The cantina scene in Star Wars
from a scene in Yojimbo
in which the ronin Sanjuro
confronts members of one of the gangs. Take a look at the following scene from Yojimbo
, as described by Donald Richie
in the 1965 edition of The Films of Akira Kurosawa
Mifune: What sweet faces.
Mifune: When you’re angry, you look even nicer.
Man: Look here. See this tattoo? I wasn’t in prison for nothing.
Another: The law’s after me. I’ll hang if they catch me.
Another: Me too, me too! They’ll cut off my head!
Another: There’s nothing bad I haven’t done.
Mifune: No objections to fighting then?
Man: You just try and kill me!
Mifune: It’ll hurt a little.
Man: Bad men like us can’t be cowards.
Mifune: (Sighing.) Then it cannot be helped.
Snick-snack, -the sword is out, an arm lies on the ground, one of the men lies doubled, cleft from chin to groin, and Mifune is with quiet dignity replacing his sword in its sheath.
Now compare it with this scene from George Lucas’s script for Star Wars
HUMAN: He doesn't like you.
LUKE: I'm sorry.
HUMAN: I don't like you either
HUMAN: (continued) Don't insult us. You just watch yourself. We're
wanted men. I have the death sentence in twelve systems.
LUKE: I'll be careful then.
HUMAN: You'll be dead.
BEN: This little one isn't worth the effort. Come let me buy you
A powerful blow from the unpleasant creature sends the
young would-be Jedi sailing across the room, crashing through
tables and breaking a large jug filled with a foul-looking
liquid. With a blood curdling shriek, the monster draws a
wicked chrome laser pistol from his belt and levels it at old
Ben. The bartender panics.
BARTENDER: No blasters! No blaster!
With astounding agility old Ben's laser sword sparks to
life and in a flash an arm lies on the floor. The rodent is
cut in two and the giant multiple-eyed creature lies doubled,
cut from chin to groin. Ben carefully and precisely turns off
his laser sword and replaces it on his utility belt...
Notice the similarity between the wording of Lucas’s description of the aftermath
of the cantina scuffle and Richie’s description of the scene in Yojimbo
. The first edition of Richie’s book came out in 1965, and perhaps Lucas read it in a film class. This is, of course, not the only similarity between Star Wars
and Kurosawa’s films, but after hearing so much about the similarities to Three Bad Men in a Hidden Fortress
, I thought I’d point this one out in case some fans have overlooked it. Lucas himself has credited Kurosawa as one of his major influence
s, so this shouldn’t come as much of a surprise