Zatoichi is a 19th century blind nomad who makes his living as a gambler and masseur. However, behind this humble facade, he is a master swordsman gifted with a lightning-fast draw and breathtaking precision. While wandering, Zatoichi discovers a remote mountain village at the mercy of Ginzo, a ruthless gang-leader. Ginzo disposes of anyone who gets in his way, especially after hiring the mighty samurai ronin, Hattori, as a bodyguard. After a raucous night of gambling in town, Zatoichi encounters a pair of geishas--as dangerous as they are beautiful--who've come to avenge their parents' murder. As the paths of these and other colorful characters intertwine, Ginzo's henchmen are soon after Zatoichi. With his legendary cane sword at his side, the stage is set for a riveting showdown.
Itinerant masseur and master swordsman, the blind Zatoichi, is near the village of his teacher, Hikonoichi, so he decides to visit. He learns of Hikonoichi's recent robbery and murder and the imprisonment of his virginal daughter, Osayo, in a brothel. Through friendship with Denroku, a local dice thrower and devoted father, Ichi uncovers an unholy alliance between the governor and the area strongman: among their scams is falsifying tax records to put farmers in debt, then forcing their daughters into prostitution at the boss's brothel. With help from Denroku's daughter, Otsuru, Ichi comforts Osayo until he can provoke showdowns with the villains and their henchmen.
Zatoichi comes upon a dying man who asks him to give a bag of money to "Taichi". Zatoichi has no idea who this is but when he comes upon a small town harassed by gangsters, he finds that "Taichi" was the man's young son. Along his travels he also met a blind monk who makes Zatoichi question his murderous lifestyle. In trying to help the town, Zatoichi kills some gangsters and becomes a hero to the boy. He must make a choice of whether to use non-violence and set a good example, or violence and set the boy on the wrong path in life.
Zatoichi is forced to kill a young man who owes a debt to a yakuza boss. Moments later, his sister Osode arrives with the money she earned (prostituting herself) to pay his debts. The bosses true motives are revealed and he attempts to steal Osode even though the debt is paid. Zatoichi realizes his grievous error and protects the girl from the gang. Osode and Zatoichi are caught in a dilemma as she must rely on her brother's killer for protection and Zatoichi wrestles with the injustice he has caused.
Zatoichi is a blind massage therapist and swordsman who finds out that something troubling is taking place on the outskirts of town. After discovering who the guilty parties are -- an accomplished Chinese martial artist named Wang Kang and his youthful attendant -- Zatoichi finds them and discovers that the pair's mixed up with a dangerous bunch of terrorist samurai who murdered the boy's parents. Now, Zatoichi must step in to save the day.
Returning to the village where a year before he had killed Hirate, a much-admired opponent, Zatoichi encounters another swordsman and former rival in love: his own brother. He must face in combat not only the pursuing retainers but his own flesh-and-blood.
After arriving in the town of Shimonita, Ichi finds that a price has been put on his head by a local yakuza boss. He's drawn into a trap, but after hearing of the slaying of a former love, Ichi furiously fights his way through the entire clan to face the killer, a hired ronin.
Blind masseur Zatoichi is nursed back to health by a young woman after he is shot by a gang member. Zatoichi, who had come to the village to repay a debt, now feels further indebted. He commits himself to use his amazing sword skills to help the young woman's father, whose river-crossing service is under attack by the same gang responsible for Zatoichi's wounds.
Older, wiser but still a wandering loner, the blind, peace-loving masseur Ichi seeks a peaceful life in a rural village. When he's caught in the middle of a power struggle between two rival Yakuza clans, his reputation as a deadly defender of the innocent is put to the ultimate test in a series of sword-slashing showdowns.
Director: Louis Malle, Henri Raichi, Philippe Collin, Olivier Gérard, Richard Bigotini
Writer: Louis Malle, Raymond Queneau, Jean-Paul Rappeneau
Run time: 93 minutes
Release date: 1960-10-28
Floor location: Foreign
Production Countries: France
Spoken Languages: Français
A brash and precocious ten-year-old comes to Paris for a whirlwind weekend with her rakish uncle. He and the viewer get more than they bargained for, however, in this anarchic comedy that rides roughshod over the City of Light. Based on a popular novel by Raymond Queneau that had been considered unadaptable, the audacious Zazie dans le Métro, made with flair on the cusp of the French New Wave, is a bit of stream-of-consciousness slapstick, wall-to-wall with visual gags, editing tricks, and effects.
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