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Battles Without Honor and Humanity

1973 1h 39m Crime Drama List
Reviews 90% Audience Score 1,000+ Ratings
Postwar Hiroshima is nothing short of a nightmare, with various factions of the infamous Yakuza mob vying for dominance. Enterprising and highly moral Shozo Hirono (Bunta Sugawara) thinks to reach the top by starting a new crime family built around Boss Yamamori (Nobuo Kaneko). Problems arise, however, when a dispute with a rival gang finds Shozo warring against his best friend from prison, Hiroshi (Tatsuo Umemiya). Shozo sides with Hiroshi, only to find that his friend isn't as loyal. Read More Read Less

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Critics Reviews

View All (4) Critics Reviews
Michael W. Phillips, Jr. Goatdog's Movies A sometimes shocking, sometimes blackly funny, and often disorienting takedown of gangster tropes. Rated: 4/5 Jun 29, 2009 Full Review David Nusair Reel Film Reviews ...the lack of a cohesive storyline makes it virtually impossible to really get into the film... Rated: 2/4 Apr 9, 2005 Full Review David Cornelius eFilmCritic.com Undeniably one of the best, and most important, crime movies ever made. Rated: 5/5 Mar 19, 2005 Full Review Jake Euker Filmcritic.com Fast and cheap, and a lot of fun. Rated: 3/5 Jan 13, 2005 Full Review Read all reviews

Audience Reviews

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william d Not sure why this film is considered a gangster classic, There's really not much of a story, just a bunch of guys fighting at the drop of a hat. Rated 2 out of 5 stars 03/31/23 Full Review Audience Member I liked this movie it was surprisingly gory at times. It felt a bit like the Godfather(though not a great comparison since the Godfather is the best). This is a good Japanese mob movie. We get an interesting look at Japanese culture through the lens of the mob. I enjoyed this movie. Rated 4 out of 5 stars 01/15/23 Full Review Audience Member una puta locura, chinos pegándose tiros narrado con un estilo documental donde no te enteras de nada, esta pasada. Rated 4 out of 5 stars 02/05/23 Full Review dustin d Battles without Honor & Humanity is stylish and shocking. It deromanticizes organized crime and portrays the dirty politics of criminal organizations. Like many of Fukasaku's films, there are a lot of characters and subplots that requires attentive viewing to follow along. Also, with a nine-year time frame crammed into a 99-minute run time, the film feels reductive. Rated 4 out of 5 stars 03/31/23 Full Review Audience Member Inspired by the success of The Godfather and based upon a series of newspaper articles depicting the Yakuza lifestyle firsthand, Battles Without Honor & Humanity sent a shockwave throughout the then-stagnant universe of Japanese gangster movies and brought about many sequels and imitators. The plot of this film centers around Shozo Hirono (Bunta Sugawara) and his struggles with climbing the ladder in organized crime. Hirono adheres to a code of honor that the Yakuza supposedly cherishes, but his peers and even his superiors tend to only act chivalrous when it suits them. Battles Without Honor & Humanity attracted a lot of scrutiny for its grisly violence, gritty performance from Bunta Sugawara, and the frantic cinema verite style that director Kinji Fukasaku shot it in. It's frequently compared to similar films being made by Sidney Lumet and Martin Scorsese at the same time, but Battles Without Honor & Humanity also bears a grim charisma that's all its own. Rated 3.5 out of 5 stars 02/05/23 Full Review Audience Member One of the key Yakuza films that sought to shatter the myth of chivalrous behaviour amongst gangsters that had heretofore been portrayed in film and to replace it with its opposite: betrayal, paranoia, greed, and, yes, a lack of honor and humanity. This was the first big hit for director Kinji Fukusaku (later famous in his old age for Battle Royale) and star Bunta Sugawara and it spawned four sequels. Not surprisingly, the film is extremely bloody and brutal, as we follow the Yamamori family's birth, rise, and eventual splintering. Nothing is glamourized: from the early days of the post-WWII black market to the later days of entrepreneurial business ventures jointly operated with politicians, central characters are just as likely to get rubbed out by a backstabbing surprise attack. Although, at first, I thought I might get lost trying to identify the myriad sub-bosses, eventually I was able to grasp the various players and the Shakespearian machinations of the plot (thanks also to the subtitled announcements of each character's death, accompanied by a fanfare of trumpets). Gritty, violent, not for all tastes, but a touchstone in this genre. Rated 4 out of 5 stars 02/04/23 Full Review Read all reviews
Battles Without Honor and Humanity

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Cast & Crew

Movie Info

Synopsis Postwar Hiroshima is nothing short of a nightmare, with various factions of the infamous Yakuza mob vying for dominance. Enterprising and highly moral Shozo Hirono (Bunta Sugawara) thinks to reach the top by starting a new crime family built around Boss Yamamori (Nobuo Kaneko). Problems arise, however, when a dispute with a rival gang finds Shozo warring against his best friend from prison, Hiroshi (Tatsuo Umemiya). Shozo sides with Hiroshi, only to find that his friend isn't as loyal.
Director
Kinji Fukasaku
Screenwriter
Kazuo Kasahara
Production Co
Toei Company
Genre
Crime, Drama
Original Language
Japanese
Release Date (Streaming)
Jul 23, 2017
Runtime
1h 39m
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