During the course of his peregrinations, the ronin (masterless samurai) Sanjuro Kuwabatake (Toshiro Mifune) wanders in to a small town whose inhabitants' lives are being ruined by competing crime lords.
Spotting the opportunity to bring peace back to the community, Kuwabatake secretly offers his services as a yojimbo (bodyguard) to each of the criminal gangs. And, having gained their trust, the yojimbo industriously sets about securing their destruction.
The film is yet another of Kurosawa's movie-making masterclasses, and is particularly impressive for its mix of suspense, comedy and sudden violence.
Italian director Sergio Leone remade Yojimbo as A Fistful of Dollars, which in turn kicked-off the spaghetti western genre.
In Japanese with English subtitles.
(1961) Cert: PG