Seijun Suzuki

Tokyo Drifter

Tokyo Drifter

In this jazzy gangster film, reformed killer Tetsu’s attempt to go straight is thwarted when his former cohorts call him back to Tokyo to help battle a rival gang. Director Seijun Suzuki’s onslaught of stylized violence and trippy colors is equal parts Russ Meyer, Samuel Fuller, and Nagisa Oshima—an anything-goes, in-your-face rampage. Tokyo Drifter is a delirious highlight of the brilliantly excessive Japanese cinema of the sixties.

Film Info

  • Seijun Suzuki
  • Japan
  • 1966
  • 82 minutes
  • Color
  • 2.35:1
  • Japanese
  • Spine #39

Special Features

  • New high-definition digital restoration (with uncompressed monaural soundtrack on the Blu-ray edition)
  • Video piece featuring new interviews with director Seijun Suzuki and assistant director Masami Kuzuu
  • Interview with Suzuki from 1997
  • Trailer
  • New and improved English subtitle translation
  • PLUS: A booklet featuring a new essay by film critic Howard Hampton

New cover by Eric Skillman

Purchase Options

Special Features

  • New high-definition digital restoration (with uncompressed monaural soundtrack on the Blu-ray edition)
  • Video piece featuring new interviews with director Seijun Suzuki and assistant director Masami Kuzuu
  • Interview with Suzuki from 1997
  • Trailer
  • New and improved English subtitle translation
  • PLUS: A booklet featuring a new essay by film critic Howard Hampton

New cover by Eric Skillman

Tokyo Drifter
Cast
Tetsuya Watari
Tetsuya Hondo
Chieko Matsubara
Chiharu
Tamio Kawaji
Tatsuzo
Ryuji Kita
Kurata
Hideaki Nitani
Kenji Aizawa
Eiji Go
Tanaka
Tomoko Hamakawa
Mutsuko
Takeshi Yoshida
Keiichi
Isao Tamagawa
Umetani
Credits
Director
Seijun Suzuki
Producer
Tetsuro Nakagawa
Assistant director
Masami Kuzuu
Original story and screenplay
Kouhan Kawauchi
Cinematography
Shigeyoshi Mine
Editing
Chikaya Inoue
Production design
Takeo Kimura
Music
Hajime Kaburagi
Theme song by
Tetsuya Watari

From The Current

Tokyo Drifter: Catch My Drift
Tokyo Drifter: Catch My Drift
Just what is it that makes Seijun Suzuki’s Tokyo Drifter (1966) so different, so appealing? The cherubic hero in the neat powder blue suit, who looks like he was torn out of a yakuza pop-up book? That hauntingly cornball theme song, permeating the …

By Howard Hampton

A Salute to Seijun Suzuki
A Salute to Seijun Suzuki
Cinema lost one of its most venerated maestros of excess last week with the passing of director Seijun Suzuki, whose signature films from the 1960s exploded the conventions of the Japanese studio system. While honing his craft in dozens of films cran…

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Seijun Suzuki

Director

Seijun Suzuki
Seijun Suzuki

According to critic Manohla Dargis, “To experience a film by Japanese B-movie visionary Seijun Suzuki is to experience Japanese cinema in all its frenzied, voluptuous excess.” Suzuki played chaos like jazz in his movies, from the anything-goes yakuza thrillers Tokyo Drifter and Branded to Kill to the daring postwar dramas of human frailty Gate of Flesh and Story of a Prostitute to the twisted coming-of-age story Fighting Elegy; he never concerned himself with moderation, cramming boundless invention into his beautifully composed frames, both color and black-and-white. Suzuki first pursued film after returning home to Tokyo from service in the Imperial Japanese Army during World War II and failing university entrance exams. Following an unsatisfying stint as an assistant director at Shochiku, Suzuki was lured in 1954 to the recently reopened Nikkatsu studio, which was hiring fresh talent to appeal to a new kind of youth audience. He flourished there for years, with such films as Take Aim at the Police Van and especially Youth of the Beast, a commercial breakthrough for him. Yet his bosses became more and more opposed to his increasingly surreal visual stylings and lack of attention to narrative coherence, and after he made Branded to Kill, which a superior deemed “incomprehensible,” they unceremoniously (and illegally) revoked his contract. Of course, as any true Suzuki fan (and they are legion) knows, the incomprehensibility is part of the fun, and today his sixties works are considered some of the most essential of the Japanese New Wave.