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Samurai Banners
Samurai Banners
Actors: Toshir˘ Mifune, Yoshiko Sakuma, Kinnosuke Nakamura, Yűjir˘ Ishihara, Katsuo Nakamura
Director: Hiroshi Inagaki
Genres: Action & Adventure, Indie & Art House, Drama, Special Interests, Educational, Anime & Manga, Military & War, Animation
UR     2005     2hr 45min

The landmark film that ushered in Japan's "golden age" of filmmaking! Mifune Toshiro stars in this epic adventure story, based on a best selling historical novel. Yamamoto Kansuke (Mifune) is a fearsome warrior who has ris...  more »


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Movie Details

Actors: Toshir˘ Mifune, Yoshiko Sakuma, Kinnosuke Nakamura, Yűjir˘ Ishihara, Katsuo Nakamura
Director: Hiroshi Inagaki
Creators: Toshir˘ Mifune, Kazuo Yamada, Hiroshi Inagaki, Tomoyuki Tanaka, Yoshio Nishikawa, Shinobu Hashimoto, Takeo Kunihiro, Yasushi Inoue
Genres: Action & Adventure, Indie & Art House, Drama, Special Interests, Educational, Anime & Manga, Military & War, Animation
Sub-Genres: Martial Arts, Indie & Art House, Love & Romance, Special Interests, Educational, Anime & Manga, Military & War, Animation
Format: DVD - Color,Widescreen - Subtitled
DVD Release Date: 07/12/2005
Original Release Date: 06/24/1969
Theatrical Release Date: 06/24/1969
Release Year: 2005
Run Time: 2hr 45min
Screens: Color,Widescreen
Number of Discs: 1
SwapaDVD Credits: 1
Total Copies: 0
Members Wishing: 5
MPAA Rating: Unrated
Languages: Japanese
Subtitles: English

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Movie Reviews

More drama then war.
lordhoot | Anchorage, Alaska USA | 08/09/2005
(4 out of 5 stars)

"I am bit surprised to read the two previous reviews. The AnimEigo edition of Samurai Banners proves to be well presented and its subtitles with its different colors to see who's talking proves to be one of the highlights. This movie got excellent subtitles!! Maybe that reviewer who didn't get the subtitles should check his DVD player. He may have turned something off.

I enjoyed watching Samurai Banners despite of its 163 minutes or so length and the fact that its more of a samurai drama film with a war theme then anything else. Toshiro Mifune who have been considered as Japan's verison of John Wayne is well cast in this movie as it followed the destiny of the Takeda clan through many campaigns. For those who may care, Takeda clan also featured in the film, Kagamusha. Mifune's character, Yamamoto Kansuke (real historical figure), joined the clan, and it helped lead it to many victories, gaining the trust and confidence of his lord and along the way, fall in love with his lord's concubine. The movie is well acted, scripted and directed although fans of bloody battles may have to look else where.

Although the movie seem to dragged here and there but overall, despite of the length, the film moves with great deal of interest. The audience will be caught up in the going on of the Takeda clan and its struggles as they faced stronger foes as the movie goes on. For any Mifune fan, this movie should be on the mandatory buy list. Although Mifune's fortune fell after he left his partnership with Kurosawa, this movie still showed him at his best.

There are couple of interesting extras in this package. There is a one about character biographies which should be watch before the movie since it introduced the viewer to all the major characters of the movie. It probably be easier to followed the film. Second for more die-hard fan, there is Interactive Program Notes which gives you a super basic history lesson on period of warring warlords in Japan. It might be interesting to read this before watching the film. It may help understand the motivation behind some of the characters. Both features are pretty short in duration.

Overall a pretty good film, not boring and although bit pricy, a definitely worth the money.

(History minded viewer should read the book Kawanakajima 1553-64 by Stephen Turnbull for more in-depth historical look at the background of this movie. Its part of the Osprey Campaign Series #130.)"
Good War Epic
(5 out of 5 stars)

"I liked this movie a lot. It may not have the depth of a Kurosawa samurai epic. But the film's director, Hiroshi Inagaki was no slouch. Anyone who's seen his other movies (Chushingura, Samurai Trilogy, just to name a few) knows he's very adept at handling sweeping dramas with large casts of characters.The Japanese title of this movie is Furinkazan which refers to the Kanji characters on the banner flown by the Takeda clan. It describes the military strategy of the clan's leader, Shingen - swift as the wind (fu), quiet as a forest (rin), aggressive like fire (ka), and stable like a mountain (zan). I guess that's a little too much to put in an English title!The battle scenes in this movie are pretty good. But I also liked the story of unrequitted love involving two of the main characters, Kansuke Yamamoto and Princess Yu. Toshiro Mifune plays Kansuke, an actual historical figure who was a military strategist for the Takeda clan. Yoshiko Sakuma gives a spirited performance as the beautiful and sometimes feisty princess. Some Western viewers may find the movie's love story a little strange since there are no open declarations of affection, and no hugging and kissing. This is a typical old-fashioned Japanese romance.The movie reaches its climax at Kawanakajima, the scene of one of the most famous battles in Japanese history. It was there that Kansuke made a huge military blunder that nearly spelled doom for the Takeda clan.If you like epic war dramas with a little romance thrown in, then you might want to give this movie a try."
A Superb Samurai Period Film
Samurai Warrior Bob | United States | 01/05/2005
(5 out of 5 stars)

"This superb period film does not make the mistake of concentrating on either of the two warring lords Takeda and/or Kagetora but instead focus' on Takeda's most celebrated general Kansuke Yamamoto (Toshiro Mifune), who was the brain behind the victories anyway. His story is much more interesting, both as one of a man driven by a wildly ambitious dream, and also one consumed with tragic love. On either level this film works wonders.
Set in Japan between 1543 and 1562 (the period of Warring States) SAMURAI BANNERS is an epic film! The costumes are impeccable, the film is engrossing and I didn't even realize it was almost three hours long. The battles are nicely done, but not overindulging. (For people who come for the violent samurai films, SAMURAI BANNERS will be sure to disappoint.) Toshiro Mifune is great, even with a shaved head!
The English subtitles by AnimEgo were superb, probably one of the best I've seen, they even had different colors for different characters. They also provided running explanations for some of the terms used in conversation. Very complete, very nicely done, and nary a grammatical error.
I can't wait for this film to appear on DVD, the VHS transfer, although decent, cannot do the colors justice.

A John Ford-ish Japanese historical epic.
Yongwook Yoo | Montreal, Quebec Canada | 08/10/2000
(4 out of 5 stars)

"If anybody not to enjoy bluffs of acrobatic samurai-ninja messacre, this is the very choice. The classic example of relationship between great commander and thoughtful lieutenant (probably comparable to that of MacArther and Ike! ). The story is based on the earlier life of the Great Takeda Shinken, whose reputation is far above Tokugawa and Toyotomi even today. Takeda and his best warrior, Gen. Yamamoto Kansuke(Toshiro Mifune)'s struggle to empower the clan among numerous medieval lordships is well illustrated. Takashi Shimura(A Kurosawa's favorite, in Seven Samurai and Ikiru)'s performance is superb, costumes and music is very well-organized as if the shot was located in real medieval Japan. Not only good documentary for understanding the aura and sprit of Japanese warlords, but also comparable text to classic hollywood western genre in terms of stereotyped masculinity. If somebody eager for the sequel to this film, Kurosawa's 'Kagemusha' might be the right stuff. A MUST ONE!"