Akira Kurosawa

Drunken Angel

Drunken Angel

In this powerful early noir from the great Akira Kurosawa, Toshiro Mifune bursts onto the screen as a volatile, tubercular criminal who strikes up an unlikely relationship with Takashi Shimura's jaded physician. Set in and around the muddy swamps and back alleys of postwar Tokyo, Drunken Angel is an evocative, moody snapshot of a treacherous time and place, featuring one of the director's most memorably violent climaxes.

Film Info

  • Akira Kurosawa
  • Japan
  • 1948
  • 98 minutes
  • Black & White
  • 1.33:1
  • Japanese
  • Spine #413

Special Features

  • New, restored high-definition digital transfer
  • Audio commentary featuring Japanese-film scholar Donald Richie
  • A 30-minute documentary on the making of Drunken Angel, created as part of the Toho Masterworks series Akira Kurosawa: It Is Wonderful to Create
  • Kurosawa and the Censors, a new, 25-minute video piece that looks at the challenges Kurosawa faced in making Drunken Angel
  • New and improved English subtitle translation
  • PLUS: An essay by cultural historian Ian Buruma and excerpts from Kurosawa’s Something Like an Autobiography

New cover by Jock

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 high-definition digital transfer
  • Audio commentary featuring Japanese-film scholar Donald Richie
  • A 30-minute documentary on the making of Drunken Angel, created as part of the Toho Masterworks series Akira Kurosawa: It Is Wonderful to Create
  • Kurosawa and the Censors, a new, 25-minute video piece that looks at the challenges Kurosawa faced in making Drunken Angel
  • New and improved English subtitle translation
  • PLUS: An essay by cultural historian Ian Buruma and excerpts from Kurosawa’s Something Like an Autobiography

New cover by Jock

Drunken Angel
Cast
Takashi Shimura
Doctor Sanada
Toshiro Mifune
Matsunaga
Reizaburo Yamamoto
Okada
Michiyo Kogure
Nanae
Chieko Nakakita
Nurse Miyo
Credits
Director
Akira Kurosawa
Producer
Sojiro Motoki
Screenplay
Keinosuke Uekusa
Screenplay
Akira Kurosawa
Editing
Akikazu Kono
Cinematography
Takeo Ito
Lighting
Kinzo Yoshizawa
Music
Fumio Hayasaka

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Drunken Angel: The Spoils of War

The set for Akira Kurosawa’s Drunken Angel (1948) consisted of a filthy sump surrounded by ruined buildings, shabby wooden houses, and the facade of a sleazy nightclub. It was a setting that could have been found almost anywhere in Tokyo in 1948, o…

By Ian Buruma


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.