Toshiro Mifune was the legendary Japanese actor who appeared in almost 170 feature films. He’s best remembered for his roles in Akira Kurosawa films. He was the perfect portrayal of a samurai. Mifune was tough! But he was more than just tough, he was funny. And unlike a lot of western tough-guys, he could act! Mifune could be clownish (Seven Samurai), stoic (“Samurai” trilogy) or tender (Red Beard).
My first encounter with Mifune was Rashomon, where he plays the roaring bandit. Then I watched Yojimbo, where he plays the proud, invincible samurai. Then my jaws dropped permanently after I watched Seven Samurai, where Mifune plays the fearless, reckless, funny samurai. Well, if Kurosawa is your greatest director of all times, then you will agree that Mifune is the greatest actor- such is my case!
I’ve never known an actor as adorable as Mifune. I’m sure, if heaven exists, he’s up there, drinking sake with Miyamoto Musashi and Kurosawa, the three then discussing art and cinema with Satyajit Ray and then jamming all night with Hendrix!
Just kidding. Heaven doesn’t exist. They are long dead with nothing but their incredible work left behind.
Arguably one of the most versatile actors of all time.
Loved his role in Yojimbo ,The Clint Eastwood of Japan 🙂
A Total Nut in Seven Samurai
A Man Defending His Honor In Rashômon
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The thing about Mifune is that he was one of a couple actors I can think of whose performances radically changed the vibe he emitted from the screen. Besides Yojimbo, Kikuchiyo from Seven Samurai and Niide from Red Beard, he also played an obsessive, vulnerable tough guy in both The Idiot and Drunken Angel. Those were roles that were almost painful to watch; you believed he was actually a person trying to act tough, eventually letting his demons and limitations get the best of him.
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