Search - Goyokin on DVD

Actors: Tatsuya Nakadai, Kinnosuke Nakamura, Tetsur˘ Tanba, Y˘ko Tsukasa, Ruriko Asaoka
Director: Hideo Gosha
Genres: Action & Adventure, Indie & Art House, Drama, Special Interests
UR     2006     2hr 4min

A samurai, Magobei, returns to face the clan he abandoned when he learns that they intend to instigate another massacre. Protecting the last survivor of that massacre, a woman called 'Taken by the Gods,' Magobei absorbs ...  more »


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Movie Details

Actors: Tatsuya Nakadai, Kinnosuke Nakamura, Tetsur˘ Tanba, Y˘ko Tsukasa, Ruriko Asaoka
Director: Hideo Gosha
Creators: K˘z˘ Okazaki, Hideo Gosha, Hideo Fukuda, Hideyuki Shiino, Masayuki Sat˘, Sanezumi Fujimoto, Kei Tasaka
Genres: Action & Adventure, Indie & Art House, Drama, Special Interests
Sub-Genres: Martial Arts, Indie & Art House, Drama, Outdoor Recreation
Studio: Tokyo Shock
Format: DVD - Color - Subtitled
DVD Release Date: 02/14/2006
Original Release Date: 01/01/1969
Theatrical Release Date: 01/01/1969
Release Year: 2006
Run Time: 2hr 4min
Screens: Color
Number of Discs: 1
SwapaDVD Credits: 1
Total Copies: 0
Members Wishing: 7
MPAA Rating: Unrated
Languages: Japanese
Subtitles: English

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Movie Reviews

Exceptional Classic - But Marred By Inadequate Translation
RealNihonjin | 03/19/2006
(3 out of 5 stars)

"BY ALL MEANS, RENT THIS FILM!! But for the truly discriminating viewer of jidaigeki*, I strongly suggest viewers wait for a different DVD version of this film to purchase, one with superior translation compared to this DVD by Media-Blasters/Tokyo Shock. Otherwise, the movie itself well merits five stars. (I selected three stars for this DVD, but Amazon doesn't allow for correction of unintended star-count mishaps.)

"Goyokin" is a vastly subtle, yet utterly compelling, work. Superb direction (action sequences and mise-en-scène composition), acting (including the great Tatsuya Nakadai), writing, and cinematography do ample justice to this deceptively straightforward, yet culturally and thematically complex, drama. However, this version is under-served by its poor English translation.

Devotees of this remarkable, yet sadly obscure, film have waited decades for a quality video print, and for years a DVD version. What a disheartening disappointment, then, this version. Its only saving grace is the print, which thankfully retains the film's impressive cinematography.

Julia Rose's translation, though technically serviceable, is at times wincingly glib for such a mature work as "Goyokin." Overall, the translation is sub-par to the exceptional achievement that is director Hideo Gosha's film. (Accountability should also rest with the DVD's Translation Manager, Anna Yamamoto.)

The translation often fails to grasp the more suggestive nuances and complexities of the Japanese people and their language, history, and culture. This film demands not only a command of all these elements, but a mastery of English prose to adeptly convey traditional Japanese refinement to an English-speaking audience -- a depth of sophistication worthy of the film's artistry.

Fine and noteworthy films merit long life in a loyal and dedicated audience who deserve to see films exactly as their creators envisioned in the final cut -- not as treasures compromised by post-production hacks. Hopefully, fans of "Goyokin" will one day be rewarded with an alternative DVD version, one with a finesse of translation that is equal to the level of this classic work.

But despite this criticism -- and as other fans have already commented here -- I'm truly grateful that this wonderful movie can now be seen by a wider viewing public.

* Period films that typically, but not exclusively, focus on the Edo period of Japanese history, from 1603 to 1868."
Little known, but worth seeing
S. Hada | El Sobrante, CA USA | 01/27/2006
(5 out of 5 stars)

""Goyokin" is probably one of the least-known of the samurai films from Japan. That's a pity, because it is also, arguably, one of the best ever made of that genre. Released in 1969, the film had a limited release in the US, and then languished in storage due to legal matters.

The story focuses on Wakizaka Magobei (Nakadai Tatsuya), a samurai who returns to face the clan that he'd left meany years before. A subterfuge, performed to steal the official gold of the title; a massacre, done to eliminate any convenient witnesses or informants. All create the psychological tension that forms the drama surrounding Nakadai. The director, Gosha pits clan loyalty against morality, or doing what is right. In this respect, Gosha is similar to Masaki Kobayashi, who explored similar themes in "Harakiri," (also starring Nakadai) as well as his "Human Condition" trilogy.

Several other folk have mentioned that this film reminds them of the spaghetti westerns of Sergio Leone. That observation isn't so far-fetched. This film was copied and made into a forgettable Hollywood western: "The Master Gunfighter," with Tom Laughlin, of "Billy Jack" fame. Think of it as Cowboys with Swords.

An intelligent script, superb direction, outstanding cinematography ("Goyokin" was the first film in Japan to be filmed in Panavision) and the excellent acting of Nakadai. The climactic duel in the snow, with Nakadai and Nakamura Kinnosuke as the clan head (his brother-in-law), is visually stunning.

Hopefully, the re-release of this film will allow a wider audience to appreciate it."
David A. Brownlee | Brisbane, QLD Australia | 01/03/2006
(5 out of 5 stars)

"Goyokin "Official Gold" I have watched this film several times and rate it as one of the best in it's genre. Tatsuya Nakadai is superb as Magobei Wakizaka the guilt ridden samurai who attempts to stop a massacre taking place. The film directed by Hideo Gosha reminds me very much of a spaghetti western..leers, strange camera angles, facial close ups, long silent pauses with stares into nothingness...however it holds your attention and maintains the suspense and the photography is beautiful. It also has some of the best lines, for a movie of this type for example, at the water tower, the killers catch up with Magobei..."Don't ask why you have to die" Nakadai is just superb at this moment, I dont want to give to much away as it will spoil the film for those that have not seen it. A truly superb film."
Stunning film
PrettyKitties | Arlington VA | 01/09/2007
(5 out of 5 stars)

"This is an underappreciated classic - while the editing is disjointed, the visuals are stunning. My quess is that the director was influenced by Hitchcock - the beginning scene where the bride returns to her village has a very Hitchcock feel. I saw the film maybe a dozen times before I could look at that scene all the way with my eyes open. There are several memorable scenes in this movie, including the one with the hero in front of a wall of fire and the final battle in the snow."