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The Sword of Doom

The Sword of Doom

1966
Drama
Action
2h 0m
Ryunosuke is a sociopathic samurai without compassion or scruples. When he is scheduled for an exhibition match at his fencingschool, the wife of his opponent begs Ryunosuke to throw the match, offering her own virtue in trade (imdb)
Your probable score
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The Sword of Doom

1966
Drama
Action
2h 0m
Your probable score
Avg Percentile 70.36% from 584 total ratings

Ratings & Reviews

(584)
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Rated 07 Apr 2007
87
98th
A rare psychological study disguised as a samurai movie. Nakadai gives one the most passionate performances I've ever seen. His character possibly suffers from paranoid schizophrenia.
Rated 14 Aug 2007
95
98th
Ryunosuke is the most amoral of all screen samurai. Devastating emotional power.
Rated 12 Jul 2009
88
77th
The lead character is wonderfully acted and truly menacing. I also felt that the way he fought, and killed really did a great job to reflect his personality. Too bad about the ending, considering the sequels never got made.
Rated 24 Mar 2016
86
94th
A bleak and striking horror-tinged samurai film. It's incomplete form ends up being thematically appropriate as the narrative breaks apart in its descent into eternal, nihilistic violence.
Rated 27 Apr 2008
5
81st
I will watch this movie again and again almost entirely for Nakadai's character - that look of complete bliss after his slayings is the thing of nightmares.
Rated 25 Aug 2008
75
44th
Enjoyable and well shot, though it doesn't always work. My biggest problem with it is that, while the main story is easy enough to follow, there are a lot of supporting characters in the film whose roles are very difficult to sort out. Everything jumps around a bit too much and it makes it hard to really hang on to any character or story arc other than Ryunosuke, and his motivations are diminished when you have to work to remember who he's interacting with. The fight scenes are great, if long th
Rated 24 Jul 2009
3
74th
Could perhaps have done without the storyline involving the girl Omatsu, but this is otherwise a bleak and nihilistic (which almost always equals good) movie with a chilling performance by Nakadai. A film that doesn't end, but terminates.
Rated 16 Jun 2018
81
94th
Great performances, great directing, great sound design. I enjoyed the side stories and I loved Toshirô Mifune in his role even if it was much smaller than I would've liked as he is one of my all time favorite actors. I usually find Tatsuya Nakadai to be hit or miss but here he was amazing, second best performance I've ever seen him in. The one main difference in opinion I have with most reviewers whether or not they liked the film is the fact that I didn't find Ryunosuke very villainous...
Rated 12 Nov 2014
85
89th
CUSHION THROW!
Rated 04 Mar 2007
4
74th
It's not the most succinctly plotted film, in fact it's nigh incomprehensible in all but the broadest strokes, and somehow simultaneously incomplete and overlong, but the appeal here is atmosphere. The total absence of redemption is remarkable, that its focus is a character who would be the villain in any other chanbara, a murderer afforded little pathology, only that he is a crystalline incarnation of categorical evil, played methodically by Tatsuya Nakadai in one of his most memorable roles.
Rated 14 Aug 2007
78
63rd
The story is lacking, with too many valleys where nothing much seems to happen. Occasionally too complicated to follow, though it all makes sense by the ending... which is a rather unsatisfying cliffhanger for future installments that were never to arrive. There are three scenes of a single person taking on a multitude of enemies and all of them are frankly dull. But there's some marvelous cinematography here, the acting is solid, and the score is nice.
Rated 18 Feb 2008
94
99th
Unrelenting violence matched with wonderful cinematography make this truly something to behold for samurai fans. Nakadai's performance as Ryunosuke is perhaps one of the most evil in cinema.
Rated 15 Jan 2009
100
99th
Absolutely astonishing cinematography and pacing, I don't care if the movie was supposed to have a sequel or not.. as it stands its a masterpiece. Ryunosuke is an unapologetic psycho samurai gone mad, and the viewer will spiral into madness with him.. masterful.
Rated 25 Aug 2007
89
84th
Pretty damn awesome.
Rated 06 Oct 2022
83
69th
Contained and controlled samurai epic spends too much time “world building” for the trilogy that never was, but Okamoto’s dread-tinged moments of confrontation and pre-confrontation, and anchor work by Nakadai who should be in the pantheon of sinister antagonists, make this never less than compelling, even as the narrative side alleys threaten to break the tension. Gorgeous cinematography abounds, with perhaps one of the most darkly funny uses of phallic imagery early in the piece!
Rated 09 Aug 2011
80
68th
I'll be honest. There are moments of total badassery and stunning cinematography. The descent into madness, if you can call it that, is pretty facinating. Scene to scene, moment to moment, the film is very good. But on a basic level I found the plot hard to follow. Especially the second and third acts. It got to the point where there were fight scenes and I couldn't figure out why. But don't get me wrong. The movie is still good, and there are enough great scenes to make it worthwhile.
Rated 10 Feb 2014
83
86th
A twisted movie dealing mostly with betrayal and revenge. The most over-the-top ending I've seen in a long time.
Rated 02 Aug 2008
80
46th
As a lover of all things Samurai, I'd like to give this a higher grade, but I simply cannot. The last fifteen minutes or so are fantastic, until you realize that they are exactly the last fifteen minutes or so, leaving a ton of plot threads hanging and giving no satisfaction to either good or evil. Still, a very powerful and frequently entertaining movie, just not one I would make a purchase of.
Rated 14 Aug 2007
90
98th
The best samurai movie i've ever seen. Engaging, thoughtful, violent, great looking.
Rated 08 Nov 2012
80
88th
This is no match. It's a duel!
Rated 26 Aug 2023
79
67th
A suicidal attempt to make a 41-volume novel into a film, but the cinematography is a masterpiece.
Rated 01 Apr 2014
40
32nd
Incredibly confusing plot. Some great sword play but the story telling was absolutely horrible. The last 10 minutes is great fighting but ridiculously explained, and the ending is so abrupt that you can't believe it when the words "The End" appears seemingly out of nowhere. WTF? Did they abruptly run out of money or was the director really just that bad?
Rated 24 Mar 2013
55
44th
Silly and inspired, often (e.g. the finale) at the same time. The focus on the villain is inspired, as he is the most interesting character. Nakadai portrays him with iconic venom and is almost unrecognizable from his goody-two-shoes past as Kaji in Kobayashi's Human Condition. Much of the script, however, is pretty dumb, features the most misogynistic characterization at least since Rashomon, and a hoard of inexplicably suicidal male ones. Masterful directing and cinematography keep it afloat.
Rated 06 May 2010
100
98th
Sword of Doom is uncompromisingly messed up.
Rated 18 Nov 2012
65
32nd
Seen better. This one is full of plot holes and too many storylines. Nonetheless, if you are interested in seeing another samurai movie, then this is good pick for fans.
Rated 05 Apr 2013
92
76th
The plot has some unnecessary elements, but the central character's descent is so mesmerizing, the climactic battle so tiresomely cathartic, that I couldn't help but love it.
Rated 27 Apr 2020
60
47th
Pretty good and intense, builds up to a crazy finale.
Rated 14 Sep 2015
99
83rd
One of the best Samurai films ever made;Sword of Doom is a film that encapsulates what we usually think of when it comes to samurai films but turns on it's head largely due to the films focus on following the path of Ryunosuke, a cruel,evil and possibly insane ronin as he plies his deadly trade. Nakadai's performance as Ryunosuke is chilling as the cinematography is beautiful.
Rated 29 Sep 2015
85
90th
Whoa.
Rated 19 Feb 2013
85
96th
Pretty much the most badass samurai flick ever made.
Rated 05 Sep 2020
82
62nd
A very dark movie, but also quite confusing and difficult to follow. The ending was unexpected, and not in a good way, leaving a somewhat anti climatic aftertaste. Nakadai is amazing as always.
Rated 28 Apr 2017
81
83rd
Extremely grim but engaging & subversive jidaigeki film with possibly the most coldblooded & evil protagonist I've ever seen. Set during the final years of the shogunate it has a brooding atmosphere of unease, insecurity & impending doom. The figure of the fallen samurai with demon-possessed presence & aura of silent death gains various political & religious undertones around the layered & ambiguous descent into hell story. Audiovisually superb with symbolic attention to the natural elements.
Rated 18 Aug 2021
86
76th
Ryounosuke is a swordsman through and through - the personification of the phrase "When your only tool is a hammer every problem looks like a nail". But is violence always the right answer? Find out in this doomy and gloomy Buddhist psychological drama!
Rated 15 Oct 2019
11
79th
It can definitely drone on, but that is expected with much older films. Wasnt too interested in the goings on of the plot, nothing of it, story wise, kept me captivated, however the main protagonist is interesting enough to keep me invested, his serial killer esque mannerism and blank, stare into the distance facial expression really sold the character. A few good battles occur, but the finaly really sells it. Not choreographed super well, but still sells a "snapped man" perfectly. liked it.
Rated 29 Aug 2010
60
49th
The good mostly outdoes the bad here. I really feel the key problem with this movie is lead characters are under developed and the supporting characters are over developed. Nakadai is a God tier actor but he does not top surpass his role as Unosuke and his counterpart Mifune does not have as strong a written role to play as he did in Yojimbo. The ending is suitable but leaves a lot to be desired.
Rated 03 Dec 2014
90
96th
Tatsuya Nakadai shines as the nihilistic samurai, who is as much a victim as maker of his own destructive destiny, in this truly stunning samurai movie by Okamoto featuring some of the best samurai fight scenes in cinema history.
Rated 04 Mar 2024
88
88th
I think I can confidently say that this has the best sword fights out of the entire 1960s. The action is insanely good; Nakadai seems inhuman in the fights and delivers an astonishing physical performance with complex choreography and extremely long takes, and he manages to make every strike feel so deeply rooted in character. Toshiro Mifune kicks so much ass in his one big sword fight too. The only hindrance is the lack of an ending
Rated 20 Mar 2011
77
65th
The resolution of the storyline is the kicker in this one - but this is a film that relishes in red herrings and, to a greater degree, pulling out the tatami mat from under our feet. That it jettisons 4 or 5 supporting characters to underscore the thin line between madness and evil is to me one of the film's strongest assets. Nakadai never hurts, either.
Rated 10 Sep 2010
3
38th
The plot is absurdly convoluted and bloated; if this film had focus, it could have been half an hour shorter and much better for it. And there's so much talking and talking and no release. I appreciate the main strand enough to like this, though, and there's plenty to praise: the excellent cinematography, some great swordfights, and Nakadai, who I always love. Worth a look, but a bit difficult to get through.
Rated 06 Feb 2017
70
87th
The first of a trilogy that was never finished thus offering the viewer an unresolved story. This makes that a lot of angles in the story seem a bit unnecessary, especially the romance arc. Great cinematography however, and an interesting take on the samurai film (despite having a typical plot) with a lot of screentime for the deranged villain. Well worth a watch for the great black&white shots.
Rated 20 Jul 2018
93
92nd
Em honra de Shinobu Hashimoto (1918 - 2018) A verdade é que esse filme me lembrou um Godfather com samurais, toda a trajetória da derrocada da alma do protagonista tem muita semelhança simbólica entre as sagas. Ah, e Okamoto deveria ser muito mais lembrado do que de fato é. DVD Versátil Cinema Samurai Volume 2
Rated 07 Jun 2008
55
49th
Worth a watch for the fight scenes.
Rated 26 Nov 2022
71
90th
an Avant-garde Screenplay and Film for its ages.
Rated 18 Feb 2009
76
71st
Beautifully filmed, and Nakadai is intense and frightening as the cruel, probably insane Ryunosuke. The story, however, is somewhat lacking, meandering around and leaving some loose ends.
Rated 09 Aug 2017
77
69th
One of the longest yet most abrupt endings in Japanese cinema from '66
Rated 04 May 2012
40
35th
legit cast and some cool scenarios loosely strung together into some sort of a movie...
Rated 29 Nov 2009
60
49th
Really thought Tatsuya Nakadai did an excellent job as Ryunosuke Tsukue, been quite some time since I've seen a 'bad guy' done so well. Sadly, I can't say the same about the story. Felt incomplete and many not in place cuts to the film.
Rated 18 Aug 2015
79
75th
Oozes darkness. Cool sword fight at the end. Doesn't actually have an ending
Rated 08 Jul 2021
87
85th
This movie's an incredibly dark Samurai tale! My only real wish is that the haunting element had been introduced earlier, so that it was something he could have been struggling with before the climax. Still, a must-see!
Rated 10 Apr 2013
80
65th
Very much a villain-centric story, and Nakadai's mad swordsman is compelling and fascinating. My only complaint is that it could stand to be chopped (ha) down a bit.
Rated 25 May 2009
85
66th
This guy makes Jack Torrence look like a pussy. Too bad they never made the sequels because this has some amazing scenes centered around an equally amazing performance.
Rated 03 Jan 2010
70
75th
Early-cut?
Rated 14 May 2015
9
89th
Brutal and cutthroat with finesse, this film about a blood-lusted samurai impresses thanks to its sharp action and menacing performance by lead Tatsuya Nakadai.
Rated 14 Aug 2020
72
78th
this is what i was hoping harakiri would be!

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