Poor and hungry villagers hire a band of seven masterless, disbanded Samurai to defend their village from a horde of bandits.
The story is simple enough but the direction makes this movie a classic. It borders on a statement about Japanese society; its ills, the misguided direction it is heading into, the decline of the samurai but still the faint glimour of resurrection. The movie combines various themes- the plight of farmers in Japan, the fall and disillusion of the Samurai, Love and Sacrifice. Even though the setting is Japanese ; the message in the movie is universal.
The movie gives us a glimpse into the life of a Samurai, a realistic view; not the hero-worship seen in other movies. The struggle of a Samurai to maintain his honour despite being homeless, masterless and steady slide towards decline. It shows a young samurai falling in love and suffering, an old samurai tired from the experiences of war, a master trying his best to preserve his dying art and a farmer trying to rise to the level of the samurai, not to mention the troubles and tribulations of the farmer.
The actors carry their role well. So many characters, with individual personalities blend together beautifully. The heart broken young man and the young and eccentric farmer/samurai are two of my favourites. Actually if i were to pick my favourite Samurai would be Kikuchiyo(the guy in the pic below) – funny, mercurial , temperamental, wanting to be a samurai but still one with the farmers. Also he is completely crazy. It’s just pure joy to watch him on screen.
A special mention must be made of the ending. The still alive samurai says – “The bandits are killed. The village belongs to the farmers, it is their victory. Once again we have lost”. More than any other this particular scene of the movie sums up the sadness in a Samurai’s heart, his constant searching for a place he can call home, his heart aching for love not forthcoming.
Absolutely brilliant movie. A must watch. I’d rate it 8.5/10.
PS: Just a query- Can someone explain why the farmers have such strange hairstyles ?