Sanjuro Kuwabatake (Toshirô Mifune) plays bodyguard to both sides of the gang war, bidding up his fee and switching sides frequently between Seibei (Seizaburô Kawazu) and Ushi-Tora (Kyu Sazanka) until he gets a soft spot in his heart for Kuemon's "girlfriend," and he frees her from her concubinage. When Usho-Tora's men realize that he's responsible for the woman's escape, they capture Sanjuro, and beat him within an inch of his life. Even as a bloody pulp, he retains his wits enough to escape, and leads Ushi-Tora to believe that he's fled back to Seibei. Ushi-Tora's men murder Seibei's entire gang and family, but don't find the bodyguard. Evenually, Ushi-Tora realizes that Gon the innkeeper (Eijirô Tono) is helping Sanjuro, and uses him as bait in a trap. Our hero returns for one last showdown, which leaves Ushi-Tora's gang dead. Sanjuro heads out of the now-peaceful town, no richer (but certainly much wiser) than when he arrived.

This movie was remade as A Fistful of Dollars and as Last Man Standing.

(Links open in new window)
Read more about this film at The Internet Movie Database.

Buy it on VHS or DVD at Amazon.com.

Buy this poster at moviegoods.com