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The Yakuza (1974)

American private-eye Harry Kilmer returns to Japan to rescue a friend's kidnapped daughter from the clutches of the Yakuza.

Director:

Sydney Pollack

Writers:

Paul Schrader (screenplay), Robert Towne (screenplay) | 1 more credit »
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Cast

Cast overview, first billed only:
Robert Mitchum ... Harry Kilmer
Ken Takakura ... Tanaka Ken
Brian Keith ... George Tanner
Herb Edelman ... Wheat
Richard Jordan ... Dusty
Keiko Kishi ... Eiko (as Kishi Keiko)
Eiji Okada ... Tono (as Okada Eiji)
James Shigeta ... Goro
Kyôsuke Machida Kyôsuke Machida ... Kato
Christina Kokubo ... Hanako
Eiji Gô Eiji Gô ... Spider (as Go Eiji)
Lee Chirillo Lee Chirillo ... Louise
M. Hisaka M. Hisaka ... Boyfriend
William Ross William Ross ... Tanner's Guard
Akiyama Akiyama ... Tono's Guard
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Storyline

Harry Kilmer returns to Japan after several years in order to rescue his friend George's kidnapped daughter - and ends up on the wrong side of the Yakuza, the notorious Japanese mafia... Written by Michael Brooke <michael@everyman.demon.co.uk>

Plot Summary | Plot Synopsis

Taglines:

100 years ago they were called Samurai. See more »


Certificate:

R | See all certifications »

Parents Guide:

View content advisory »
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Details

Country:

Japan | USA

Language:

English | Japanese

Release Date:

21 December 1974 (Japan) See more »

Also Known As:

The Yakuza See more »

Filming Locations:

California, USA See more »

Company Credits

Production Co:

Warner Bros. See more »
Show more on IMDbPro »

Technical Specs

Runtime:

Sound Mix:

Mono

Color:

Color (Technicolor)

Aspect Ratio:

2.35 : 1
See full technical specs »
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Did You Know?

Trivia

This script sold for $300,000 which was the highest amount ever paid for a script at the time. See more »

Goofs

The boom mic is clearly visible in one scene when Oliver Wheat grabs his cat while telling the story of Eiko to Dusty, the mic appears behind the table and is retracted as Wheat advances. See more »

Quotes

Dusty: American saw cuts on a push stroke, Japanese saw cuts on a pull stroke. When an American cracks up, he opens up the window and shoots up a bunch of strangers. When a Japanese cracks up, he closes the window and kills himself. Everything is in reverse.
See more »

Alternate Versions

For the Spanish Castilian version all the dialogues were dubbed to Spanish, even the Japanese lines. See more »

Connections

Referenced in Making 'Taxi Driver' (1999) See more »

Soundtracks

Only the Wind
Japanese Lyrics Yû Aku (as Aku Yu)
Composed by Dave Grusin
See more »

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User Reviews

 
Top Notch Gangster Movie
21 April 2004 | by dane11See all my reviews

I stumbled across this movie, back when I was in college, on late night television. At the time, I wasn't a Robert Mitchum fan. I always thought Mitchum had a way of sauntering through film roles, not always giving his best. The Yakuza, made when Mitchum was 58 years old, utilizes his style and persona to its maximum potential. He's world-weary, he's been through the mill and he's come out wiser, but not necessarily harder for it.

Written by Paul Schrader and Robert Towne, The Yakuza shows us a different side of the Gangster world than we have been privy to before. This is not a movie of good vs. bad; it's a movie about loyalty and honor to friends and family. We follow Mitchum as Harry Kilmer on a mission to save a friends daughter. For most movies made these days, that premise would be enough, but The Yakuza is deeply layered and far more interesting than that. It turns out that Harry had been in Japan after WWII and had fallen in love with a beautiful woman, Eiko. 30 years later Harry is back in Japan, much has changed, but his feelings haven't.

Harry teams up with Ken Tanaka, Eiko's brother, to find the kidnapped girl. Samurai swords slash and guns blaze, adding intense, well-choreographed action as the plot thickens and Harry realizes that this is no ordinary rescue. We learn a lot about the characters in the movie, from Harry and Eiko to Ken Tanaka and Harry's buddy George, but more than that we learn about Japan and its infamous and historic gangster world. This is a classic movie in every sense of the word and should be viewed as such. And if you're not a fan of Robert Mitchum before seeing this movie, you will be afterwards.


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