DVD - 2005 | Japanese
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Reconstructing the splendor of feudal Japan and the pageantry of war, Kurosawa creates a soaring historical epic about a peasant impersonating a nobleman in battle. Kagemusha is presented in its original 180 min. uncut Japanese version, not the shortened "international version" presented by 20th Century Fox.
In 16th century feudal Japan, a thief is saved from execution to train as a double for one of the warlords, Shingen. Three warlords, Shingen, Nobunaga, and Ieyasu, battle for total power over Japan. When Shingen receives a mortal wound, the double must take his place to hold the Takeda clan together.
Publisher: [United States] : Criterion, [2005]
Edition: Special ed., widescreen
ISBN: 9781559409544
Branch Call Number: DVD 791.43 KAG NVD
Characteristics: 2 videodiscs (180 min.) : sd., col. ; 4 3/4 in. + 1 booklet (45 p. ; 19 cm.)
Alternative Title: Shadow warrior


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Nov 25, 2017

I had much difficulty watching this: it was tedious and boring, though I started to get more interested a little past the half-way mark; I really had to push myself to complete watching it. The most interesting parts were the noh play (which I found utterly incomprehensible) and some aspects of the portrayal of the military (I don't know how accurate the military reconstructions were because I am ignorant of Japanese sixteenth century warfare, but this film interested me enough to make a small note to learn more about it). There is a lot of sitting, kneeling, and squatting. The larger questions that the film tries to address (how important is a real ruler? or is he even necessary? what if others just believe that he is real? what if fake one were to take on the absolute commitment to ruling that the real ruler would?) have to be held in the mind by the viewer with more effort than with other films.

Nov 08, 2017

Another enjoyable work of Akiro Kurosawa.
Shows human nature in that leaders want to be considered greater than other leaders before them and this leads to the downfall of the whole clan - since they ignore the advice and work of their predecessors.
What is striking is the slow an and painful death of the horses at the end. One cannot help but see the cruelty of mankind to these great creatures who served humans so well in battle. Maybe this is Kurosawa's way of showing our inhumanity to others. The humans willingly obeyed their commander as the rode/marched to certain death, wave after wave. This is reminiscent of WW 1 - where similar situations happened in the killing fields of Europe.
The method of warfare evokes the changeover seen in The Last Samurai where European methods of warfare and weapons were introduced.
Is this where George Lucas got his idea for the helmet of Darth Vader? It looks so strikingly
It is slow at times, but worth watching, since the message is timeless
Seelochan Beharry
Author: The Prehistories of Baseball.

Mar 14, 2017

Possibly the most boring movie I've ever seen. I fell asleep three times in the first 90 minutes and that's only half the length of the entire film. Needless to say, I did not finish it.

Jul 02, 2016

HD version of the 1980 masterpiece that was as good as another 16th century samurai period epic Kurosawa film: "Ran, 1985." A feast for the senses on the extraordinary cinematography, costumes, and mesmerizing tale. The Korean version "Masquerade the king of façade, 2013" was quite good as well. (Compare the difference in visual quality by watching the original analog trailers in extras.)

Apr 26, 2016

This is a 1980 historical drama directed by Akira Kurosawa.
Set in the 16th-century Sengoku period (戦国時代) of Japanese history, the film shows the story of a lower-class criminal who is taught to impersonate a dying daimyo (武田信玄) in order to dissuade opposing lords (織田信長 と 徳川家康) from attacking the vulnerable clan.
It ends with the climactic 1575 Battle of Nagashino (長篠の戦).
Nakadai (仲代達矢) plays both the kagemusha (影武者) and the lord (武田信玄) whom he impersonated.
George Lucas and Francis Ford Coppola are credited at the end of the film as executive producers in the international version.
The original producers, Toho Studios, could not afford to complete the film.
So both men convinced 20th Century Fox to make up a shortfall in the film's budget.
In return, 20th Century Fox received the international distribution rights to the film.
Kurosawa wrote a part in Kagemusha for his longtime regular actor Takashi Shimura (志村喬), and Kagemusha was the last Kurosawa film in which Shimura appeared.
However, the scene in which he plays a servant who accompanies a western doctor to a meeting with Shingen was cut from the foreign release of the film.
This Criterion Collection DVD release of the film restored this scene as well as approximately another eighteen minutes in the film.
Kurosawa used 5000 extras for the final battle sequence, filming for a whole day, then he cut it down to 90 seconds in the final release.
In any case, it is one of the magnificent battle scenes Japanese directors have ever created.

kevfarley Dec 09, 2013

Well worth a revisit,..both on its own considerable merits, and to see the extras... especially Lucas, Francis ford Coppola, and Kurosawa's wonderful watercolor storyboards !!

btmslt Sep 27, 2012

A bit slow but somewhat entertaining film.

Theodora3 Jan 26, 2012

One of the titans of world cinema and his greatest work.

Feb 27, 2011



Add a Quote
Jul 02, 2016

Some quotes in IMDb as:

Takemaru: Why are you called a mountain, grandfather?
Kagemusha: [Unaware of the legend behind Shingen's nickname] "Mountain"?
Takemaru: Everybody calls you that. Where is the mountain? Is it because we have this mountain in our garden?
Sohachiro Tsuchiya: You know the master's banner. What is printed there?
Takemaru: Swift as the wind... Quiet as a forest... Fierce as fire... Immovable as a mountain.
Sohachiro Tsuchiya: The lord is that mountain. Both in battle and at home, he is steadfast, like a mountain. When his army advances, first the horsemen attack, swift as the wind. Second, the lancers raise a forest of spears, advancing with silent resolve. Third, more horsemen engulf the enemy ranks, as mercilessly as fire. And the lord is always behind them, watching over them, immovable as a mountain. That is why our army, from general to foot soldier, can fight so resolutely... Immovable as a mountain. The lord is that mountain. So we call him "the mountain."

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