Seven Samurai

  • Review Date: October 31, 2005
  • Rated: NR
  • Genre: Drama
  • Release Year: 1956
  • Running Time: 203 minutes

Common Sense Media says

Famous epic with stylish violence and subtitles.
  • Review Date: October 31, 2005
  • Rated: NR
  • Genre: Drama
  • Release Year: 1956
  • Running Time: 203 minutes





What parents need to know

Positive messages

The samurai and villagers are shown to have character flaws, but ultimately, they all stand together in the face of the ruthless bandits - who are not really developed beyond their thieving impulses.


Sword and gun fighting.

Not applicable

Infrequent subtitled strong language.

Not applicable
Drinking, drugs, & smoking

Light drinking of sake.

Parents Need to Know

Parents need to know that the film features seven samurai who help a farming village defend itself against a gang of bandits. There are multiple skirmishes, and the villagers, samurai, and bandits suffer casualties. The violence is not particularly bloody but it's accentuated through fluid camera movements and slow motion cinematography. The samurai and villagers are shown to have character flaws, but ultimately, they all stand together in the face of the ruthless bandits - who are not really developed beyond their thieving impulses. Strong language is used -- in subtitles -- but sparingly so. The presence of subtitles may be a hindrance to some younger viewers.

Parents say

Kids say

What's the story?

In what many consider to be his masterpiece, director Akira Kurosawa presents a tale of displaced samurai that put aside class differences in order to defend a farming village that has been the unfortunate target of a wily gang of bandits. The film's three and a half hour length is more than justified by the intricate character development of both the samurai and the villagers, as both groups let go of class biases to accomplish their mutual goal of fortifying the village. By the climactic showdowns against the bandits, a palpable anxiety is present due to the great affinity the audience feels for the characters. Worthy of special note is Toshiro Mifune's performance as the intense samurai Kikuchiyo who has a past that he is trying to hide.

Is it any good?


The action sequences are fantastic and, for their time, very innovative. Sweeping camera movements and slow motion are used quite effectively to pull the viewer into the thick of the battles. Of course, the techniques have now become old hat for action films, but Kurosawa got it so right that even now the action seem especially kinetic and involving.

This classic of the samurai film genre will appeal to teens and older who love action. Young viewers may find the human deaths disturbing, as many of the most sympathetic characters meet their demise while protecting the village. For those who can deal with the emotion of loss, this film offers substantial rewards.

Families can talk about...

  • Families can talk about the rigid class system in place during the time period of the film. Why is there such a separation between the samurai and the villagers? What makes it easier for the samurai and villagers to overcome the social barriers to band together? How might the film have been different if more insight had been supplied for the bandits' motivations?

Movie details

Theatrical release date:November 19, 1956
DVD release date:April 21, 1998
Cast:Takashi Shimura, Toshiro Mifune, Yoshio Inaba
Director:Akira Kurosawa
Studio:Criterion Collection
Run time:203 minutes
MPAA rating:NR

This review of Seven Samurai was written by

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  • ON: Content is age-appropriate for kids this age.
  • PAUSE: Know your child; some content may not be right for some kids.
  • OFF: Not age-appropriate for kids this age.
  • NOT FOR KIDS: Not appropriate for kids of any age.

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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, 14 years old Written byBrandon4News December 20, 2010

Akira Kurisowa's masterpiece is a must-see.

Everyone should see this one, it's one of my personal favorites. Parents, as long as your kid is mature enough to watch a foreign movie for 3 1/2 hours, he/she's mature enough to see this movie with only some mild violence and subtitled swears.
What other families should know
Too much swearing
Adult Written byC4turdayz August 9, 2009

A+ movie

A pinnacle of Japanese cinema, Seven Samurai saw the birth of the historical epic genre, and is an amazing movie in it's own right. Kids may have issue sitting through this 3 and a half hour black and white, subtitled movie. But those who invest their time will come away with quite an experience.
What other families should know
Great messages
Great role models
Teen, 16 years old Written byMikelavin013 July 13, 2012

A Thematic Masterpiece Without Mindlessness Violence or Sex

Not to be an arrogant elitist, but I feel my cinema tastes are far more mature than the average 17 year old. At this age most normal late teenagers watch stoner comedies or mind-numbing action films and actually think it's good cinema. I watched Seven Samurai when I was 15 and it was one of the first foreign films I had ever viewed so it was pretty rough. I still loved it to death. I watched it again and again and it is marvelous cinema. The apex of cinema in my honest opinion. The subject matter is very mature, yet not violently mature or sexually, just hard themes for younger audiences to wrap their minds around. The societal themes are complex and all have deeper meanings wrapped around the cinematography and excellent dialogue. It will bore kids who have grown up on mindless cartoons, Transformer movies, or just abysmal comedies.That being said, it's perfectly fine for children, but whether they will enjoy it is an entirely different story.
What other families should know
Too much violence
Too much drinking/drugs/smoking


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