Masterpiece about absolute truth. Best for teens.
  • Review Date: October 25, 2005
  • Rated: NR
  • Genre: Drama
  • Release Year: 1951
  • Running Time: 88 minutes

What parents need to know

Positive messages

All characters are shown to have some level of sinister motivations.


Sword fighting and a killing. The film revolves around a bandit on trial for raping a young woman.

Not applicable
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Drinking, drugs, & smoking
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Parents Need to Know

Parents need to know that this movie is a psychologically and morally complex tale of a trial to determine who is at fault for a murder and possible rape. The rape is not depicted onscreen, but is discussed openly. The murder is rendered somewhat realistic, though without gratuitous bleeding or goriness.

What's the story?

In director Akira Kurosawa's RASHOMON, a man is murdered in the woods following the rape of his wife by a bandit. At the trial, the bandit, the wife, a medium channeling the murdered man, and a woodcutter who had been hiding in the woods all recount different versions of the story. The movie works to expose the near impossibility of finding absolute truth in the world, rather than condemn any one. At the end, the woodcutter acts to redeem himself, punctuating the narrative with a sense of hope.

Is it any good?


Rashomon was the film that brought Akira Kurosawa, and many would say Japanese cinema, to international renown. It's a true cinematic masterpiece. Kurosawa's direction is magnificent, structuring the film to clearly give each version of the story its own space while maintaining its connection with the other versions. Toshiro Mifune as the nearly spastic bandit is a pleasure to watch.

Families can talk about...

  • Families can talk about the potential fallibility of the legal system in relation to absolute truth. What factors do you think played a role in the credibility of one witness's account over another? Have you ever been in a situation where you heard two different accounts of the same event? Which version did you believe? Why? How was it resolved?

Movie details

Theatrical release date:December 26, 1951
DVD release date:March 26, 2002
Cast:Machiko Kyo, Masayuki Mori, Toshiro Mifune
Director:Akira Kurosawa
Studio:New Line
Run time:88 minutes
MPAA rating:NR

This review of Rashomon was written by

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Learning ratings

  • Best: Really engaging; great learning approach.
  • Very Good: Engaging; good learning approach.
  • Good: Pretty engaging; good learning approach.
  • Fair: Somewhat engaging; OK learning approach.
  • Not for Learning: Not recommended for learning.
  • Not for Kids: Not age-appropriate for kids; not recommended for learning.

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Teen, 16 years old Written bymoviemogul April 9, 2008

An amazing movie...

I watched this movie on TCM one night, and all I can say is that it was incredible. If you are a teen or up, go watch this movie-- it comes highly reccommended.
Teen, 17 years old Written byoctober1985 May 31, 2009
The movie came out in 1950, so they could not put anything very bad content-wise. There is talk of a rape that happened and some mild violence. Anyone 12 and over can handle it. Though they would probably be bored.
What other families should know
Too much sex
Teen, 15 years old Written bywho3697cares June 3, 2009
The main flaw is director Akira Kurosawa's sentimentality. The philosophy behind the story would seem to be that all the characters are telling the truth, despite the unlikeliness of that, However, Kurosawa turns it into "everybody lies". Nice try, but it didn't fit in here. Otherwise this is really great. The only Kurosawa films I would place above it are Ikiru, Throne of Blood, and Ran.


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