• Zatoichi_current_splash_image_large

    Sick of the cold weather and figure skating? In the mood for a different kind of flying blades? The Criterion Collection has just launched a channel on Hulu, on which you can now watch six features in the classic Zatoichi: The Blind Swordsman series for free. Currently showing are The Tale of Zatoichi, The Tale of Zatoichi Continues, New Tale of Zatoichi, The Fugitive, On the Road, and Zatoichi and the Chest of Gold. All six films star Shintaro Katsu in his most iconic role, as the legendary blind masseur who lives by the yakuza code and answers his foes with a deadly cane sword.

    You can also view the first installment below, right here in the Criterion Current. Check out these terrific movies, and help us make our new Hulu adventure a success. We’ll be adding more films on a rolling basis, so check back often and, as always, let us know what you think.


  • By Jorge Borrani
    February 19, 2010
    07:26 PM

    I wish i could be happy but HULU is not available in mx so this news just hurts me, im serious.
  • By aaron mannino
    February 20, 2010
    01:06 AM

    Yessssssss! Thats messed up about hulu being US only. I never knew. But I've gotten screwed out of stuff because its "UK only" and the like, so I guess it evens out. They even build boundaries in cyberspace. WTF
  • By blind kimbo
    February 20, 2010
    08:10 AM

  • By Jonah
    February 22, 2010
    04:58 AM

    This is totally great! So, Criterion has the rights to the Zatoichi series now? Does that mean we can start anticipating a box set for commercial-free home viewing?
  • By Mark
    February 22, 2010
    09:47 PM

    I just bought AK 100 and the Orphic Trilogy. How about a series of Zatoichi box sets. Four movies per box with a pricepoint of $15
  • By GRUMP
    February 23, 2010
    04:25 PM

    Commercials? No thanks, I'll pirate my content.
    • By K. Kaprow
      February 07, 2013
      08:27 PM

      Stupid thief.
  • By Billy Gore
    February 23, 2010
    11:03 PM

    Mark, there are box sets of Zatoichi, but at much higher price points. Single films are going for around $18, a box set with seven movies I see for over a hundred, and some groupings for under $40. But you can look around further. Maybe eBay? I'm lucky to have a few of the movies. I love the series.
  • By Ryan Gallagher
    February 24, 2010
    01:41 AM

    There are actually more films contained within the Criterion Collection, available for free on Hulu. I just wrote up a post on CriterionCast with 7 other films: http://criterioncast.com/2010/02/23/criterion-on-hulu/
  • By Dan Leo
    February 24, 2010
    05:41 AM

    Love the Zatoichi movies. To me the first one is on the same plane as Yojimbo. Thank you!
  • By Michael Thorner
    February 24, 2010
    04:28 PM

    Hulu is not available in Canada, so you're alienating your customers here if you don't find an alternative. Please think twice before switching the video content that already resides on your site over to Hulu, if you are indeed considering doing this, thanks Criterion.
  • By Tim
    February 24, 2010
    06:27 PM

    Very cool news! Even cooler news would be Criterion announcing Blu Ray releases for the Zatoichi films! Please?
  • By Stephanie
    February 25, 2010
    08:09 PM

    This is great news! Criterion on Hulu! I really am looking forward to seeing what you guys will have to offer after the Zatoichi films. I have also enjoyed the few Criterions available on Netflix (btw the streaming on the PS3 is way better than on the 360): so far, Che, Rome: Open City, Pierrot le Fou. My husband and I own several dozen Criterion DVDs and there are always a bunch on my "to buy" list, but for the few that I am on the fence about being able to watch them on Netflix or Hulu first would be a great service. I can tell you that I would probably end up buying most of them!
    • By Shaun Pearson
      March 12, 2012
      04:02 PM

      Stephanie, if you ever get tired of your husband, I'm very open to the idea of a woman who's a criterion nerd. Sexy! Just kidding. I hope you have a long and happy marriage. :)
  • By Kris
    March 05, 2010
    01:57 AM

    Awesome, I've watched all 6. I'm definitely looking forward to more!! Keep them coming!
  • By Carl
    March 05, 2010
    01:46 PM

    Some of the zatoichi movies, in which HVE owns the rights to, are out of print. For someone who owns 10 out of the 26 dvds this is a major bummer. Is the Criterion collection going to re-release these title on dvd?
  • By Joe
    April 02, 2010
    12:57 PM

    Will there be more Zatoichi films uploaded, and when? Thanks for providing such great films.
  • By Tyson Kubota
    April 16, 2010
    02:51 PM

    To Joe: Yes, twelve more films are live now! Check them out here: http://www.hulu.com/zatoichi-the-blind-swordsman
  • By Dave Cochrane
    July 20, 2010
    07:03 AM

    I so hope the Zatoichi films - especially the first 10 or 15 or so - get the Criterion treatment on DVD. They do tend to look very nice already, but they would still benefit from some remastering, extras, nice packaging, etc. I agree with the earlier comment - the first film (in fact the first two films, which are black and white) are classic arthouse films, really up there with the best. Shintaro Katsu's acting is seriously world class throughout the series of 26 films. I also have a soft spot for the ninth one - that's the one where he has to care for the baby. Just very touching acting - and funny too, when he tries to breast-feed the little nipper! Great stuff.
  • By Richard Shaw
    February 01, 2011
    09:51 PM

    Nice idea. But quality of the stream is poor; both audio and visual. Also the commericial interuptions.....please! No sort of way to watch a film. Who cares that it's free.
    • By Bryant
      October 24, 2013
      03:12 PM

      ever pay for what you get? You aren't in Scotland anymore.....
  • By NAME
    October 24, 2013
    03:09 PM

    my local library has the whole set! Yes try reading books too....
    • By Gord
      October 25, 2013
      05:42 AM

      Jeez. What's your zip code? 90210?
  • By Jack Landron
    November 09, 2013
    12:02 AM

    Thank you for making these films available. I thoroughly enjoy them