the most famous samurai who ever lived. Originally Toshirô Mifune was meant to play Kyuzo, the extremely stoic master swordsman. However, Akira Kurosawa and his collaborating writers decided that they needed a character they could more identity with who wasn't a fully-fledged samurai, so Kikuchiyo was created. Since Kikuchiyo didn't have a historic basis, Mifune was allowed to do an unprecedented (for a Kurosawa film) amount of improvisation in the part.
We'll take this place next.
Bandit Chief: We took it last autumn. They haven't got anything worth taking yet. Let's wait.
In the closing moments of the final battle, the bandits fire two musket shots only seconds apart. It is clear from the plot that at that point they possess only one musket. The black powder muskets of the age required much more time to reload. This error was pointed out in the commentary of the deluxe DVD edition.
The British version of the DVD was released by the BFI rather than Criterion and is the 190 minute version.
$21,830 (USA) (1 September 2002)
$269,061 (USA) (31 August 2003)