Watch It

On DVD: Now | On Blu-ray: Now

Throne of Blood Details


is reimagined as a samurai in feudal Japan in director Akira Kurosawa's classic adaptation of the Shakespearean tragedy. Familiar with Orson Welles's more faithful adaptation, Kurosawa chose to place a more personal stamp on his version by translating the events and characters to historical Japan. The equivalent of the tragic Scottish lord is Taketoki Washizu (Toshiro Mifune), a valiant warrior whose life is transformed by an encounter with a ghostly female spirit. The spirit offers several predictions, finally stating that Washizu will rise to power over the current warlord. When these predictions begin coming true, he and his ambitious wife decide to ensure his ascendancy to power by murdering the current ruler. As with Macbeth, Washizu achieves his goal, but his guilt and the suspicions of others soon bring about his downfall. The shift to Japanese settings is seamless, creating a historically accurate and resonant work with a culturally distinct visual style. The supporting performances also recall Japanese tradition, particularly Isuzu Yamada's creepily unemotional take on Lady Macbeth, while Mifune proves consistently gripping in the sheer intensity of his performance. The intelligence of Kurosawa's alterations retains the drama's tragic impact, especially during the conclusion, in which Washizu makes a memorable final stand against an advancing army. Impressive in every regard, Throne of Blood seems secure in the pantheon of superior film adaptations of William Shakespeare. ~ Judd Blaise, Rovi

  • Release date:November 22, 1957


Toshiro Mifune
as Taketoki Washizu
Isuzu Yamada
as Asaji
Minoru Chiaki
as Yoshaki Miki
Takashi Shimura
as Noriyasu Odagura
Akira Kubo
as Yoshiteru
Yoichi Tachikawa
as Kunimaru
Takamaru Sasaki
as Kuniharu Tsuzuki
Chieko Naniwa
as Witch


Akira Kurosawa
Akira Kurosawa
Shojiro Motoki
Ryuzo Kikushima
Hideo Oguni
Akira Kurosawa
William Shakespeare
Play Author
Shinobu Hashimoto
Asakazu Nakai
Masaru Sato
Composer (Music Score)
Akira Kurosawa
Yoshiro Muraki
Art Director