"Seven Samurai" is a 1954 epic film with few dull moments in its three hours. It follows a small village that throughout the years has been raided and now is struggling to stand up to the bandits with the help of seven samurai recruited from a nearby village. The film shows both the hardships of recruiting the samurai and the stand they make to defend the town.
Though the movie begins slowly, it quickly becomes interesting, as an emissary from the town goes to recruit samurai. Akira Kurosawa shows excellent character development in the sequences in the town and introduces a great range of personalities. The samurai bicker and provide drama and even comedy.
As all this takes place, the viewer becomes more and more absorbed by the film's excellent acting and cinematography, which, when combined with the excellent locales, make it seem like the cast went back in time to feudal Japan. The duel scene in the city is a particularly good example of how the intensity of fight scenes match the setting so well and add to the overall effect of the film.
By the time the samurai return to the city, the movie has set an amazing stage for the events to come. Dissension creeps in among the townsfolk and the samurai as they begin to wonder if this is all such a good idea. Here the acting and the dialogue really shine, despite the subtitles, as several romantic and dramatic subplots develop. The tension rises as the quarrels increase, and by the time the bandits approach, the movie has an astounding grip on viewers.
The battle scene is intense and epic, starting small and growing. The sequence has a feel that is clearly adopted by later Western films.
The final day of the battle provides a very exciting and fitting climax to the movie. Fought in pouring rain with mud everywhere, it is totally gripping and amazingly filmed with unexpected twists and turns and outstanding cinematography. It all comes together for one of the greatest battle scenes of all time.
"Seven Samurai" is an incredible film that I recommend not only to fans of action films but fans of great films in general. It has drama, action, comedy and romance, making it one of the greatest films of all time. .
This piece has been published in Teen Ink’s monthly print magazine.