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->''"The part that was the most interesting in ''Hidden Fortress'' was that it was told from the point of view of the farmers, and not from the point of view of the princess. I liked that idea."''
-->-- '''GeorgeLucas'''

''Kakushi Toride no San Akunin'' (approximately "Three Bad Men of the Hidden Fortress") was Creator/AkiraKurosawa's first widescreen film. The film is a JidaiGeki with an interesting twist: rather than concentrating on TheHero, the film instead focuses on a [[ThoseTwoGuys pair of bickering peasants]], with none of the other major characters putting in an appearance until twenty minutes or so in. Once the audience's sympathies have been firmly attached to the peasants, the [[KnightInShiningArmor Hero]], the RebelliousPrincess, and the rest of the film's major characters begin to show up. From then on, it's a series of hairbreadth escapes as the protagonists have to travel through enemy territory to reach safety.

This film is best known in the West for the idea of focusing on the peasants at first; this storytelling tool provided the inspiration for [[StarWars two droids named R2-D2 and C-3P0]].

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!! This film provides examples of:
* AsYouKnow: InfoDump in the opening scene in conversation between Tahei and Matashichi to let the audience know, [[HowWeGotHere how they got there]]:
--> "First, we arrived late to the war. Then they mistook us for the defeated side and forced us to bury the dead. We finally escaped, and now it's been two days that we've only had water."
* AttemptedRape: Kinda disturbing since Tahei and Matashichi regularly make passes at 16-year-old Princess Yuki and even draw straws while [[DudeShesLikeInAComa she's asleep]] to see who will "have some fun". It's played for laughs.
* AuthorityEqualsAsskicking: Justified with Hyoe Tadokoro, who certainly moved up to his high rank thanks to his superb fighting skills.
* AutomatonHorses: Actually the horses are treated respectfully, with the exception of the scene where Makabe jumps on a totally random horse and chases down some enemies without using the reins. But then, he's [[{{Badass}} just that good.]]
* {{Badass}}: Makabe Rokurota - no surprise here, as he is played by ToshiroMifune.
* BehindTheBlack: Half way through the movie, after another attempt by Tahei and Matashichi to get away with the gold, they return to the spot where they left off Princess Yuki. They don't see anybody until they turn their look to the side and notice the princess and Rokurota standing by the rock face. They should have seen them all along.
* BigOlEyebrows: Princess Yuki, though hers are no match for those of Makabe Rokuruta as played by ToshiroMifune.
* BladeLock: Several, during the spear fight between Rokurota and Hyoe.
* BladeOnAStick: A really nifty duel with these.
* BloodFromTheMouth: The [[RedShirt dying warrior]] early on shows this.
* BodyguardCrush: Somewhat implied between the princess and Rokurota, though it's not clear who likes who. Not helped by Rokurota pretending that she's his woman.
* {{Bookends}}: The movie starts and ends with a shot of Tahei and Matashichi arguing with each other.
* CaveBehindTheFalls: The princess and her entourage is [[ExactlyWhatItSaysOnTheTin hiding in a cave behind a waterfall]].
* ColourCodedForYourConvenience: The flags of the evil cavalry are black, the flags of the friendly forces are white.
* CombatByChampion: Nobody interferes in the duel between Makabe and Hyoe, even to letting the victor ride off unharmed.
* CrowdSong: At the fire festival, the huge crowds of celebrants are dancing with well-choreographed moves. Subverted, though, as the crowd has obviously practiced, and when our heroes join in, they're horribly out of step.
* CruelMercy: After being defeated in duel, Hyoe demands to be killed by Rokurota but the latter decides to spare his life, much to Hyoe's dislike.
* DecoyGetaway: Rokurota's sister was used as a BodyDouble for the princess and [[HeroicSacrifice gets killed]] by the enemy. The princess is outraged when she hears of it and sheds some TearsOfRemorse.
* DecoyProtagonist: Creator/ToshiroMifune gets top billing but technically his character is just the SupportingProtagonist. The real focus are the two greedy peasants.
* EvenEvilHasStandards: While not being particularly evil, Tahei and Matashichi are clearly lacking morals. Still one of them refuses to steal the dead warrior's weapons early on.
* ExpositionDiagram: One of the peasants draws up a map in the sand to explain their plan how to cross borders to Hayakawa.
* FaceHeelTurn: Averted with the farm girl, who after learning about the award of 10 gold pieces, decides to no rat out her four liberators. On more than one level she [[{{Foil}} represents the opposite]] of what Tahei and Matashichi stand for.
* FriendlyEnemy: Hyoe Tadokoro.
* GiveMeASword: Makabe snatches spears from random soldiers until he finds a satisfactory one before fighting Hyoe.
* GrayRainOfDepression: The low point on the journey comes during a rainstorm.
* HappinessInSlavery: The farm girl that they buy off a pimp eventually becomes extremely protective of Princess Yuki.
* TheHero: Makabe Rokuruta, despite the peasants being the central characters.
* HeelFaceTurn: [[spoiler:Hyoe]]
* HeroicSacrifice: [[spoiler:Makabe's sister Kofuyu, and the two elderly servants.]]
* HeterosexualLifePartners: Tahei and Matashichi.
* HollywoodDarkness: The climatic night battle scene was clearly shot in day time. Lampshaded by showing a full moon.
* HollywoodDensity: A point is made about how heavy gold is, and the characters are staggering under the weight. But based on the volumes of their packs, they should be carrying between two and three tons of the stuff each.
* HopeSpot: Towards the end, Wwen Rokurota, the princess and the slave girl get sight of their homeland land, only to be captured by enemy forces right after.
* IAmSpartacus: Happens twice to protect the princess. Once with [[spoiler:[[BodyDouble Kofuyu]]]] who dies, and again with [[spoiler:the farm girl]] who lives.
* IdiosyncraticWipes: A horizontal screen wipe is used for a couple of scene transitions.
* IWillOnlySlowYouDown: The slave girl, who gets wounded during battle, requests to be left behind, which Rokurota refuses to accept.
* KabukiSounds: The score combines these with western-style film music.
* KingIncognito: Well, princess incognito.
* LargeHam: Princess Yuki, whose dialog comes in one flavor: ANGRY.
* LiveActionEscortMission / MacGuffinEscortMission: The plot is about taking Princess Yuki and the gold from Akizuki via Yamana to Hayakawa.
* LovableTraitor: The peasants will run for it at the first sign of danger, taking whatever gold they can manage, but still manage to redeem themselves.
* MobileShrubbery: The two peasants in the final battle, evading capture by playing "moving bush".
* NoHonorAmongThieves: Tahei and Matashichi attempt to sell one another out. Then they attempt to sell out their protector. Then they attempt to sell out the princess. And at the end [[KarmaHoudini they are rewarded for it]].
* NoIndoorVoice: Princess Yuki, who manages to pull it off while avoiding {{Narm}}.
* NotAfraidToDie: [[spoiler:Princess Yuki]] becomes this towards the end, due to having an epiphany at the fire festival.
* NuclearCandle: When Tahei and Matashichi settle down for the first night, their tiny camp fire illuminate the entire area.
* OnlyInItForTheMoney: Tahei and Matashichi's motivation to join the party is purely driven by greed.
* PinballProtagonist
* PoseOfSupplication: When Tahei and Matashichi finally see the princess in full regalia.
* RebelliousPrincess: Princess Yuki. She like hitting people with a stick.
* RedShirts: The two mooks that Rokurota takes hostage and who later try to flee in the night and get killed by [[FriendOrFoe friendly fire]].
* RefugeInAudacity: How does Rokurota get the gold concealed in the firewood past the checkpoint? By marching straight up to it and showing the samurai on guard one of the pieces of gold which he claimed to have found on the mountain - then he makes a fuss about getting them to give it back to him to distract the guards while the others hustle through with the rest of it.
* ReversePsychology: Makabe tries this on the Princess. She catches on, but goes along with it anyway.
* RightUnderTheirNoses: Sneaking by posing as woodcutters, with gold inside the wood.
* {{Samurai}}
* ScrewThisImOuttaHere: Tahei and Matashichi have a couple of these moments.
* ShoutOut: When the horde of prisoners run down the stairs to meet the army. This is a reference to the famous scene on the Odessa stairs in ''Film/BattleshipPotemkin''.
* TheSpeechless: Invoked. Princess Yuki pretends to be deaf-mute to protect her identity.
* SpiritualSuccessor: In interview George Lucas stated that ''Film/TheHiddenFortress'' was one of the greatest inspirations for ''Film/ANewHope''. It's a story about a princess and her protectors, told through the eyes of two lesser characters. In ''Hidden Fortress'' it is the two thieves; in ''Star Wars'' it is [=C3PO=] and [=R2D2=]. In both films the comical interplay between the two characters is a major theme. Lucas' original draft called for the two droids, the princess and an aging Jedi general as her protector, before eventually turning that to Luke Skywalker.
* SupportingProtagonist
* TastyGold: One of the two peasants chews on a gold stick to test its authenticity.
* TearsOfRemorse: At one point Princess Yuki runs away and stands on a mountaintop crying her eyes out for her friend's sacrifice, since she's too proud to let anybody see her vulnerable side.
* ThoseTwoGuys / VitriolicBestBuds: Tahei and Matashichi, naturally!
* TitleDrop: "It's what they call a hidden fortress."
* TomboyPrincess: Princess Yuki was an only child raised as a boy by her father. It shows.
* TrappedBehindEnemyLines: In order to avoid a heavily guarded border crossing, our heroes have to venture into the heart of enemy territory.
* WhipItGood: The princess carries a horse whip.
* YouHaveFailedMe: Happens offscreen, but Hyoe is mutilated by his overlord.

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