[[quoteright:256:http://static.tvtropes.org/pmwiki/pub/images/Yojimbo_2082.jpg]]

->''"I'll get paid for killing, and this town is full of people who deserve to die."''
-->-- '''Sanjūrō'''

''Yojimbo'' -- [[SpellMyNameWithAnS more correctly]] ''Yōjinbō'', meaning "bodyguard" -- is a 1961 JidaiGeki film directed by Creator/AkiraKurosawa, loosely based on Creator/DashiellHammett's novel ''Literature/RedHarvest''. It stars Creator/ToshiroMifune as wandering rōnin Sanjūrō, who arrives in a town beset by criminals and decides to clean the place up (apparently for fun and profit). His method is simple, yet clever: he reduces the number of gangsters in the town by getting the two rival factions to go to war, then mops up the remainder. An enormously influential film, it has had at least three direct remakes -- Creator/SergioLeone's ''Film/AFistfulOfDollars'' (as a Western), Creator/WalterHill's ''Film/LastManStanding'' (as a mob movie) and Albert Pyun's ''Omega Doom'' (as a sci-fi movie) -- as well as homages in numerous other films and television shows. It was even used as the basis of [[http://bulbapedia.bulbagarden.net/wiki/EP042 an episode]] of the ''Anime/{{Pokemon}}'' anime.

A year later it got a sequel titled ''Film/{{Sanjuro}}'', which was a bit more of a light-hearted comedy.
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!!''Yojimbo'' provides examples of the following tropes:

* ActionFilmQuietDramaScene: Quite a few of these. This is one reason this movie stands the test of time so well. In fact, although the plot revolves around the threat of violence, very little screentime actually depicts violence. So it hardly fits the modern concept of "action movie".
* AnimalMotifs: Akira Kurosawa had this very clearly in mind. He told Toshiro Mifune to act like a stray dog, which is why he twitches his shoulders and scratches himself a lot during the film (see CharacterTics below). Kurosawa told Creator/TatsuyaNakadai (who played Unosuke) that his character was a snake, so Nakadai [[ReptilesAreAbhorrent moves very slitheringly and doesn't blink a whole lot.]]
* AntiHero: Sanjūrō
* AxCrazy: Unosuke. Or rather, [[TriggerHappy Gun Crazy]]. He really likes his pistol.
* BadassBoast:
** Recently recovering from an injury, Sanjūrō is out to [[spoiler:rescue the innkeeper Gonbei from Unosuke's gang]]. When the sympathetic coffin-maker expressed doubt at the odds against him while he has a mere knife to fight with, Sanjūrō bellows: ''[[ItsPersonal I'll turn them into sashimi!]]''
** And earlier, when he goes to [[spoiler:rescue Nui, he goes into the house where she is being kept under guard and then comes back out to tell Inokichi that all six guards are dead. After Inokichi leaves, one of the guards comes out to see what all the noise is.]] Sanjūrō wasn't a liar for long.
** And the coolest one of them all:
--> "I guess there is no cure for stupidity except for ''death.''"
* BatmanGambit: Sanjūrō is able to destroy the two rival gangs by exploiting their leaders' personalities and the fact that both of them desperately want his skills.
* BigBad: Ushitora is the one who starts the gang war.
* BloodlessCarnage: [[ZigzaggingTrope Sometimes.]] During the fights, you won't see any wounds (except for one instance of Sanjūrō [[AnArmAndALeg cutting off a guy's arm]]) and the swords often seem to slash nothing but air. There are a couple of times when this is averted, though: once when a thug gets cut up in an alleyway and blood spurts from his body almost immediately, and again when [[spoiler:Unosuke has been slashed to bits and is very visibly bleeding out.]]
* CharacterTics: Sanjūrō has a habit of keeping one hand inside of his clothing and twitching his shoulders. The idea behind this is that he's like a wolf/dog and has fleas -- making him ''[[IncrediblyLamePun a character with ticks]]''.
* ChekhovsSkill: Sanjūrō shows he's a crack-shot as a knife thrower by passing the time throwing a knife at a shred of paper blowing around in the wind. [[spoiler: It helps him to defeat Unosuke, the gun wielder]].
* TheChessmaster: Sanuro plays both families against each other.
* ContractOnTheHitman: Sanjuro leaves the first family he hires himself out to because he overhears them plotting to kill him when the job is finished, to avoid paying him.
* CripplingTheCompetition: Sanjuro is beaten senseless for rescuing the family that Ushitora's gang was holding hostage.
* DamselInDistress: Nui, who is first sold to Seibei as a concubine, then held hostage by Unosuke who has a VillainousCrush on her before needing to be saved by Sanjuro and re-united with her husband Kohei and their son.
* DeadpanSnarker: Sanjūrō, especially when talking to Ushitora's men.
--> '''Thug 1:''' If they catch me, they'll put my head on a pike. Not to brag, but I've committed every crime in the book.
--> '''Sanjūrō:''' So you wouldn't mind if I killed you?
--> '''Thug 2:''' Kill us if you can!
--> '''Sanjūrō:''' ''*shrugs*'' It'll hurt.
* DiagonalCut: One of the last things Sanjūrō does: [[spoiler:cut the ropes binding Gonji with a single stroke, before turning around to go [[WanderingTheEarth Wander the Earth]] some more.]]
* DirtyCop: The local constable is useless and venal, and attempts to get a finders fee for recommending that Sanjūrō join one side of the gang war. Sanjūrō tells him to kill himself at the end of the film.
-->'''Sanjūrō''': Go hang yourself.
* DirtyOldMan: Tokuemon, the Sake Brewer.
* DistractedByTheSexy: Averted, although [[ExploitedTrope they give it a good try]].
* TheDitz: Inokichi doesn't even know how to count with his fingers. [[spoiler:He later helps Sanjūrō escape from Ushitora's gang, involuntarily.]]
* DontMakeMeDestroyYou: Sanjūrō warns three mooks that mocked him earlier. [[spoiler:Said mooks are all sentenced to death if caught and seem quite proud of it. Sanjūrō has thus no qualms and slays them all as a demonstration of his skills and utters the following badass line.]]
-->'''Sanjūrō:''' Cooper, two coffins... No, better make that three.
* TheDragon: Inokichi [[CoDragons and]] Unosuke to Ushitora. The latter is equipped with a brain, the former isn't.
* TheDrifter: Sanjuro. He comes across the town at random and leaves once his business is completed.
* EnemyCivilWar: What started the mob war in the first place.
* EvilMatriarch: Seibei's wife is the really nasty one in the family.
* EvilVersusEvil: The status quo at the beginning of the movie. Sanjūrō's actions just turn it UpToEleven.
* FakeoutEscape: Sanjūrō's escape from Ushitora's house starts by crawling inside a large wooden chest, to make everyone think he's already escaped.
* FatComicRelief: Inokichi, who's more pudgy than fat.
* AFistfulOfRehashes: The one that's thought to have started the rehashing chain is itself an adaptation of ''The Glass Key'', though its plot more closely follows ''Red Harvest''.
* GiantMook: [[http://historymike.blogspot.com/2009/05/namigoro-rashomon.html Kannuki the Giant]], one of Ushitora' mooks. None of the other {{Mook}}s are even as tall as his shoulders and he wields a [[{{BFS}} big freakin]]' [[DropTheHammer mallet]].
* {{Gonk}}: Most of the bad guys, except for Unosuke. Inokichi's the real standout here.
* GuileHero:
** While Sanjūrō is more than capable of handling open conflicts, he spends most of the movie implementing {{Batman Gambit}}s against his enemies instead.
** Gonji displays this [[spoiler:when he has to hide and transport a seriously injured Sanjuro.]]
* GunsAreWorthless: Being a gunslinger doesn't mean much when you gun-hand is disabled.
* GunsVsSwords: Sanjuro's katana vs. Unosuke's revolver. They both argue that their respective weapons are the best.
* HeadsOrTails: The film's opening shot shows Sanjūrō [[TheDrifter arriving at a fork in the road.]] After a few seconds of pondering, he throws a stick into the air and bases his decision on where it lands. [[ForWantOfANail The rest, as they say, is history.]]
* HollywoodHealing: Sanjūrō manages to heal quickly and apparently without lasting consequences after being beaten pretty badly. Although it takes him at least a week if not more to fully recover.
* {{Homage}}: The scene where Sanjūrō is thrown around by his face is an homage to the 1942 film version of ''The Glass Key''.
* ImprobableAimingSkills: Averted. [[spoiler:Unosuke can hit stationary targets just fine, but he misses badly in the climax when aiming at a moving Sanjūrō.]]
* IOwnThisTown: The town has ''two'' parties that are out to run it.
* ISurrenderSuckers: Subverted. [[RevolversAreJustBetter Unosuke]] [[spoiler:is so far into his death throes]] that he can't even finish Sanjūrō off at point blank range. Perhaps he considered Sanjūrō a WorthyOpponent.
* ItAmusedMe: Although Sanjuro definitely has a certain ethical desire to aid the good and punish the wicked, he seems to be motivated a fair amount by this. He only got involved in the gang war by throwing a branch in the air and he is clearly amused by the prospect of earning a little cash while exterminating the two gangs by playing them against each other.
* JerkWithAHeartOfGold:
** Sanjūrō. He's coarse, devious, treats the closest thing he has to friends like crap, and [[BreadEggsMilkSquick kills a whole bunch of people]], but inserts himself into a mob war because it's the right thing to do, and saves several people from their own stupidity.
** Gonji is this as well. [[spoiler:He could have left Sanjūrō to die, but took great risk to protect and heal Sanjūrō while the guy was injured and running from the mob. He even gets captured and strung up for his efforts, but scolds his rescuers for coming back and endangering themselves again.]]
* JobTitle: ''Yojimbo'' is a corruption of the Japanese word "yõjinbõ," which translates to "bodyguard."
* KnightErrant: Sanjuro. He just stumbles on the town the film takes place in while wandering aimlessly and gets involved in the MobWar for both justice and profit.
* LastBreathBullet: Subverted. Unosuke makes a last request that Sanjuro allow him to die with his prized gun in his hand, claiming that it is unloaded. The hero gives him the gun and he tries to pull one of these, but is so deep in his death throes that he is unable to pull the trigger.
* LineOfSightName: When asked what his name is, the ronin looks out over a field of mulberry trees and gives the name Kuwabatake (mulberry field) Sanjūrō (thirty-ish).
* LostHimInACardGame: The husband of the family in the PetTheDog example lost his wife (and their house) gambling.
* MadeOfIron: Startlingly averted. When Ushitora discovers that Sanjūrō has betrayed him, Sanjūrōis terribly beaten and kept under guard at Ushitora's place. The only way he can escape is [[spoiler:by hiding in a storage chest, tricking the gangsters into thinking he's ''already'' escaped, and ''then'' pulling off the actual escape by the skin of his teeth while Ushitora's men dash around the house searching for him. He's reduced to crawling around underneath floorboards and can't even stand, let alone hold his own in a fight.]]
* MasterSwordsman: Sanjūrō, naturally. It comes back to bite him when [[spoiler:Unosuke notes that he's the only one skilled enough with a sword to kill six men single-handed.]] In the final showdown, [[spoiler:he takes on ten men, including a GiantMook and a guy with a gun, killing nine of them (the tenth he lets go out of mercy).]]
* MinionWithAnFInEvil: Inokichi, who, while boisterous, is so slow-witted he's almost charming.
* MobWar
* MrExposition: Gonji, who lays out the present situation and what led up to it for Sanjūrō (and the audience).
* NervesOfSteel:
** Sanjūrō, as best displayed during [[spoiler:the escape scene. Even after being beaten within an inch of his life, he's still able to think clearly enough to make an effective getaway.]]
** Gonji, with none of the training or skills that Sanjūrō has, [[spoiler:manages to bluff his way past gangsters and through a mob war to get an injured Sanjūrō to safety.]]
* NeverBringAKnifeToAGunfight: [[spoiler:Averted. Sanjūrō wins.]]
* NiceJobBreakingItHero: [[spoiler:The family Sanjūrō saved sends him a letter of thanks. Unosuke spots it, leading to Sanjūrō's capture and torture.]]
* NiceJobFixingItVillain: [[spoiler:Kannuki tossing Sanjūrō around like a ragdoll during one of the torture sessions breaks the lock on a storage box. Sanjūrō hides in it to trick the guards into thinking that he has escaped, and then makes a break for it as they go on the hunt.]]
* NoHoldsBarredBeatdown: Sanjuro is severely beaten by the villains when he releases the family.
* NoNameGiven: The main character's real name is not revealed. "Kuwabatake Sanjūrō" is just a name he made up on the spot.
* OnlyInItForTheMoney: Sanjūrō behaves like this at the start, and Gonji chews him out several times for it.
* PetTheDog
** Sanjūrō manages to save a family that's been caught between the quarrels of the two gangs, which [[JerkWithAHeartOfGold makes him less overtly antiheroic.]] In order to act a little more rugged, Sanjūrō [[ShooTheDog threatens them with death if they don't get the hell out of there fast enough.]] He does so with good reason: if they're caught, they'll likely be killed.
** Also, at the very beginning of the film, he chances to see a farmer boy quarreling with his parents; he intends to join one of the gangs, thinking that the excitement and riches are preferable to a boring life of farming and eating gruel. [[spoiler:Near the end of the film, Sanjūrō actually has that ''same farmer-turned-gangster'' at swordpoint. Rather than cut him down, though, Sanjūrō just remarks to him that perhaps the gruel-eating life ''is'' better than this. The boy, elated at this mercy, runs off.]]
* PlayingBothSides: This film is probably the [[TropeCodifier codifying]] example, at least in cinema. It's the most identifiable element in the remakes ''Film/AFistfulOfDollars'' and ''Film/LastManStanding'', and the film is often cited as a primary influence on later works that revolve around this premise.
* PrematurelyMarkedGrave: The local gravedigger sizes up Sanjūrō for the coffin he will need to build.
* PsychopathicManchild: Inokichi is somewhere between being the big DumbMuscle and between appearing endearing and harmless.
* RockBeatsLaser: [[spoiler:Unosuke and his overconfidence in his gun are no match for a superbly trained samurai like Sanjūrō, who defeats him easily with his throwing knife and a [[KatanasAreJustBetter single deadly katana]] blow]].
* {{Ronin}}: Sanjūrō
* SaloonOwner: Gonji, who becomes Sanjuro's ally, albeit reluctantly.
* SanitySlippage: Tazaemon, the silk merchant, falls victim to this. His grip on reality is tenuous even at the start of the film, and by the end [[spoiler:he appears to have gone completely insane.]]
* SamuraiPonytail: Sanjūrō is a poor ronin with a short, scruffy ponytail that sticks straight out of the back of his head.
* SeanConneryIsAboutToShootYou: Based on the poster, Sanjūrō is either going to cut your throat or take your head off with his katana.
* SeeYouInHell: [[spoiler:Unosuke's final words to Sanjūrō.]]
* ShooTheDog: When the family Sanjuro's helping is too shellshocked to do anything but thank him:
--> Take the gold and run. Start a new life. ''[the family can hardly move for emotion, but all bow in respect]'' Just ''go!'' Stop groveling, I hate beggars. Run ''now'' or I swear I'll kill you myself!
* ShopKeeper: Gonji, the much put-upon restaurant owner, and the cooper/coffin-maker next door.
* ShowdownAtHighNoon: Sanjuro prepares for a JidaiGeki version of the showdown problem is, his opponent has the only revolver in town.
* SlasherSmile:
** Unosuke's default facial expression.
** After [[spoiler:Sanjūrō escapes, having taken a severe beating,]] Gonji tells him he doesn't look alive... and it's even worse when he smiles.
* TerrorHero: It's part of Sanjūrō's GuileHero shtick. By establishing himself as Alpha Badass early on, he gets to play both gang leaders and intimidate every {{Mook}} to allow him free reign in the town.
* ThoseTwoGuys: Those fired thugs of Ushitora's who Sanjūrō holds hostage.
* {{Undertaker}}: The cooper/coffin-maker.
* WalkingTheEarth: At the beginning, Sanjūrō wanders in whatever direction a casually thrown branch suggests.
* WarForFunAndProfit:
** The casket-maker has this attitude.
** Sanjūrō himself, at first. While he tells Gonji he's going to get rid of the gangs, his reasoning is basically summed up by the fact that he gets to kill men who deserve to die and get paid for it.
* WeaponOfChoice: Unosuke wears a sword, but shows the constable the pistol he got in his travels and proceeds to never be seen without it in any given scene.
* WouldntHitAGirl: Ushitora's men allow Seibei's women to flee when his gang attacks Seibei's house [[spoiler:but not Seibei's wife.]]
* YouAreNumberSix: Sanjuro gives himself a number-name due to the fact that "I'm about 36 (san-3, ju-10 ro[ku]-6) years old." His other name is due to the grove of mulberry trees he happens to be looking at. Yay, sericulture.
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