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Seven Samurai (The Criterion Collection) [Blu-ray]

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Seven Samurai, Akira Kurosawa 1954

Seven Samurai is appropriate for just about anybody able to read, since the only way to watch it is with subtitles. It’s a fantastic film, and is, in fact, my favorite film that isn’t Star Wars or Indiana Jones. I took my ten-year-old son to see it at our local movie theater and he claimed to love every minute of it, but was grateful for the intermission.

Toshiro Mifune, the legendary actor and star of numerous Akira Kurosawa films including Seven Samurai, Yojimbo and Rashomon, turned down the roles of Obi Wan Kenobi and Darth Vader, worried that Star Wars was going to look cheap, according to his daughter Mika.

Seven Samurai, Akira Kurosawa 1954

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    Takashi Shimura (as Kambei) issues orders and directs archers, while Toshiro Mifune (as Kikuchiyo) leads swordfighters, as the Samurai and the villagers face the bandits in this portion of the climactic battle sequence from Akira Kurosawa's The Seven Samurai, 1954.

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Seven Samurai, Akira Kurosawa 1954

One of the most thrilling movie epics of all time, Seven Samurai (Shichinin no samurai) tells the story of a sixteenth-century village whose desperate inhabitants hire the eponymous warriors to protect them from invading bandits. This three-hour ride from Akira Kurosawa—featuring legendary actors Toshiro Mifune and Takashi Shimura—seamlessly weaves philosophy and entertainment, delicate human emotions and relentless action, into a rich, evocative, and unforgettable tale of courage and hope.

One of the questions he asked me when we first met is what movie I'd program at the Alamo Drafthouse if I had the opportunity. "SEVEN SAMURAI," I said with little hesitation. "Well, E.T. too, but SEVEN SAMURAI." In 2012, my E.T. screening happened with the Drafthouse's Summer of 1982 event, but I still kept pestering him for SEVEN SAMURAI. Finally, for the film's 60th anniversary this year, Robert told me that we would at last be screening Akira Kurosawa's undisputed masterpiece, and that I'd get to host it.