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Director: Akira Kurasawa
1961 / 110min / 35mm

Inspired by Red Harvest, Dashiell Hammett’s classic of American hard-boiled crime fiction, and itself the inspiration for Sergio Leone’s A Fistful of Dollars, Kurosawa’s thrilling, jauntily pessimistic chambara is a beautiful example of the creative vitality that comes of cross-cultural exchange, with Toshiro Mifune starring as a shambling ronin who plays two clans competing for control of a crime-ridden town against one another to ensure the mutual destruction of both. “The first great shaggy-man movie… a glorious comedy-satire of force: the story of a bodyguard who kills the bodies he’s hired to guard.”—Pauline Kael, The New Yorker

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