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Must Watch: The Seven Samurai

The Seven Samurai - film still

The Seven Samurai, in our minds, is pretty much the Japanese equivalent to Gone with the Wind. Admittedly, there’s a little more head-chopping and a lot less romance but it is an absolute classic that should be on everyone’s ‘must-watch’ list.

The Seven Samurai is a 1954 Japanese Adventure Film directed by Akira Kurosawa who was the first to use the now-common plot of recruiting and gathering heroes to achieve a specific goal.

It tells the story of a village of farmers who, when faced with the future return of bandits who will pillage their crops, set about recruiting seven masterless samurai. Within this, there’s a more touching story about self-realisation and the bonds of friendship, however unusual or unlikely. Each character is wildly different with varying degrees of skills, and as a viewer, its hard not to have your favourites.

Seven Samurai Characters in a nutshell:
Kambei Shimada: the reluctant hero, leader and the brains behind the fighting strategy. The kind of person you would want in an emergency; cool, calm and collected.
Kikuchiyo (played by Toshirô Mifune, one of the most famous Japanese actors): Not the kind of person you would want around in an emergency: headstrong, reckless, tempestuous and stubborn. He isn’t really a samurai but desperately wants to be one and is ashamed of his farming background.
Katsushirō Okamoto: the youngest member of the team. Having run away from his wealthy family, he’s keen to prove himself as a man. He’s also the only one to have a bit of romance. Naughty.
Gorōbei Katayama: his specialist skill is archery. He’s also Shimada’s second in command.
Shichirōji: Shimada’s loyal friend from the past.
Heihachi Hayashida: if he had had a career advisor, he wouldn’t have been encouraged to be a samurai. His skills are in making people laugh and keeping up the cheer, rather than in fighting.
Kyūzō: this long-haired guy is ruthless and seemingly emotionless. He initially declines but changes his mind and good thing too. With his sword skills and unassuming nature, you want him on your team.

Watch the Trailer here:

Top Tip: Have snacks and refreshments at the ready. At two and a half hours long, you’ll get hungry.
How can I watch it? Order The Seven Samurai online at Amazon (£10) or Play (£8.88)

Word on the Street
There are rumours that director, Scott Mann, has a 2014 remake of The Seven Samurai in his scopes, with screenwriter, John Fusco. Filming has supposedly started (there was a release date initially of 2011) and actress Zhang Ziyi said to be lined up for a part.