Synopsis: When a powerful warlord in medieval Japan dies, a poor thief recruited to impersonate him finds difficulty living up to his role and clashes with the spirit of the warlord during turbulent times in the kingdom.
Genre: Drama, History, War
Director(s): Akira Kurosawa
Production: Kurosawa Production Co.
  Nominated for 2 Oscars. Another 20 wins & 3 nominations.
Rotten Tomatoes:
162 min




I feel like I'm seeing double.

I have impersonated you

for a long time,

but he is a miracle.

Where did you find him?

At the execution grounds.

The execution grounds?

He was going to be crucified.

I thought he would be useful

as a double for you.

What did he do?

He was caught stealing.

He's a thief.

A thief?

And a tough one.

Torture failed to make him talk.

Besides stealing,

he may have also killed.

What did the prosecutors say

about his resemblance to me?


Only I, your brother,

could see it from the start.

His hair, his clothes, the way he talked

were all so different.

No one had the slightest idea

of his resemblance to our lord.

Even I, who recognized

the resemblance,

am doubly amazed at the likeness

once we dressed him like you.

Where is he from?

As you see,

he is very much like you.

I wondered if our father

might have had another son somewhere.

But do not fear.

He is a drifter from the north.

He could not be our half brother.

Even with this resemblance,


he is so wicked as to be

sentenced to crucifixion.

How could this scoundrel

be my double?


I only stole a few coins.

I'm a petty thief.

A man who's killed hundreds

and robbed whole domains

is hardly the one...

is hardly the one...

to call...

to call me a scoundrel.

Hold your tongue!

I was going to be crucified.

My life could have ended this very day!


Threats don't mean a fart to me!

Boil me, broil me, for all I care!

Very well.

Whatever you wish to say, say it.

If you will not say it, I will.

I am wicked, as you say.

I am a scoundrel.

I banished my own father

and killed my own son.

I will do anything

to rule this country.

War is everywhere.

Unless somebody unifies

the nation and reigns over us,

we will see more rivers of blood

and more mountains of the dead.

It is cold.

My old wound hurts

when the air is cold.

Nobukado, he has spoken boldly.

He might be of some use.

Train him.




we've cut off the water

entering the castle.

The castle is now sure to fall.

I would like to think so.

We thought a little push would do it,

but they've held out for 20 days.

They're not likely to surrender

just because their water line is cut.


We breach their outer

and inner perimeters,

and they calmly hole up in the keep.

Someone plays the flute every night.

And he plays well.

Our men are impressed.

They can't wait for night to come.

That's right.


We must let my father know

we've cut the aqueduct.

Your father Lord Shingen

is right here.

Except for us chief vassals,

not only the enemy, but our own men

believe the lord is here.

It would not do

to send messengers to him.

Sire, Masakage Yamagata is here.

Send him in.

Leave us alone.

My lord,

I trust you are in good spirits.


Asakura sent me a message.

He is returning to his fief.

His men are weary

and it is midwinter.

Nobunaga's men are tired, too.

If Asakura retreats,

Nobunaga will reinforce

leyasu Tokugawa and block my way.

Asakura's retreat is treason against me.

How old are you, sire?

Fifty-three, as I remember.

- Why?

Yet you still behave

like a five-year-old child!

People gather and scatter.

They go left and right,

following their interests.

You know that very well,

yet you lose yourself in anger.

How I weep for you!

A man of such small mind

cannot dream of ruling.

Go back to your own domain.

You are a mountain monkey.

You should be gathering nuts

in the mountains of Kai!

That's enough.

What has brought you here?

We've cut the aqueduct.

Will the castle fall soon?

I wonder.

There will be rain and snow.

Then the castle may stand

a little longer.

The garrison leader is a fine warrior.

He has someone

play a flute at night.

I've heard about that flute.

Will the flute play again tonight,

even with their water cut?

If we hear him tonight,

the garrison will hold.

The castle will not fall.

But if we do not hear the flute,

the castle is doomed.

Its fall is near.

I want to hear for myself

if the flute is played tonight.

Prepare a seat for me

at the castle.

- What was that?

- What happened?

What? Lord Shingen was shot?

A sniper shot him.

He was badly wounded.

- We don't know if he still lives?

- Correct, sire.

Either way, it is a perfect opportunity

for our Tokugawa clan.


Even if he did beat me

at the battle of Mikata,

I am no coward.

His death does not please me.

As a warlord,

he has been unrivaled.

He is just over 50.

If he is really dead,

it is a great loss.

My lord.

With Asai and Asakura in Otani,

the shogun in Kyoto,

the Ikkou uprising in Ishiyama,

and Shingen in Mikawa,

Lord Nobunaga

must wage battle on all four sides.

As his ally, it is only natural

that we rejoice

in Shingen's misfortune.

At any rate,

we should immediately send word

to Lord Nobunaga.

That should not be necessary.

News such as this

could not have escaped his ears.

In fact,

it would be unlike him

to miss a single move of Shingen's.

What? Shingen is dead?

According to our spy,

there is a rumor

that he was shot and killed.

Fool! I have no use for rumors.

I need facts.

Is he alive or is he dead?

Bring me my stool.

There is only one thing

in the world that can frighten me:

That mountain monkey.

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Masato Ide

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Submitted on August 05, 2018

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