Throne of Blood

Japan Release: 1957
Running Time:
109 minutes

Throne of Blood

Japanese Title


Distributor: Production:


Against formidable odds, generals Taketori Washizu and Yoshiaki Miki win a key battle for their emperor. The two are summoned to report after the victory, but get lost in a maze-like forest called Spider's Web outside the lord's castle. In the twisting woods, the generals meet a spirit that predicts that Washizu will one day rule the castle and Miki's son will be successor to the throne. After the spirit vanishes, the two navigate through the woods to the castle. The emperor then rewards them both with promotions, as they begin to wonder about the truth behind the prophecy they were told earlier. Washizu's wife, Asaji, believes her husband is destined to rule, encouraging her husband to secure the thrown for himself and their unborn child... regardless of if blood must be shed to make it happen...

Live Action Science Fiction

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International Title

Throne of Blood

Initial US Title

Throne of Blood
US Distributor: Bradon Films (1962) / Time: 110 Minutes

Alternate Titles

The Castle of the Spider's Web
[Literal Translation]


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Directed by Akira Kurosawa
Writing credits Akira Kurosawa, Ryuzo Kikushima, Hideo Oguni, Shinobu Hashimoto, William Shakespeare
Produced by Akira Kurosawa, Sojiro Motoki
Music by Masaru Sato
Cinematography by Asakazu Nakai
Film Editing by Akira Kurosawa
Production Design by Yoshiro Muraki, Kohei Ezaki
Assistant Director Hiromichi Horikawa
Director of Special Effects Eiji Tsuburaya
Taketori Washizu Toshiro Mifune
Lady Asaji Washizu Isuzu Yamada
Noriyasu Odagura Takashi Shimura
Yoshiteru Miki Akira Kubo
Kunimaru Tsuzuk Hiroshi Tachikawa
Yoshiaki Miki Minoru Chiaki
Kuniharu Tsuzuki Takamaru Sasaki
Washizu's Workman Kichijiro Ueda
Elderly Woman at the Castle Eiko Miyoshi
Spirit of Spider's Web Chieko Naniwa
Military Commanders Kokuten Kodo, Nakajiro Tomita, Yoshio Inaba
Washizu Samurai Yu Fujiki, Sachio Sakai, Shin Otomo, Yoshio Tsuchiya, Senkichi Omura, Akira Tani, Ikio Sawamura, Yutaka Sada
Miki Party Members Takeo Obugawa, Seijiro Onda
Commanders Shinpei Takagi, Masao Masuda, Shiro Tsuchiya, Takaeo Matsushita, Jun Otomo
Servants Kyoro Sakurai, Akifumi Inoue, Kaneyuki Tsubono
Guard Assigned to Kill Yoshiteru Miki Takeshi Kato
Tsuzuki guard Hitoshi Takagi
Samurai Fuminori Ohashi
Phantom Samurai Seiji Miyaguchi, Nobuo Nakamura, Isao Kimura
- Gen Shimizu


DVDs and Blu-rays

United States Region 1 Throne of Blood Criterion (2003) Order
United States Region 1 Essential Art House: Throne of Blood Criterion (2009) Order
Japan Region 2 Spider Web Castle Toho (2003)
Japan Region 4 Throne of Blood Madman (2005)
United States Blu-Ray Throne of Blood Criterion (2014) Order

CD Soundtracks

Background and Trivia

  • Toho and Brandon Films submitted the movie to the US copyright office on July 5th, 1983. Oddly, this was done on two different registrations, one with the number PA0000185575 by Brandon Films and one with number PA0000185576 by Toho. The titles given were the same, using the international one, Throne of Blood, as the main title. Alternate titles included its Romaji title, Kumonosu-jo, a literal transaltion of the title, Castle of the Spider's Web, and noting the original source, Macbeth.
  • Based on the play "Macbeth" by William Shakespeare. This is director Akira Kurosawa's favorite Shakespeare play. Noted in Age of the Gods (self-published).
  • Director Akira Kurosawa originally intended to film the movie around the time he was planning Daiei's Rashomon in 1950. However, Orson Welles' 1948 Macbeth played in Japan around this time and Kurosawa delayed creating his version. Mentioned in Age of the Gods (self-published).
  • The main castle set was built high on Mount Fuji. The construction of the set taxed the crew, and oddly enough they were even assisted by the personal of a nearby US Marine Corps base. Discussed in Age of the Gods (self-published).
  • Although Eiji Tsuburaya worked on the film, his level of involvement was seen as too small to warrant an onscreen credit as special effects director. Actor Yoshio Tsuchiya humorously noted, however, when a MGM producer visited the set and was more interested in observing Tsuburaya's work than Kurosawa's. Cited in Age of the Gods (self-published).
  • Originally, director Akira Kurosawa wanted his former assistant director Hiromichi Horikawa to direct the movie. However, after A Story of Fast Growing Weeds (1955), Toho suspended Horikawa for one year. The stated reason was because Horikawa was "too experimental", although this might have been a polite way to note that he was seen as too slow. Noted in Age of the Gods (self-published).
  • Toho re-released the movie in 1969. However, the posters created for this re-release were printed with the year 1970 in the copyright.


Anthony Romero Star Rating
June 20, 2003