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894 Ratings

The Sword of Doom

Dai-bosatsu tôge

Directed by Kihachi Okamoto
Japan, 1966
Action, Drama


Tatsuya Nakadai and Toshiro Mifune star in the story of a wandering samurai who exists in a maelstrom of violence. A gifted swordsman—plying his trade during the turbulent final days of Shogunate rule—Ryunosuke kills without remorse, without mercy. It’s a way of life that leads to madness.

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The Sword of Doom Directed by Kihachi Okamoto
[…Nakadai] opens his eyes, lifting the lids as slowly and majestically as a theater curtain, and gazes upward—a breathtaking image. By this point his character, Ryunosuke, has slaughtered a host of people, including his common-law wife and an innocent Buddhist pilgrim; he is a vicious, arrogant, heartless psychopath with a gift for exploiting the weakness of others. Yet he is profoundly mysterious, evoking awe and spine-chilling fascination, like a snake that hypnotizes its prey.
January 03, 2017
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Okamoto, Japan’s Sam Fuller, made dozens of high-intensity genre films that would be minor classics were they ever re-released. We should count ourselves lucky as a culture that we were given The Sword of Doom to represent his largely ignored body of work. There is no samurai film as dark or bewitching.
February 03, 2016
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In a conventional samurai movie, Ryunosuke would be a bad guy, and he would eventually be challenged and thwarted by one or more of the many comparatively righteous people he wrongs over the course of the narrative. But it gradually becomes clear that this samurai is a barometer of the atrocity happening around him… The world of The Sword of Doom is terrifying and inexplicable—its barely decipherable political plot obscured by noir shadows and submerged urges.
January 09, 2015
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