Hiroshi Inagaki

Samurai I: Musashi Miyamoto

Samurai I: Musashi Miyamoto

In the first part of the epic Samurai Trilogy, Toshiro Mifune thunders onto the screen as the iconic title character. When we meet him, Miyamoto is a wide-eyed romantic, dreaming of military glory in the civil war that is ravaging the seventeenth-century countryside. Twists of fate, however, turn him into a fugitive. But he is saved by a woman who loves him and a cunning priest who guides him to the samurai path. Though the opening installment of a series, this film, lushly photographed in color, stands on its own, and won an Academy Award for the best foreign-language film of 1955.

Film Info

Available In

Collector's Set

The Samurai Trilogy

The Samurai Trilogy

Blu-Ray Box Set

2 Discs


Collector's Set

The Samurai Trilogy

The Samurai Trilogy

DVD Box Set

3 Discs


Samurai I: Musashi Miyamoto
Toshiro Mifune
Takezo/Musashi Miyamoto
Rentaro Mikuni
Honiden Matahachi
Kuroemon Onoe
Kaoru Yachigusa
Mariko Okada
Mitsuko Mito
Eiko Miyoshi
Akihiko Hirata
Seijuro Yoshioka
Kusuo Abe
Temma Tsujikaze
Hiroshi Inagaki
Kazuo Takimura
Tokuhei Wakao
Hiroshi Inagaki
From Hideji Hojo’s adaptation of Musashi, by
Eiji Yoshikawa
Jun Yasumoto
Art direction
Kisaku Ito
Art direction
Makoto Sono
Shigeru Mori
Choshichiro Mikami
Ikuma Dan

From The Current

The Book of Five Rings
The Book of Five Rings

The warrior and philosopher protagonist of The Samurai Trilogy, Musashi Miyamoto, was a real-life seventeenth-century figure. Here, the translator of Musashi’s The Book of Five Rings tells us about this fascinating man and his principles of swordpl

By William Scott Wilson

On Film / Essays — Jun 27, 2012
The Samurai Trilogy: Musashi Mifune
The Samurai Trilogy: Musashi Mifune

Hiroshi Inagaki’s action epic is as responsible for creating Toshiro Mifune’s legendary cinematic persona as the films of Kurosawa.

By Stephen Prince

On Film / Essays — Jun 26, 2012
Ricky Jay’s Top 10

Author, actor, and historian Ricky Jay first worked with director David Mamet on House of Games. They have since collaborated often, including on seven films, the TV show The Unit, the one-man Broadway show Ricky Jay and His 52 Assistants, and Redbel

Nov 21, 2008
Jane Campion’s Top 10

In honor of her introduction to the collection, with An Angel at My Table, we asked director Jane Campion to contribute a list of Criterion films that are on her mind at the moment. Campion’s debut feature, Sweetie, is also available from Criterion

Nov 20, 2008
Samurai I

By Bruce Eder

On Film / Essays — Jul 22, 1998


Toshiro Mifune


Akira Kurosawa once said, “The ordinary Japanese actor might need ten feet of film to get across an impression. Toshiro Mifune needed only three feet.” The filmmaker certainly gave Mifune a lot of space, however: over the course of sixteen collaborations, the actor and the director created some of the most dynamic characters ever put on-screen, all marked by an intense physicality and a surprising tenderness. Kurosawa first took note of the handsome actor when Mifune was twenty-seven, during an open audition at Toho Studios; he was soon cast in Snow Trail (1947), a film Kurosawa wrote for director Senkichi Taniguchi. Just one year later, Kurosawa gave him the lead in Drunken Angel as a consumptive gangster. Mifune proceeded to inhabit a variety of deeply felt roles for Kurosawa, including an artist hounded by paparazzi (Scandal); a bandit who may or not be a rapist and murderer (Rashomon); a loose cannon ronin who reluctantly protects a village (Seven Samurai); an elderly patriarch terrified of a second nuclear attack (I Live in Fear); and, probably most iconically, the wily, shiftless samurai Yojimbo. Mifune is known for more than his work with Kurosawa; see him in Hiroshi Inagaki’s Oscar-winning Samurai Trilogy and Masaki Kobayashi’s Samurai Rebellion. But it is Kurosawa’s greatest films that are most unimaginable without Mifune’s bravado streaking across them like lightning. The pair parted ways professionally in 1965.