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2,442 Ratings

The Hidden Fortress

Kakushi-toride no san-akunin

Directed by Akira Kurosawa
Japan, 1958
Drama, Adventure


A pair of greedy peasants agrees to lead a man and woman through hostile territory to safety in exchange for gold, unaware that they are a princess and her general.

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The Hidden Fortress Directed by Akira Kurosawa

Awards & Festivals

Berlin International Film Festival

1959 | Winner: Silver Bear for Best Director

For a film, then, that seemingly avoids thematic weight in favor of spectacle, The Hidden Fortressmight be in the company of High and Low as one of Kurosawa’s richest works. The spectacle is quite astonishing, too, playing out along the epic Tohoscope screen: he ratchets the tension again and again through carefully meticulous battle sequences that prove more intimate than the climatic third of Seven Samurai, thus giving each gesture careful articulation.
March 20, 2014
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To classify The Hidden Fortress as simply an escapist compromise would be to ignore both its technical innovations and storytelling prowess… So carefully coordinated are [Kurosawa’s] compositions that the film can feel at once claustrophobic and expansive; despite the fact that the undercover troupe has been traveling outdoors for the entirety of the film, a late sequence set during a fire festival feels almost liberating in its freewheeling dexterity.
March 20, 2014
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It isn’t Kurosawa’s best picture, by any means, but it’s almost certainly his most fun. One of its innovations was to tell its story primarily from the point of view of its least important characters—guys who are not only a long way from heroic, but often actively ignoble.
March 19, 2014
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