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4,225 Ratings

Throne of Blood

Kumonosu jô

Directed by Akira Kurosawa
Japan, 1957
Action, Drama


Toshiro Mifune plays a hardened general who fulfills a dark prophecy of rising to power in Akira Kurosawa’s reimagining of Shakespeare’s Macbeth set in feudal Japan.

Our take

One of the finest Shakespeare on-screen adaptations, this ghostly epic from Akira Kurosawa defeats categorisation. Tackling some of the original key motifs such as loyalty, betrayal, and superstition, Throne of Blood boldly reshapes Macbeth within the context of medieval Japan.

Throne of Blood Directed by Akira Kurosawa
Ambitious in its classicality, Akira Kurosawa’s take on one of Shakespeare’s most famous plays is more of a transposition than it is an adaptation; he approaches the material’s inherent universality as a foundation from which to build his own broad themes, which stem from distinctly Japanese beliefs and traditions—he even abandons Shakespeare’s language, further removing the ideas from their Western origins.
January 06, 2017
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Memorable for rendering the soothsayers who seal Macbeth’s fate into one pale ghost in the deep wood, Throne of Blood counterbalances haunting and foreboding with enormous scale in gesture and production design. One of the most meticulous of the major directors, as well as one of the most painterly, Kurosawa is in peak form here, disciplining his broad canvases with precisely choreographed movements that blast emotion even in silence.
January 13, 2016
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In this visceral, calculated masterpiece, The Bard’s play is reborn in feudal Japan amidst a fog-cloaked backdrop, high atop Mt. Fuji. The Weird Sisters are instead an arcane forest spirit who warns Washizu of what’s to come, but the animalistic warrior (a hardened, flawless Toshiro Mifune) is too high on his victories to pay attention to such matters, and instead ends up filled with arrows like St. Sebastian.
January 13, 2016
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