[[caption-width-right:267:Top to bottom: Eiko, Kilmer, Ken]]

''The Yakuza'' is a 1974 film directed by Creator/SydneyPollack. (Retired) detective Harry Kilmer (Creator/RobertMitchum) goes to Japan to help out an old friend, George Tanner (Creator/BrianKeith), who had been dealing with the {{yakuza}}. The {{yakuza}} had kidnapped his daughter and her boyfriend to [[AnOfferYouCantRefuse coerce Tanner into a business deal]].

Harry and Tanner's friendship goes back to UsefulNotes/WorldWarII, when they served together as Marines in Japan. While in Japan, Harry had fallen in love with a local woman, Eiko, and helped save her sick daughter. Eiko's brother Ken was disgraced by his sister's relationship with a former enemy soldier and he disappeared into the yakuza underworld. However, since Ken owes a lifelong debt (called ''[[PillarsOfMoralCharacter giri]]'' in the movie) to Harry, he reluctantly joins them to help rescue Tanner's daughter.

They successfully rescue the hostages, but in doing so they anger the yakuza and contracts on Ken and Harry's lives are issued. Harry refuses to abandon Ken and his family while their lives are in danger, defending them from yakuza attackers, but he eventually learns [[TheReveal how much pain his presence in their lives has caused them]]. Despite this, Ken and Harry overcome their differences, helped by Harry's openness to Japanese tradition.

The film emphasizes Japanese tradition and honor among the yakuza, and remarkably has two {{yubitsume}} scenes.

The film was written by Paul Schrader and his brother Leonard. Paul would notably go on to write ''Film/TaxiDriver''. Rewrites were also undertaken by Creator/RobertTowne who wrote ''Film/{{Chinatown}}''.

If you went to this page hoping for a page describing the yakuza, sorry. [[{{Yakuza}} It's here]].
! This {{film}} provides examples of:

* AnOfferYouCantRefuse: Tanner's daughter is kidnapped by the yakuza as leverage for a deal
* AsianBabymama: Harry is not Hanako's biological father, but he acts like her adoptive one. Of course, true to his roots, Kilmer hasn't seen either Eiko or Hanako in twenty years, instead choosing to go back to America when his service was up and Eiko refused to marry him.
* BornInTheWrongCentury: Ken, according to his brother.
* CampingACrapper: Averted; several Yakuza thugs follow Ken into the mens room of a nightclub. He's waiting for them behind the door, but they only want to talk.
* ClothingDamage: Ken has a ShirtlessScene by the end of the FinalBattle.
* ConservationOfNinjutsu: Ken and Kilmer vs. yakuza goons
* CultureClash
* DisposableWoman
* DoorSlamsYou
* DuelToTheDeath: In a film about honor, inevitable.
* FaceHeelTurn: [[spoiler: Tanner betrays Kilmer. Kilmer repays him with several bullets.]]
* FedoraOfAsskicking: The Yakuza man who holds Eiko at knifepoint. [[spoiler:It hides the spider tattoo on his forehead, revealing that he's Ken's nephew.]]
* FireForgedFriends: Subverted; [[spoiler:it's not until Kilmer's act of atonement that Ken can truly accept his friendship.]]
* GunsAkimbo: Kilmer wields a Colt .45 with a .38 pistol [[spoiler:while storming Tanner's office]] or a double-barreled shotgun (for the FinalBattle).
* HardboiledDetective: Only Bogart could do better than Mitchum here.
* HeelFaceTurn: [[spoiler:Dusty admits that he knew all along what Tanner was up to, and asks to make it up to Kilmer.]]
* HonorBeforeReason
* ImprovisedWeapon: Ken knocks down several yakuza with a ''bicycle!''
* ItsPersonal: See SacrificialLion
* KatanasAreJustBetter
* LoopholeAbuse: According to Yakuza tradition, Ken must kill Tono with a sword. However there's no such restraints on Kilmer, who can use firearms to hold off Tono's numerous bodyguards.
* LoveTriangle: See TheReveal
* MeaningfulEcho: "Please accept [[{{fingore}} this token]] of my apology."
* MightyWhitey: Averted in that it's a large part of the film that Harry has to work to understand Japanese values and culture and needs Ken as a guide. And by the time the final battle rolls around, it's clearly [[ItsPersonal Ken's fight]] and Harry is his support.
* MyGodWhatHaveIDone: Kilmer at TheReveal, and Ken when he [[spoiler: kills his nephew in retribution for Hanako's murder in the final battle]]
* OnlyICanKillHim: [[spoiler: Ken has to kill Tono according to the Yakuza code, while Harry demands the right to take care of Tanner himself.]]
* OhCrap (to go with MyGodWhatHaveIDone)
* PillarsOfMoralCharacter: ''Giri'' is explicitly mentioned, though the others are important too.
* RetiredBadass
* TheReveal: Kilmer gets some new perspective on the film's backstory. [[spoiler: Eiko is not actually Ken's sister, but ''his wife''.]]
* [[strike: {{Revenge}} ]] [[ItsPersonal Honor]]
* SacrificialLion: [[spoiler: Hanako]]
* SheIsAllGrownUp: Hanako
* TheStoic: Ken is called as The Man Who Never Smiles.
* TattooedCrook
* ThereWasADoor: Easy to do when the walls are made of paper.
* {{Yakuza}}
* {{Yubitsume}}: [[spoiler:Ken in atonement for killing his nephew, after he'd promised his brother not to harm him. In a surprise twist Kilmer, on the verge of leaving Japan at the end of the movie, returns to Ken's place and cuts off his own finger, apologising for the pain he's caused Ken and asking that he forgive Eiko.]]
* WallOfWeapons: In Oliver Wheat's house.