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The Sword of Doom

Released Jul 1, 1967 2h 2m Drama List
80% Tomatometer 10 Reviews 90% Audience Score 5,000+ Ratings
Merciless swordsman Ryunosuke Tsukue (Tatsuya Nakadai) is a government assassin in feudal Japan who has no remorse and no moral code. When he is scheduled to participate in a friendly fencing contest, he ends up killing his competitor. Next, after a fight with his own mistress, he murders her and deserts their infant son. Later, while spending the night in a haunted geisha house, he sees the specters of all of his victims and spirals into madness, leaving a bloodbath in his wake. Read More Read Less

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Critics Reviews

View All (10) Critics Reviews
Nick Schager Slant Magazine A film defined by its meticulously precise construction. Rated: 3.5/4 Mar 21, 2005 Full Review Yasser Medina Cinefilia I think it is, not only one of the best Okamoto samurai films, but also one of the most impressive chambara movies I have ever seen. [Full review in Spanish] Rated: 8/10 Dec 26, 2020 Full Review Pat Padua The DC Line Nakadai ... dominates the screen with a sinister gaze that seems haunted. Jan 3, 2020 Full Review Donald J. Levit ReelTalk Movie Reviews Ryunosuke's blank-faced amorality and apparent insanity and the spirited swordplay and Nakadai's athleticism move the viewer along. Feb 11, 2016 Full Review Dennis Schwartz Dennis Schwartz Movie Reviews Given a sweeping epic treatment. Rated: B Jan 18, 2008 Full Review Michael W. Phillips, Jr. Goatdog's Movies [A] visually stunning epic. Rated: 4/5 Jul 1, 2006 Full Review Read all reviews

Audience Reviews

View All (378) audience reviews
DanTheMan 2 A painfully slow yet exceptionally captivating tale of a man who chooses to devote his life to evil and the madness that follows, The Sword of Doom is more often than not defined by its meticulously precise construction. Serving as the first part of an unfinished trilogy adapting the famously incomplete Great Bodhisattva Pass, The Sword of Doom was thrust upon Kihachi Okamoto by Toho, due to them being dissatisfied with his previous film. Here, Okamoto not only delivers a grand, sweeping epic crammed with beautiful shots and exceptional staging but also marks it out as an expression of rage, conditioning and stylish tension. Although I found the pacing glacially slow in comparison to his other works, it's Tatsuya Nakadai's stunning performance that incarnates perfectly the paradox at the heart of his character which makes for such engaging viewing that it wasn't a huge deal breaker for me. Clean yet brutal, The Sword of Doom makes for a remarkably vicious gesture of destructive essence, with unmistakable visual beauty inseparable from horror. Rated 4 out of 5 stars 01/11/24 Full Review Yash B Old-school samurai movies aren't my absolute favorite genre, but it is one that I have found a good amount of enjoyment in. With "The Sword of Doom," I was able to see something not from Kurosawa while also having a similar look and feel. The film looks really cool with many tense fight scenes as well as lots of memorable camera shots. I think the story just went a bit over my head and I thought there were a lot of things at play which overwhelmed me. I feel like I was able to follow bits and pieces of it but as a whole, the movie wasn't as memorable as other films in the genre for me personally. Overall, it is a cool movie from the time that has plenty of really impressive stylistic elements, but the story is just not one that resonated with me and it felt a bit confusing. Rated 3 out of 5 stars 12/08/23 Full Review Parker E The Sword of Doom works expertly at making you root for the villain. "The sword is the soul. Study the soul to know the sword. Evil mind, evil sword." The Sword of Doom works so well because of two things: the Main actor Tatsuya Nakadai and the cinematography. Every scene is beautiful and is framed with accuracy and precision; showing everything you need to know. The scenes are gorgeous, from the snow falling on the bodies cut down from an expert samurai to a haunted samurai slashing at the ghosts of his past. Tatsuya has this stare in this film that pierces into the souls of everyone in the film and those watching. Tatsuya has done an amazing job in his role. It's sad to hear that this was meant to be a trilogy that never happened - thus the surprise ending. But the end works great, making you think about what happened. Rated 4.5 out of 5 stars 08/31/23 Full Review Nawt W A work of art, plain and simple. The editing, cinematography, score, acting, and the way the story is told are all done in such an exquisite yet understandable fashion. The movie refuses to moralize about how much of a sociopath Ryunosuke Tsukue is, played flawlessly by Tatsuya Nakadai. Those eyes, those subtle gestures and movements, how he conveys his wicked pride in his skill with simple glances, and how devastatingly broken he looks when this confidence is shattered even for a fraction of a secondSome might consider many secondary characters to be almost meaningless due to them being a set-up for a trilogy that never came. But retroactively, they just show the lives Ryunosuke ruined. It's not a complete story by design, but its abrupt ending does more for Ryunosuke's character than if it continued. Exploding in the primal, self-indulgent carnage of the "demons" that finally caught up to him. Will he survive or perish? That is irrelevant. He is too far gone to be able to do anything about himself as the final frame freezes on him in a state where he is most blissful. Rated 5 out of 5 stars 02/17/23 Full Review Christopher B The Sword of Doom has been on my short list of films to watch since I first eyed the Criterion DVD years ago, the cover is haunting, and I finally caved and watched it before any word of a Blu-ray upgrade. I'll say this, if they ever realize one I'll be at the store on day 1 with money in hand! The Sword of Doom is an epic samurai film with a wonderfully detailed plot and characters and some of the finest, longest and most epic in every sense of the word set pieces! I can't praise the film enough for being one of the most intense and action driven samurai films of all time! Highly Recommended! Rated 5 out of 5 stars 10/26/22 Full Review Matthew D The inconclusive ending, while not intentional (there were supposed to be sequels), does kind of work to the movie's advantage, adding a sense of nihilism; none of the carnage-filled drama we witnessed adds up to anything or really matters. An unintentionally appropriate for post-war Japan. Rated 4.5 out of 5 stars 07/04/22 Full Review Read all reviews
The Sword of Doom

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Cast & Crew

Movie Info

Synopsis Merciless swordsman Ryunosuke Tsukue (Tatsuya Nakadai) is a government assassin in feudal Japan who has no remorse and no moral code. When he is scheduled to participate in a friendly fencing contest, he ends up killing his competitor. Next, after a fight with his own mistress, he murders her and deserts their infant son. Later, while spending the night in a haunted geisha house, he sees the specters of all of his victims and spirals into madness, leaving a bloodbath in his wake.
Director
Kihachi Okamoto
Producer
Sanezumi Fujimoto, Kaneharu Minamizato, Masayuki Sato
Screenwriter
Shinobu Hashimoto, Kaizan Nakazato
Distributor
Toho Company Ltd.
Production Co
Toho Company Ltd.
Genre
Drama
Original Language
Japanese
Release Date (Theaters)
Jul 1, 1967, Wide
Release Date (Streaming)
Mar 23, 2017
Runtime
2h 2m
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