Akira Kurosawa's highly acclaimed film, set in feudal Japan, presents an intriguing tale of violent crime in the woods, told from the perspective of four different characters--a bandit (Toshirô Mifune), a woman (Machiko Kyô), her husband (Masayuki Mori), and a woodcutter (Takashi Shimura). Only two things about the incident seem to be clear--the woman was raped and her husband is now dead. However, the other elements radically differ as the four participants and/or witnesses relate their own stories (with the dead man, eerily enough, speaking through a medium). As each account is revealed, what seemed black and white turns to various hues of gray, leading to surprising--and confounding--relevations.
A landmark of international cinema, RASHOMON won the prestigious Golden Lion at the Venice Film Festival in 1951, bringing both Kurosawa--and Japanese film in general--to the attention of Western audiences. From the rain-soaked opening sequence to its moving conclusion, the film is a stunning examination of truth and human nature. The entire cast is pitch-perfect, with regular Kurosawa lead actors Mifune and Shimura giving typically outstanding performances. While critics and cinephiles debate over exactly how many masterpieces Kurosawa directed, RASHOMON stands as one of the revered filmmaker's indisputably brilliant motion pictures. In fact, the film's influence is so pervasive that it has inspired everything from a high profile Hollywood remake (THE OUTRAGE starring Paul Newman) to numerous tributes in movies such as COURAGE UNDER FIRE and THE USUAL SUSPECTS.
1951 - Academy Awards - Best Foreign Language Film Winner
Minoru Chiaki - Actor/"Rashomon"
Machiko Kyô - Japanese Actress
Akira Kurosawa - Japanese Director
Masayuki Mori - Japanese Actor/"Ugetsu"
Ryunosuke Akutagawa - Japanese Author, RASHOMON
Takashi Shimura - Japanese actor, RASHOMON
Shinobu Hashimoto - Screenwriter/Director
Toshirô Mifune - Japanese Actor
Kazuo Miyagawa - Japanese Cinematographer, RASHOMON (1950), YOJIMBO (1961)
- Format: DVD
- Run Time: 88
- Color Format: B&W
- UPC: 715515101011
- Genre: Foreign Video - Japanese
- Rating: Not Rated
- Release Date: November 2012
The laserdisc version of "Rashomon" has a Japanese soundtrack (with English subtitles) on one track, and an English soundtrack on the other. Additional cast members: Kichijiro Ueda (The Commoner); Fumiko Homma (The Medium) Winner of the Grand Prize at the Venice Film Festival and an Honorary Academy Award -- it was voted by the Board of Governors as the most outstanding foreign language film released in the United States during 1951 (statuette). "Rashomon" also received two National Board of Review Awards in 1951: Best Director and Five Best Foreign Films of the Year. Voted One of the Top Ten Films of All Time in the 1992 SIGHT AND SOUND International Film Directors' Poll. "Rashomon" is the film that established Kurosawa on the international art house circuit. It was remade as "The Outrage," a 1964 American western directed by Martin Ritt and starring Paul Newman. The print used for the Home Vision Cinema VHS version is from the Janus collection.
"...What really gives the film its impact is less the multi-layered narrative than the dynamic direction and powerhouse performance from Toshiro Mifune..." - 01/01/2002 Sight and Sound, p.60
"A look at RASHOMON's exquisite visuals makes it apparent that Sergio Leone's westerns were inspired by more than just Akira Kurosawa's plots." - 12/01/2003 Premiere, p.C5
5 stars out of 5 -- "[A] taut study of the subjectivity of truth....RASHOMON's intricate moves have been borrowed by a legion of Hollywood imitators, from THE USUAL SUSPECTS to VANTAGE POINT." - 10/01/2008 Empire, p.172
4 stars out of 5 -- "Audiences were captivated by the lyrical beauty of Kurosawa's direction and the dynamic power of his editing, zipping the narrative along with hard-edged horizontal wipes." - 11/01/2008 Total Film, p.145
"The wonder of RASHOMON is that while the shadowplay of truth and memory is going on, we are absorbed by what we trust is an unfolding story." - 05/26/2002 Chicago Sun-Times
"Japanese filmmaker Akira Kurosawa's 1950 RASHOMON has had such a profound cultural influence that there is even a psychosociological phenomenon named after it." - 11/13/2009 Washington Post
"[A]n acknowledged classic that introduced both modern Japanese cinema and the acting/directing team of Toshiro Mifune and Akira Kurosawa to the Western world." Los Angeles Times
"Kurosawa is always worth a look but this is a particularclassic that has influenced so much to come, it's almost essential." - 04/17/2015 Empire