10 Reasons This Is The Best Samurai Movie Of All Time

By | November 12, 2022

Hara-kiri is a groundbreaking samurai movie, and one which stands as we speak as top-of-the-line movies of the Sixties. It facilities on a person named Tsugumo Hanshirō who visits a clan of samurai, stating that he needs to commit the act of harakiri (often known as seppuku) of their presence. Initially it’s unknown why, however as he explains his life story, it turns into clear why Hanshirō was pushed to despair, and it’s finally revealed that he has an ulterior motive for visiting the clan. .

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It is a gripping film that incorporates a darker and way more intense story about samurai than what you’d see in a typical historic drama about sword-wielding warriors. It is not fairly an motion film like different samurai films, however as an alternative builds rigidity and suspense by way of its story, with occasional bursts of brutal swordplay. by Harakiri a movie that’s now 60 years outdated, however has barely aged within the six a long time since its launch. Listed here are 10 causes it is endured as a basic (and important) Japanese movie.

The next listing contains spoilers for ‘Harakiri’ (1962).


Tatsuya Nakadai’s most important efficiency

Harakiri - Tatsuya Nakadai - 1962

The legendary Tatsuya Nakadai performs the protagonist of Hara-kiri with unparalleled depth. He’s an actor who has had a big profession and the sort that has by no means given a foul efficiency. He’s in all probability finest identified for enjoying distinguished roles in a number of movies directed by Akira Kurosawahimself one of the vital well-known characters within the historical past of Japanese cinema.

Though there are numerous nice performances given by Tatsuya Nakadai all through his profession, his position in Hara-kiri is arguably his finest. His character goes by way of loads and he completely conveys all of Hanshirō’s advanced feelings. He additionally efficiently performs the character at completely different ages (because of the movie’s flashbacks), and is an extremely compelling bodily presence within the movie’s motion scenes. It is a pitch-perfect efficiency that elevates an already nice film, and it is laborious to think about anybody else within the position.

Hanging black and white visuals

Harakiri - black and white - 1962

There have been loads of nice samurai films that used black and white visuals. Seven Samurai might be essentially the most well-known instance, being additionally one of the vital well-known samurai movies.

Hara-kiri makes glorious use of its contrasting black-and-white visuals, and that is a giant a part of why the film seems to be nearly as good because it does. It does an ideal job with the shadows, with the darkness of the imagery completely complementing the cruel, darkish, and determined storyline about revenge, violence, and honor (or lack thereof). In 1962, director Masaki Kobayashi technically might have filmed Hara-kiri in coloration, but it surely ended up benefiting the movie by maintaining it in black and white.

surprising violence

Harakiri - violence - 1962

Hara-kiri is a movie that has nothing to present a rattling concerning the brutality of the samurai and the violence of a few of their practices. Notably, the movie would not draw back from the grotesque act of harakiri, and the scenes that target this type of loss of life do not make a giant splash, remaining surprising and devastating to look at to today.

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Contemplating the movie desires to spotlight how violent life might be again in 1600s Japan, it is smart that the violence is surprising. It is not there to shock for shock’s sake, or to entertain: it is there to make some extent, and to be trustworthy concerning the apply of harakiri. Furthermore, it goals to precisely depict the bloodshed that full-scale fight involving samurai swords would result in within the movie’s fierce and memorable climax.

The way in which he deconstructs the parable of the samurai

Harakiri - fight - 1962

Despite the fact that Hara-kiri wasn’t the very first movie to criticize samurai or present them as something aside from heroic, it arguably goes additional – and will get extra punchy – than most gritty samurai movies. The apply of harakiri could have been seen as a noble loss of life, however the movie desires to make it very clear that it’s a brutal and grotesque technique to die.

Moreover, it’s proven that the samurai that Hanshirō desires revenge in opposition to have executed horrible issues to him and his household. Samurai could have been thought of noble of their time and in some twentieth century pop cultures, however Hara-kiri goals to point out how corrupt, ruthless and immoral they might be. Hara-kiri means that samurai weren’t saints, and doing it when different films have confirmed the samurai fantasy actually brings out its message.

The slow-burning thriller story

Harakiri - 1962 - tale

The central story of Hara-kiri takes its time to emerge. It is not instantly clear why Hanshirō desires to commit harakiri, and it isn’t close to the tip of the movie that audiences will notice that that is really a revenge story.

It is definitely not a movie noir, however the best way it unravels its advanced and really darkish narrative by way of a collection of flashbacks offers it a construction similar to this. Having the story unfold chronologically would not make it as engrossing or dramatic, and it is the buildup by way of the movie’s flashback-heavy construction and sense of thriller that makes its bloody climax all of the extra intense. .

The affect he had


It is secure to say that Hara-kiri helped redefine what a samurai film might be. It was extra intense, extra devastating and extra violent than its contemporaries, with its uncooked energy exhibiting filmmakers that samurai movies might do way more than be pure leisure or escapism.

His affect is most simply seen in a filmmaker like Takashi Miike. The prolific Japanese director even remade the movie as Hara-Kiri: Loss of life of a Samurai in 2011, and proved a grasp in darkish and bloody samurai movies, as seen within the wild and very tense movies 13 Assassins. With out Harakiri main the best way, there’s an opportunity the samurai style would not have ended up evolving the best way it did, beginning in 1962.

The explosive ultimate battle

Harakiri - 1962 - final battle

When the time comes for a confrontation in by Harakiri spotlight, the movie actually delivers. Hanshirō is proven going to determined lengths to do as a lot harm to the samurai clan as potential, when combating breaks out and the outcomes are heartbreaking.

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Different samurai movies earlier than 1962 could have proven gory element of their battles, however to not this extent. It is by no means so excessive to get cartoonish both. It is plausible, uncooked and wild, ending the movie on a surprising but plain observe, because it delivers one of the vital highly effective samurai combat scenes in cinematic historical past.

Low use of music


Hara-kiri is distinguished by the comparatively rare use of music. When the movie’s rating is heard, it’s by no means radical or intrusive. As a substitute, it is understated and eerily quiet, doing wonders to create the movie’s unease and sense of dread, proper as much as its explosive ending.

The result’s a film that does not have a distinctly memorable most important theme, however a film like Hara-kiri utilizing extra music would seemingly be a distraction from what viewers must give attention to. What issues is the story, the appearing, and the movie’s in the end cynical message concerning the immorality of the samurai class. The sparsely used music enhances these components of the movie completely, doing no extra (or much less) than crucial.

Its timelessness


There are issues that counsel Hara-kiri is an older film, in fact. The usage of black and white was extra widespread in movies made within the Sixties and earlier, in fact, and its intentionally gradual pacing places it at odds with many ultra-fast-paced movies which might be extra in style as of late. .

The artwork of cinema itself is de facto not dated Hara-kiri in any respect, nevertheless. Its violent scenes nonetheless have a huge effect, the tragic story has misplaced none of its energy, and nothing concerning the sport feels tacky or melodramatic in the best way it does in different outdated movies. In some ways, it is a timeless movie, one that permits viewers as we speak to be as shocked and moved as audiences would have been when it was launched.

The darkish and tragic ending

Harakiri - 1962 - end

Hanshirō reveals to the samurai that he’s visiting them for revenge, and when combating breaks out he kills a number of and wounds many extra. He finally dies himself, nevertheless, and given the clan’s affect and measurement, he’s quickly injured at finest, with many different members left to take over brought on by the losses of the ultimate battle.

Ultimately, the samurai clan lives on, whereas Hanshirō and his household are all useless. The samurai will get better from the harm Hanshirō brought about them and may proceed to take advantage of and hurt others, in the identical means that they irreparably destroyed Hanshirō’s household. It is a darkish, but practical and impactful ending that exhibits the dominance and virtually unstoppable energy of the samurai through the 1600s, whether or not people like Hanshirō determined to face in opposition to them or not.

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