Seven Samurai Movie Poster Image

Seven Samurai



Famous epic with stylish violence and subtitles.
  • Rated: NR
  • Genre: Drama
  • Release Year: 1956
  • Running Time: 203 minutes

What parents need to know

Positive messages

Teamwork matters. The samurai and villagers work together to defeat the bandits.

Positive role models

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 Seven Samurai features a group of 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.

What's the story?

SEVEN SAMURAI 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?


In what many consider to be his masterpiece, director Akira Kurosawa's 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, Seven Samurai offers substantial rewards.

Families can talk about...

  • Families can talk about the rigid class system in place during the time period of Seven Samurai. 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? Are the "bad guys" oversimplified?

  • Does violence have the same impact in a movie like this as in an action movie? Why or why not? Which type of movie violence do you find more affecting and/or upsetting? 

Movie details

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

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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 byBlueDragonMaster98 May 30, 2010


One of the best movies ever, but most younger people might not be able to understand the story. Violent but not bloody, and it can be educational in terms of reading, since an English dub was out of the question (Thank God, I love subtitles. The original voices are always the best). There is swearing and drinking, but most young kids probably don't even know what Sake is. It's fermented rice wine and very strong, but don't tell them that. By the way, Sake is pronounced as Sah-Kay not Sah-Key. Saki is another, seperate word for Sake but the not the same, and it has other meanings.
What other families should know
Too much violence
Too much drinking/drugs/smoking
Great messages
Great role models


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