The Yakuza

The Yakuza

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The Yakuza

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The Yakuza is a 1975 neo-noir gangster film directed by Sydney Pollack, written by Leonard Schrader, Paul Schrader, and Robert Towne.

The Yakuza portrays the clash of traditional Japanese values during Japan's transition from the US occupation to economic success in the early 1970s. The story's themes are concepts of moral indebtedness and obligation, loyalty to family and friends, and sacrifice; Eastern and Western cultural values are contrasted, and classical Japanese tradition versus the modern, Westernized, tradition of contemporary Japan. Following a lacklustre initial release, the film gained a cult following. It is regarded as a significant film of the 1970s. This action film is noted for having an unusually intelligent plot, and for cultural depth. It also broke with the then Hollywood aversion to giving full roles to ethnic actors in casting Takakura Ken as a pivotal co-star character.


Retired detective Harry Kilmer (Robert Mitchum) is called by an old friend, George Tanner (Brian Keith). Tanner has been doing business with a yakuza gangster, Tono, who has taken Tanner's daughter and her boyfriend hostage to apply pressure in a business deal involving the sale of guns. Tanner hopes that Kilmer can locate and rescue the girl using his Japanese connections.

Tanner and Kilmer had been Marine MPs and friends in Tokyo during the post-war occupation. Kilmer had fallen in love with a local woman, Eiko (Kishi Keiko), who was involved in the black market. When her young...
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