Three Outlaw Samurai (The Criterion Collection)

Hideo Gosha’s Three Outlaw Samurai started as a television serial before Gosha took his chance as a filmmaker and adapted his show into a prequel of sorts. The film features Tetsuro Tanba, Isamu Nagato, and Mikijiro Hira reprising their roles from the show as three samurai who band together. The film reveals their motives for doing so and casts them in varying degrees along the scale of traditional heroism. Tanba, as the story’s main character, is quick to identify the social issue that has led a group of desperate farmers to rebel against the local lord, whereas his two counterparts need a bit more persuading. All of this occurs on land controlled by a dishonest bureaucrat whom, without really thinking of whether what the farmers has done is right or wrong, does whatever he must to rid himself of the problem and revert the matter to the status quo.
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