36 user 40 critic

The Challenge (1982)

R | | Action, Drama | 23 July 1982 (USA)
A down-and-out American boxer becomes involved in a feud between two Japanese brothers.


John Frankenheimer




Cast overview, first billed only:
Scott Glenn ... Rick
Toshirô Mifune ... Yoshida
Donna Kei Benz Donna Kei Benz ... Akiko
Atsuo Nakamura Atsuo Nakamura ... Hideo
Calvin Jung Calvin Jung ... Ando
Clyde Kusatsu ... Go
Sab Shimono ... Toshio
Kiyoaki Nagai Kiyoaki Nagai ... Kubo
Kenta Fukasaku Kenta Fukasaku ... Jiro
Shôgo Shimada ... Father of Yoshida
Yoshio Inaba Yoshio Inaba ... Instructor
Seiji Miyaguchi ... Old Man
Miiko Taka ... Yoshida's Wife
Akio Kameda Akio Kameda ... Boxer
Hisashi Osaka Hisashi Osaka ... Knifeman


Rick, a down-and-out American boxer, is hired to transport a sword to Japan, unaware that the whole thing is a set up in a bitter blood-feud between two brothers, one who follows the traditional path of the samurai and the other a businessman. At the behest of the businessman, Rick undertakes samurai training from the other brother, but joins his cause. He also becomes romantically involved with the samurai's daughter. Written by <scrow@chop.isca.uiowa.edu>

Plot Summary | Add Synopsis


He has trained every thought, every muscle, every nerve, for the moment of truth! See more »


Action | Drama


R | See all certifications »

Parents Guide:

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Did You Know?


According to Scott Glenn, the original script was about a ruthless club fighter from California with no family and no real background who gets involved in bringing a sword to Japan, and through a lot of crazy adventures he winds up with a martial arts sensei. The core of the movie would have been about father and son finding each other from completely different cultures. After shooting started, Glenn became aware very quickly that all those character-driven scenes were either being cut or shortened to almost non-existence, and that he was doing a martial arts movie. Toshirô Mifune came to him and told him: "Look, this is what's happening. I'm disappointed, and I know you are, but this is what it is. So you can either have your heart broken every day, or you can use this experience as an opportunity to be spending an interesting time in Japan with me as your tour guide." Glenn accepted Mifune's offer. See more »


After Akiko disappears at the street festival, Rick runs into a guy with a walkie-talkie. As they're talking, people passing in the background look at the camera, duck, and run out of frame. See more »


Rick: Any rules?
Yoshida: One fights to survive.
See more »

Alternate Versions

In Australia, the film was cut to garner an 'M' rating for its theatrical distribution but the uncut 'R' rated version was released on home videocassette there. See more »

User Reviews

Keeps coming to mind.
20 May 2000 | by khodgmanSee all my reviews

This isn't an award winning film. This isn't a well known film. But it has a good premise and is one of my secret pleasures. Two Brothers in a long standing feud over an ancient family sword and an American "dupe" that's been thrown into the fray. We watch his journey and education in a different culture with different values (yet oddly similar to ours, and riddled with similar weaknesses.)

The reason I know I like this one (even with all the flaws) is that it keeps coming to mind from time to time. And after some thought, I think it boils down to basic examinations of how to live one's life. How important is Honor? Is it better to take the quick and easy $ or to work for it? How important are family bonds? Are the modern ways of life any better than the traditional ones? Is it ever too late to turn your life around? And so forth. These are why I like this movie. Sure it can come off as a bit preachy about duty, honor, loyalty and traditional ways, but it has always made me think about what is the best way to live one's life.

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USA | Japan


English | Japanese

Release Date:

23 July 1982 (USA) See more »

Also Known As:

Equals See more »

Filming Locations:

Kyoto, Japan See more »


Box Office

Gross USA:


Cumulative Worldwide Gross:

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Company Credits

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Technical Specs


Sound Mix:



Color (Eastmancolor)

Aspect Ratio:

1.85 : 1
See full technical specs »

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