Greatest Film Scenes
and Moments

The Seven Samurai (1954)


Written by Tim Dirks

Title Screen
Movie Title/Year and Scene Descriptions

The Seven Samurai (1954, Jp.) (aka Shichinin no samurai)

In Akira Kurosawa's masterpiece - later used as a template for The Magnificent Seven:

  • the 16th century epic plot of a town's protection from ferocious bandits by wise veteran leader ronin (samurai) Kambei Shimada (Takashi Shimura) and six other warriors, including a burly, wild and arrogant Kikuchiyo (Toshiro Mifune), the black sheep of the group
  • the powerful sequence in which warrior Kambei disguised himself as a monk (with head shaved and dressed in priest's robe) to rescue a 7 year-old child hostage held in a village hut by a kidnapper-thief; he calmed the kidnapper: ("I'm just a monk, I mean you no harm") and offered food (rice-balls), but then killed the man with a bloodied sword, who ran out of the hut and fell face-forward dead (in slow-motion) - in an intercut edited sequence with various crowd reaction shots
  • Kikuchiyo's discovery of traditional Samurai armor from dead warriors that was secretly hidden by the villagers - most likely when the villagers killed injured, fleeing or dying samurai from other nearby battles - and the surprising revelation that he wasn't a samurai at all, but the son of a village peasant ("You were born a farmer, weren't you?"); while wearing some of the armor, Kikuchiyo ranted at the other samurai, calling them, in general, rapists, thieves, and overall mean, stupid murderers - clearly identifying with the plight of the villagers and revealing his own upbringing: ("What did you think these farmers were anyway? Buddhas or something? Don't make me laugh! There's no creature on earth as wily as a farmer! Ask 'em for rice, barley, anything, and all they ever say is, 'We're all out.' But they've got it. They've got everything. Dig under the floorboards. If it's not there, try the barn. You'll find plenty. Jars of rice, salt, beans, sake! Go up in the mountains. They have hidden fields. They kowtow and lie, playing innocent the whole time. You name it, they'll cheat you on it! After a battle, they hunt down the losers with their spears. Listen to me! Farmers are misers, weasels, and cry-babies! They're mean, stupid murderers! Damn! I could laugh till I cry! But tell me this: Who turned them into such monsters? You did! You samurai did! Damn you to hell! In war, you burn their villages, trample their fields, steal their food, work them like slaves, rape their women, and kill 'em if they resist. What do you expect 'em to do? What the hell are farmers supposed to do?)
  • the final rain-soaked battle (the third day of fighting) in the mud during a torrential downpour
  • the ending shot - Kambei's view of the graves or funeral mounds of four dead comrades (each with a samurai sword sticking out), with his words: "We've lost yet again. With their land, the farmers are the victors, not us"; and beneath the samurai mounds, the graves of the fallen villagers


Greatest Scenes: Intro | What Makes a Great Scene? | Scenes: Quiz
Scenes: Film Titles A - H | Scenes: Film Titles I - R | Scenes: Film Titles S - Z