Akira Kurosawa

Throne of Blood

Throne of Blood

A vivid, visceral Macbeth adaptation, Throne of Blood, directed by Akira Kurosawa, sets Shakespeare’s definitive tale of ambition and duplicity in a ghostly, fog-enshrouded landscape in feudal Japan. As a hardened warrior who rises savagely to power, Toshiro Mifune gives a remarkable, animalistic performance, as does Isuzu Yamada as his ruthless wife. Throne of Blood fuses classical Western tragedy with formal elements taken from Noh theater to create an unforgettable cinematic experience.

Film Info

  • Akira Kurosawa
  • Japan
  • 1957
  • 109 minutes
  • Black & White
  • 1.37:1
  • Japanese
  • Spine #190

Special Features

  • New, restored 2K digital film transfer, with uncompressed monaural soundtrack on the Blu-ray
  • Audio commentary featuring Japanese-film expert Michael Jeck
  • Documentary on the making of the film, created as part of the Toho Masterworks series Akira Kurosawa: It Is Wonderful to Create
  • Two alternate subtitle translations, by Japanese film translator Linda Hoaglund and Kurosawa expert Donald Richie
  • Trailer
  • PLUS: A booklet featuring an essay by film historian Stephen Prince and notes on the subtitling by Hoaglund and Richie

    New cover by Bill McMullen

Purchase Options

Collector's Sets

Collector's Set

AK 100: 25 Films by Akira Kurosawa

AK 100: 25 Films by Kurosawa

DVD Box Set

25 Discs

$319.00

Out Of Print

Special Features

  • New, restored 2K digital film transfer, with uncompressed monaural soundtrack on the Blu-ray
  • Audio commentary featuring Japanese-film expert Michael Jeck
  • Documentary on the making of the film, created as part of the Toho Masterworks series Akira Kurosawa: It Is Wonderful to Create
  • Two alternate subtitle translations, by Japanese film translator Linda Hoaglund and Kurosawa expert Donald Richie
  • Trailer
  • PLUS: A booklet featuring an essay by film historian Stephen Prince and notes on the subtitling by Hoaglund and Richie

    New cover by Bill McMullen
Throne of Blood
Cast
Toshiro Mifune
Taketoki Washizu
Isuzu Yamada
Asaji
Minoru Chiaki
Yoshiaki Miki
Akira Kubo
Yoshiteru Miki
Takamaru Sasaki
Kuniharu Tsuzuki
Yoichi Tachikawa
Kunimaru Tsuzuki
Takashi Shimura
Noriyasu Odagura
Chieko Naniwa
Witch
Credits
Director
Akira Kurosawa
Producer
Sojiro Motoki
Screenplay
Hideo Oguni
Screenplay
Shinobu Hashimoto
Screenplay
Ryuzo Kikushima
Screenplay
Akira Kurosawa
Based on Macbeth by
Shakespeare
Photographer
Asakazu Nakai
Art direction
Yoshiro Muraki
Art supervision
Kohei Ezaki
Recording
Fumio Yanokuchi
Music
Masaru Sato

From The Current

Shooting the Arrows in Throne of Blood
Shooting the Arrows in Throne of Blood
It’s impossible to watch the unforgettable climax of Akira Kurosawa’s Throne of Blood and not wonder, How’d they do that? Spoilers ahead: In the scene, Toshiro Mifune’s ruthless warrior, modeled on Shakespeare’s Macbeth, finally gets his co…
Throne of Blood
Throne of Blood

Director Akira Kurosawa had wanted to make Throne of Blood for some time. “After finishing Rashomon [in 1950] I wanted to do something with Shakespeare’s Macbeth, but just about that time Orson Welles’s version was announced, so I postponed min

By Donald Richie

From the Kurosawa Archives
From the Kurosawa Archives
With a monumental body of work spanning nearly six decades, thirty feature films, and a staggering array of styles and genres, Akira Kurosawa has been a cornerstone of our collection since we released Seven Samurai as our second Criterion edition in …
Kurosawa in Seattle

Repertory Picks

Kurosawa in Seattle
This week in Seattle, Washington, the Grand Illusion Cinema screens a towering portrait of political treachery, Akira Kurosawa’s 1957 Throne of Blood. Transposing Macbeth to medieval Japan, this Shakespearean masterpiece gives Toshiro Mifune one of…
Mogwai’s Top 10
Kurosawa in Toronto

Repertory Picks

Kurosawa in Toronto
This week, the TIFF Cinematheque in Toronto will show Akira Kurosawa’s 1960 dramatic thriller The Bad Sleep Well as part of its summer series of special screenings. Starring the Japanese screen icon and longtime Kurosawa collaborator Toshiro Mifune…

Explore

Toshiro Mifune

Actor

Toshiro Mifune
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.