The Magnificent Mifune

January 7 - February 2

"Toshiro Mifune was the first movie hero who wasn't a white guy. He didn't demean himself or belittle his culture. And he didn't take shit from anyone." — Steven Okazaki, director of MIFUNE: THE LAST SAMURAI

From January 7 through February 2, the Gene Siskel Film Center presents The Magnificent Mifune, a seven-film tribute to the legendary Japanese actor who was instrumental in defining the modern action hero and raising awareness of Asian cinema in the west.

Toshirô Mifune (1920-1997) appeared in over 170 films, but he is best remembered for the ones he made with director Akira Kurosawa. The two men's careers were closely intertwined for nearly twenty years. It was Kurosawa, acting on an actress's tip, who spotted Mifune at an open-call audition in 1946 and persuaded the studio to sign him. Mifune's first role was in SNOW TRAIL (1947), written by Kurosawa, and DRUNKEN ANGEL (1948), his first film under Kurosawa's direction, is the one that the director considered his first truly personal work.

Mifune's dynamic performance spearheaded RASHOMON (1950), the film that gained international recognition for both Kurosawa and the Japanese cinema as a whole. From DRUNKEN ANGEL through RED BEARD (1965), sixteen of Kurosawa's seventeen films starred Mifune, many of them revered classics. Theirs was likely the greatest actor-director collaboration in movie history.

The series begins with the Chicago premiere of the acclaimed documentary portrait MIFUNE: THE LAST SAMURAI. Featured are Mifune's signature roles for Kurosawa: the rapacious bandit in RASHOMON, the peasant desperate to be a samurai in SEVEN SAMURAI, the Macbeth-derived warlord in THRONE OF BLOOD, and the supercool swordslinger in YOJIMBO. Also included are Mifune's key supporting role in Mizoguchi's THE LIFE OF OHARU, and his conflicted samurai in the best of the films made by his own production company, SAMURAI REBELLION.

— Martin Rubin, Associate Director of Programming

Buy a ticket at our regular prices for the first "The Magnificent Mifune" film on any applicable Saturday in January, and get a ticket for the second Mifune film that day at the discounted rate with proof of your original purchase: General Admission $7; Students $5; Members $4. (This discount rate applies to the second feature only. Discount available in person at the box office only.)


Chicago premiere!

Mifune: The Last Samurai

2015, Steven Okazaki, USA, 80 min. Narrated by Keanu Reeves.


  • Sat, Jan 7th 3:00pm
  • Mon, Jan 9th 6:00pm

Throne of Blood

蜘蛛巣城 / Kumonosu-jō

1957, Akira Kurosawa, Japan, 105 min. With Toshirô Mifune, Isuzu Yamada.


  • Sat, Jan 7th 4:45pm
  • Thu, Jan 12th 6:00pm

Seven Samurai

七人の侍 / Shichinin no Samurai

1954, Akira Kurosawa, Japan, 207 min. With Toshirô Mifune, Takashi Shimura.


  • Sat, Jan 14th 3:00pm
  • Mon, Jan 16th 6:30pm
  • Wed, Jan 18th 6:30pm


用心棒 / Yōjinbō

1961, Akira Kurosawa, Japan, 110 min. With Toshirô Mifune, Tatsuya Nakadai.


  • Sat, Jan 21st 3:00pm
  • Tue, Jan 24th 6:00pm

Samurai Rebellion

上意討ち 拝領妻始末 / Jōi-uchi: Hairyō tsuma shimatsu

1967, Masaki Kobayashi, Japan, 128 min. With Toshirô Mifune, Tatsuya Nakadai.


  • Sat, Jan 21st 5:15pm
  • Thu, Jan 26th 6:00pm


羅生門 / Rashōmon

1950, Akira Kurosawa, Japan, 88 min. With Toshirô Mifune, Machiko Kyô.


  • Sat, Jan 28th 3:00pm
  • Mon, Jan 30th 6:00pm

The Life of Oharu

西鶴一代女 / Saikaku Ichidai Onna

1952, Kenji Mizoguchi, Japan, 136 min. With Kinuyo Tanaka, Toshirô Mifune.


  • Sat, Jan 28th 4:45pm
  • Thu, Feb 2nd 6:00pm