Follow TV Tropes


Film / Legend of the Eight Samurai

Go To

Legend of [the] Eight Samurai (Satomi Hakkenden) is a 1983 Japanese fantasy blockbuster from Kinji Fukasaku, the director of Battle Royale, set in the Edo period. It's based on the 1982 novel Shin Satomi Hakkenden, a loose retelling of the 19th century Japanese epic Nansō Satomi Hakkenden.

It would in turn inspire a 1989 Famicom JRPG titled Shin Satomi Hakkenden: Hikari to Yami no Tatakai ("Shin Satomi Hakkenden: Battle of Light and Darkness").

The film stars Hiroko Yakushimaru as Princess Shizu. Hiroyuki Sanada, Shinichi Chiba and Sue Shiomi are among the eight titular samurai.

This film provides examples of:

  • Badass Crew: The titular eight samurai, who battles Queen Tamazusa's army to put an end to her reign.
  • "Blind Idiot" Translation: The English dub makes reference to ninja; also, the English-language trailer infamously can't decide whether the title is Legend of Eight Samurai or Legend of Eight Ninjas. Apart from the fact that ninja are more concerned about covert activity than honor, Legend of Eight Ninjas is grammatically incorrect.
  • Blood Bath: Tamazusa bathes in blood to rejuvenate herself.
  • Cain and Abel: After revealing that Shinbei is the son of Tamazusa and Motofuji's younger brother, Motofuji kills Shinbei for playing the flute Shizu gave him that distresses his mother. Shinbei, being brought Back from the Dead and his original personality restored, returns the favor and kills his older brother.
  • Crossdresser: Keno is a Shirabyoshi. Shizu-hime pulls a Sweet Polly Oliver while on the run from Tamazusa's thugs.
  • The Chosen Many: There are eight people destined to protect Princess Shizu, whether the stone is chooses the person, or were received from birth. The final chosen one is Shinbei, who turned out to be the son of the Big Bad.
  • Death of a Child: Those poor kids in the village massacre...
  • Due to the Dead: Shinbei and Princess Shizu give the two kids who died in the village raid a proper burial.
  • Even Evil Has Loved Ones: Queen Tamazusa and Prince Motofuji, as wicked as they are, genuinely loves each other. Near the end of the film, Tamazusa completely lose it when Motofuji is slain by Shinbei.
  • The Evil Prince: Tamazusa's son, Prince Motofuji, is as evil as his mother, gleefully carrying out massacres of entire villages and antagonizing the heroes. He serves as The Dragon to his mom.
  • Gender Flip: Keno's biologically female in this one, whereas in the original source material Recursive Crossdressing was at work (as the character was originally a male disguised as a Shirabyoshi).
  • Heel–Face Turn: Genpachi has one after discovering the crystal in his hand during a village raid. He promptly abandons his own troops and joins Dosetsu's group.
  • Irony: Shinbei is the son of Queen Tamazusa and Motofuji's brother. Fate would make him as one of The Chosen Many, and betrays his evil family.
  • Off with His Head!: The fate of several mooks when fighting members of the eight who use sharp weapons. Shinbei in particular hacks off an enemy soldier's head and sends the cranium flying towards the last twelve or so mooks, who then pulls a Screw This, I'm Outta Here almost immediately (leaving their queen facing the remaining heroes alone).
  • Poisonous Person: The women kidnapped by Motofuji were brainwashed and become poisonous by Genjin.
  • Redemption Equals Death: Genpachi volunteers to scout for traps in Tamazusa's hideout "because I've killed too many people just for sport, even women and children!" Naturally, he's the first of the eight to die.
  • Spell My Name with a "The": As indicated by the brackets around the indicated word in the title above, the onscreen title is simply Legend of Eight Samurai. No "the", despite what other materials (save for the trailer; see "Blind Idiot" Translation above for more) may tell you.
  • Star-Crossed Lovers: Shino loves his adopted sister Hamaji, but family interference would result in her death, and they were forced to kill each other when Genjin brings her back to life and turn her into his brainwashed slave.
  • Storming the Castle: The climax have the eight samurai, with Princess Shizu with them, raiding Queen Tamazusa's fortress and battling their way through hordes and hordes of enemies, taking down the queen's lieutenants and most powerful monsters before facing the queen herself.
  • Sweet Polly Oliver: As noted above, Princess Shizu disguises herself as a young boy early in the film in order to conceal her identity from Tamazusa's troops.
  • Vasquez Always Dies: Happens to Keno during the climactic showdown sequence.
  • Warrior Princess: Princess Shizu leads the fight against the evil Queen Tamazusa's tyranny. And lands the killing blow on the queen in the final battle.

Alternative Title(s): Legend Of Eight Samurai