DVD Title
Samurai Rebellion
International Title
Samurai Rebellion
DVD Length Original Length
121 Minutes 121 Minutes
Company Year of Manufacture
Criterion 2005
Language Subtitles
Japanese English
Region Number of Discs
1 1
Aspect Ratio Sound
2.35:1 (Anamorphic) 1.0 Mono
. Menus (English)
. Chapters (24)
. Trailers: Samurai Rebellion
. Interview with director Masaki Kobayashi (3 Minutes)
. 4 page essay by Donald Richie found in the booklet

Criterion's release of Samurai Rebellion is a mixed affair, although far from bad all the same. The video presentation tends to get the most uneven results, although the audio presentation is also fairly simple while the disc is only complimented with a very modest selection of extras.


A decent, if not mixed, video presentation from Criterion. For most of the film's duration, the video quality looks fairly good, sporting a nice sharp array of detail to the frame without overt signs of digital inconsistencies. Noise levels are also good, with a fairly low level of grain visible. Unfortunately, the presentation isn't always so smooth, in particular the start of the feature which has much more severe print damage present, including numerous scratches and an annoying light flicker. Several other sequences later in the movie also look to have been damaged or are from less pristine source material. Thankfully, these sequences far from overpower the entire presentation, accounting for less than 5% of the total movie, but they aren't easily ignored all the same.

Samurai Rebellion is presented in its original aspect ratio of 2.35:1 and is Anamorphic for widescreen TVs.


Samurai Rebellion features a 1.0 mono audio track of the film in Japanese. In terms of quality, the track sounds good and well preserved, as it features no audible pops or crackles while dialogue all comes through with crystal clear clarity. Some more audio options would have been nice, of course, but the one channel track gets the job done regardless.

The audio can be accompanied with, removable, English subtitles.

 Extras: Star Rating

To round out the disc, Criterion slips in a couple of extras for those more interested in the feature. Unfortunately, there isn't a great deal of stuff to mill over here, especially not enough to warrant the company's inflated prices for their titles. The stand out item, though, is a short three minute interview with director Masaki Kobayashi, also well known for his work on Kwaidan (1965). The clip is very short, focusing mostly on his experience with actor Toshiro Mifune, but is enjoyable to hear the insight none the same. Next up is the movie's theatrical trailer, the condition of which is comparable to the main feature. Finally, the release also contains a four page essay by Japanese film historian Donald Richie for those interested.


Bottom line, this is far from a bad release and those looking to simply enjoy the feature should take note. However, it does have trouble warranting the more hefty price tag that come with Criterion's titles, unlike some other excellent DVD presentations from the company.

This disc is also featured in the DVD box set: Rebel Samurai: Sixties Swordplay.

- Anthony Romero  
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