Remade as: A Fistful of Dollars
If Kurosawa’s Seven Samurai is about old-school warriors clinging to an archaic tradition of honor, his Yojimbo is about a samurai who redefines that code for his own benefit. In a village where two rival warlords run ragged over the populace, the stranger Sanjuro (frequent Kurosawa leading man Toshiro Mifune) plays both sides against each other, though the ronin also finds it in himself to defend the powerless against the powerful, as in Seven Samurai.
Here, Kurosawa’s inspiration again came from Hollywood, from the moral murk of the Dashiell Hammett proto-noir “The Glass Key.” Of course, Yojimbo in turn inspired Italian director Sergio Leone’s A Fistful of Dollars, with its similarly morally ambiguous hero. So we have Yojimbo to thank, indirectly, for the rise of the spaghetti Western, the “Man With No Name” character of the Dollars trilogy, and for Clint Eastwood’s movie stardom.
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