This is one of a series of notes for A Chronological Biography of Akira Kurosawa
A small Japanese farming village has for been pillaged by a group of 40 bandits for some time. The village patriarch decides that they need the assistance of some samurai. Four men of the village are sent out on a search and come across Kambei (played by Takashi Shimura) who saves a child that has been taken hostage by a thief (a scene that sets up his character perfectly, a noble and competent samurai). Despite the fact that he is down on his luck (he is a ronin, a samurai without a master), the villagers immediately recognize him for the great man that he is, and they beg him to help them. Kambei eventually agrees, struck by their desperation, and he sets out to find another six samurai, as he realizes that the job of defending the village will take seven. Still, the task of finding six other samurai is difficult, considering that their only reward will be three square meals a day. Kambei manages to find five samurai who are willing to work for honour alone, each with very different personalities. A sixth, Kikuchiyo (played by Toshiro Mifune) volunteers because of his fascination with Kambei, but Kikuchiyo (who is not even a real samurai) fails the entrance test. Nonetheless, Kikuchiyo's fierceness, determination, odd charm, and intimate understanding of the farmers proves indespensible, and he is eventually accepted into the group as the seventh samurai. The other samurai are Gorobei (played by Yoshio Inaba), the amazing Kyuzo (played by Seiji Miyaguchi), Heihachi (played by Minoru Chiaki), Shichiroji (played by Daisuke Kato), and the inexperienced Katsushiro (played by Ko Kimura). The seven samurai, under Kambei's leadership, train the farmers and prepare the village for battle. When the bandits arrive, unsuspecting of the seven samurai and their preparations, the battle begins.
Very funny, very stirring, and the sword choreography is well done but not as authentic (unlikely but possible) as in Yojimbo.
Title: The Seven Samurai
Original Title in Japanese: Shichinin no Samurai
Running Time: 207 min
Writers: Akira Kurosawa, Shinobu Hashimoto, Hideo Koguni
Director of Photography: Choichi Nakai
Production Designer: Takashi Matsuyama
Music: Fumio Hayasaka
Assistant Director: Hiromichi Horikawa, Katsuya Shimizu, Sakae Hirosawa
Takashi Shimura (Kanbei), Toshiro Mifune (Kikuchiyo), Isao Kimura (Katsushiro), Kamatari Fujiwara (Manzo), Minoru Chiaki (Heihachi), Daisuke Kato (Shichiroji), Seiji Yiyaguchi (Kyuzo), Yoshio Inaba (Gorobei), Keiko Tsushima (Shino), Bokuzen Hidari (Yohei)