Common Sense Media Says: OK for kids 13+

Famous epic with stylish violence and subtitles.


What Parents need to know

Parents need to know that the film features seven samurai who help a farming village defend itself against a gang of bandits. There are multiple skirmishes, and the villagers, samurai, and bandits suffer casualties. The violence is not particularly bloody but it's accentuated through fluid camera movements and slow motion cinematography. The samurai and villagers are shown to have character flaws, but ultimately, they all stand together in the face of the ruthless bandits - who are not really developed beyond their thieving impulses. Strong language is used -- in subtitles -- but sparingly so. The presence of subtitles may be a hindrance to some younger viewers.

Consumerism:Not applicable


Drinking, drugs, & smoking:Light drinking of sake.


Language:Infrequent subtitled strong language.


Positive messages:The samurai and villagers are shown to have character flaws, but ultimately, they all stand together in the face of the ruthless bandits - who are not really developed beyond their thieving impulses.


Sex:Not applicable


Violence:Sword and gun fighting.



What's the story?

In what many consider to be his masterpiece, director Akira Kurosawa presents a tale of displaced samurai that put aside class differences in order to defend a farming village that has been the unfortunate target of a wily gang of bandits. The film's three and a half hour length is more than justified by the intricate character development of both the samurai and the villagers, as both groups let go of class biases to accomplish their mutual goal of fortifying the village. By the climactic showdowns against the bandits, a palpable anxiety is present due to the great affinity the audience feels for the characters. Worthy of special note is Toshiro Mifune's performance as the intense samurai Kikuchiyo who has a past that he is trying to hide.

Is it any good?

The action sequences are fantastic and, for their time, very innovative. Sweeping camera movements and slow motion are used quite effectively to pull the viewer into the thick of the battles. Of course, the techniques have now become old hat for action films, but Kurosawa got it so right that even now the action seem especially kinetic and involving. This classic of the samurai film genre will appeal to teens and older who love action. Young viewers may find the human deaths disturbing, as many of the most sympathetic characters meet their demise while protecting the village. For those who can deal with the emotion of loss, this film offers substantial rewards.