Rebel Samurai: Sixties Swordplay Classics - The Criterion Collection

Criterion   (1968) / Region 1
Rebel Samurai: Sixties Swordplay Classics - The Criterion Collection

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Rebel Samurai: Sixties Swordplay Classics - The Criterion Collection

Rebellion! The political and cultural tumult of the 1960s shook Japan as it did the rest of the world. Japanese filmmakers responded to the changing times by disguising themes of dissent in the traditional form of the swordplay film, or chanbara. Previously populated by heroic samurai, self-sacrificing ronin, and historical figures who exemplified noble Japanese virtues, the genre began embracing a new kind of hero, or antihero: the lone outcast, distrustful of authority but maintaining a personal code of honor. These four classic films, from four masters of Japanese cinema, turn a genre upside down, redefining for a modern generation the meaning of loyalty and honor, as embodied by the iconic figure of the samurai.

Samurai Rebellion

Toshiro Mifune seethes with righteous anger in Masaki Kobayahi's chronicle of a retired swordsman whose loyalty is unfairly tested by his own lord.

Sword Of The Beast

Masahiro Shinoda mounts an aesthetic rebellion in his tale of a ninja who seeks only peace but becomes trapped in a labyrinth of treachery and assumed identities.

Samurai Spy

A betrayal of another kind comes in Hideo Gosha's story of a low-level swordsman pursued by assassins from his own clan.


In Kihachi Okamoto's Italian western-influenced Kill!, Tatsuya Nakadai wanders a dusty landscape inhabited by a motley crew of would-be samurai and greedy officials, where honor is found in the least likely of places.


  • Length
  • Rating NR
  • Released:
  • Added Aug 01 2005
  • Production Year 1968
  • Empire SKU 739362
  • UPC Code 037429210123
  • Studio  Criterion
  • Packaging Custom
  • Number of Discs 4
  • Disc SS-DL
  • Subtitles English


Samurai Rebellion
Original Theatrical Trailer
Excerpt from 1993 interview with director Masaki Kobayashi
New essay by Japanese-film historian Donald Richie

Sword Of The Beast
New essay by Japanese-film and -culture critic Patrick Macias

Samurai Spy
Gallery of key characters
Exclusive new 16-minute video interview with director Masahiro Shinoda
New essay by film scholar Alain Silver

Original Theatrical Trailer
New essay by film and culture critic Howard Hampton


  • Audio
    Japanese Dolby Digital Mono
  • Video
    Widescreen 2.35:1 B&W

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